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Djokovic repulses Zverev

Shanghai  — Novak Djokovic certainly appears to be a different player on court these days: Smiling after shanking balls instead of screaming, humming songs instead of hurling rackets. And that’s when he’s having an off day. Djokovic was sluggish and error-prone early in his quarterfinal match against Mischa Zverev at the Shanghai Masters on Friday, but he maintained his composure and fought back to win 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3. The top-ranked Serb has said in recent weeks that he’s trying to find more balance in his life and reduce some of the pressure he’s felt on court this season. Part of that entails staying calmer during matches, particularly when things aren’t going well.   In the first set against Zverev, things couldn’t have gone much worse. Djokovic piled up 18 unforced errors to only four …

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Muguruza hurts ankle, pulls out of tourney

Linz, Austria  — French Open champion Garbine Muguruza sprained her left ankle and pulled out of her quarterfinal against Viktorija Golubic at the Generali Ladies on Friday. The top-seeded Spaniard was leading 7-5, 3-6, 4-2 when she fell behind the baseline. Sitting on her chair in tears, Muguruza had her ankle taped. She played on for two more games, which Golubic won, and then quit the match. Due to other results, the sixth-ranked Muguruza on Friday still became the sixth player to clinch a berth at the WTA Finals, leaving two spots open for the season-ending tournament. In her second career semifinal, Golubic will play third-seeded Madison Keys. In the other semifinal, second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova takes on Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Earlier, Keys advanced to her fifth semifinal of the season by beating …

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Manangking wins in Tagum

Jilian Manangking finally nailed the elusive crown, winning the 10-unisex title then added the 12-and-under plum to emerge one of the three “double” winners in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala regional tennis tournament at the Tagum Tennis Club and Davao del Norte Sports Complex yesterday. The third-ranked Manangking from Pikit, Cotabato upended second seed Reyman Saldivar Jr., 5-4(4), 4-0, in the semifinals then dominated Charles Jumawan, 4-0, 4-1, to end a two-year search for the 10-U crown in the country’s premier age-group circuit sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger. The young but fiery lass from Pikit Central Elem. School in Cotabato then kept the momentum of her breakthrough win and toppled Jonamil Prado, 7-5, 6-3, for the 12-U title in the Group 3 event which drew more than 250 …

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Murray rules China Open

Beijing — Andy Murray won the China Open in Beijing on Sunday, defeating Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 7-6 (2), in a hard-fought match that featured plenty of acrobatics from both players. Playing in his ninth final of the season, the top-seeded Scot broke Dimitrov in the first game of the first set and again in the fifth game of the second. Murray looked to have the match in the bag serving at 5-4, but the Bulgarian finally broke his serve, then held his own to force the tiebreaker. The finals victory was Murray's first in three attempts at the China Open, having reached the quarterfinals on his debut and the semifinals in 2014. Agnieszka Radwanska had an easier time of it in the women's final, handily defeating Johanna Konta, 6-4, 6-2. The third-seeded Pole added …

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Dimitrov dumps Nadal

Beijing — Rafael Nadal suffered another early loss when he fell to Grigor Dimitrov for the first time 6-2, 6-4 in the China Open quarterfinals on Friday. Nadal’s only two singles titles of the year were in April, and he hasn’t reached a final since because of a left wrist injury, illness, and poor play. Dimitrov lost all seven of his previous matches against Nadal, but the Spaniard was struggling on serve this time. The first five games were breaks, and Dimitrov held first for 4-2. Nadal was broken a fifth straight time to start the second set, but fought to the end to stay in touch with Dimitrov, who earned his third top-10 win of the year.

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Murray eases into quarters

Beijing — Top-seeded Andy Murray dispatched Andrey Kuznetsov,  6-2, 6-1, on Wednesday to set up China Open quarterfinal against his British Davis Cup teammate Kyle Edmund. Both are playing their first tournaments since Britain's loss to Argentina in the Davis Cup semifinals last month. Murray is hoping with a strong run in China to close the gap on No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, who withdrew from the tournament. He struggled initially against Kuznetsov, dropping two early service games as the players traded breaks, but went on a dominant run after the fifth game. Edmund, a qualifier, upset seventh-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Fifth-seeded David Ferrer advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Fabio Fognini and will next play Alexander Zverev, who beat Jack Sock 6-4, 6-2. Ferrer is still chasing his …

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Sharapova’s doping ban cut to 15 months

London  – Maria Sharapova will be eligible to return to competitive tennis in April after her two-year doping ban was reduced to 15 months on Tuesday by a sports court that found the Russian star did not bear “significant fault” for her positive drug test. The Court of Arbitration for Sport cut nine months off the suspension imposed on Sharapova, who tested positive for the banned heart medication meldonium at the Australian Open in January. Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player, appealed to CAS in June seeking to overturn or reduce the two-year penalty imposed by the International Tennis Federation. In a 28-page ruling , the CAS panel found that Sharapova bore “some degree of fault” but “less than significant fault” in the case that has sidelined one …

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Argentina, Croatia forge D. Cup final

Paris – An emotional Leonardo Mayer led Argentina past defending champions Great Britain and into their fifth Davis Cup final on Sunday where they will face Croatia in November's title showdown. The 29-year-old Mayer, a late replacement for Juan Martin del Potro, secured Argentina's place in their first final since 2011 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Dan Evans in the crucial rubber of their semifinal in Glasgow for a 3-2 victory. Croatia, the 2005 champions, sealed their ticket to the November 25-27 final on home ground after Marin Cilic romped to a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 win over Richard Gasquet and an unassailable lead over nine-time champions France in Zadar. Argentina has a 3-0 winning record over Croatia in the Davis Cup, winning quarterfinals in 2002, 2006 and 2012. Mayer's victory, his …

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ITF chief coming to settle Philta power struggle

The head of the International Tennis Federation, David Haggerty, is arriving next week to look into an apparent power struggle within the Philippine Tennis Association which has been simmering for weeks since Edwin Olivares, its erstwhile president, resigned with two years left in his term. Randy Villanueva, Philta executive vice president, took over as acting Philta president and was given the mandate by tennis stakeholders, including sponsors and players, to serve Olivares’ unexpired term. Villanueva, 41, was given a vote of confidence during a tennis summit he called about two weeks ago during which a master plan was discussed and then approved to raise the level of the sport in the country. Having two players qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will be the main objective of the program. But Villanueva’s position is …

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Stantastic!

New York — Stan Wawrinka became the oldest US Open men's champion in 46 years when he defeated world number one Novak Djokovic to claim a third Grand Slam title on Sunday. Wawrinka, the 31-year-old third seed, triumphed 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 after almost four hours of high intensity tennis. He even held his nerve when the final threatened to erupt into controversy after Djokovic twice called medical timeouts in the fourth set. Wawrinka is the oldest winner of the men's tournament since 35-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1970 and the first over 30 to take the title since Pete Sampras in 2002. It was the Swiss player's first New York title, following his breakthrough 2014 Australian Open triumph and 2015 Roland Garros crown. On both those occasions, Djokovic had been the fall-guy, losing in …

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