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Puerto Rico's Monica Puig advances in Brazil

By The Sports Xchange
Puerto Rico's Monica Puig advances in Brazil
Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo

Third-seeded Monica Puig of Puerto Rico advanced to the semifinals of the Brasil Tennis Cup with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 18-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan on Wednesday in Florianopolis, Brazil.

Two other seeded players also won. Sixth-seeded Timea Babos of Hungary defeated fourth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and second-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania beat seventh-seeded Nao Hibino of Japan 6-2, 6-4.

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Joining Begu in the semis is countrywoman Ana Bogdan, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine.

Puig lost her serve in the opening game against Osaka but broke back to lead 3-1 and then went on to claim the victory in one hour and 15 minutes.

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"She started off very strong," Puig said. "I just tried to keep myself there in the match the whole time. I served really well and played well on the long points, too."

Puig will face Begu in the semifinals, and Babos will play Bogdan.

Jiangxi Open

Francesca Schiavone of Italy, the highest remaining seed in the field at No. 3, recovered from a slow start to get past wild-card Jia-Jing Lu of China 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the second round of the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang, China.

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Also moving into the next round were fifth-seeded Kai-Lin Zhang of China, Vania King of the United States and Risa Ozaki of Japan. Zhang beat Miyu Kato of Japan 6-4, 7-5. King downed qualifier Ying Zhang of China 6-4, 6-2, and Ozaki topped qualifier Nicha Lertpitaksinchai of Thailand 6-0, 6-3.

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Schiavone became the highest seed left in the tournament after Poland's Magda Linette accepted a late Olympic invitation.

"I think I was playing too short and too much counterattacking and I told myself that I can't keep playing like this at 36 years old and I have to go to the ball, hit the ball and make life much, much easier," Schiavone said of her sluggish start.

Schiavone is bidding for her eighth career title. She faces Ozaki in the quarterfinals.

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