Federer, Wawrinka set up all-Swiss semifinal at US Open

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NEW YORK (AP) Roger Federer is back in the semifinals of the U.S. Open for the 10th time. To get back to his first final at Flushing Meadows in six years, he’ll have to beat someone he knows quite well: Swiss Olympic and Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka.

The No. 2-seeded Federer and No. 5 Wawrinka both won quarterfinals about as handily as can be Wednesday night.

Federer never faced a break point, compiled a remarkable 50-8 advantage in winners, and needed less than 1 1/2 hours to dismiss 12th-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“No doubt about it: I think I played a very good match,” Federer said. “I felt the ball great.”

He won five consecutive titles at the U.S. Open from 2004-08, then lost in the 2009 final – and hasn’t been that far again since.

Forced to play in Louis Armstrong Stadium because of two lengthy women’s quarterfinals plus a 1 1/2-hour rain delay earlier, Wawrinka eliminated 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-4, 6-0. The match took 1 hour, 47 minutes in all, but the third set, in particular, was about as lopsided as possible: Wawrinka won 24 of the 29 points.

Wawrinka solved the 6-foot-8 Anderson’s serve, converting 5 of 8 break points. Anderson had been broken a total of four times through his first four matches combined.

“For sure,” Wawrinka said, “the best match of the tournament for me.”

Most of his career, Wawrinka has lived in the shadow of his older – and far more successful – countryman, Federer. While Federer owns a record 17 Grand Slam singles titles, Wawrinka didn’t break through with his first until the 2014 Australian Open. But Wawrinka added No. 2 this year at the French Open, beating Federer in the quarterfinals along the way.

Still, that was only Wawrinka’s third victory in 19 career matches against Federer.

“Stan played a wonderful match against me in Paris, and I was very happy for him that he went on to win the tournament. He deserved it. He’s been such a great player throughout his career. He always improved a lot, kept on working really hard,” Federer said.

“Couldn’t be happier to play him here, to be quite honest,” Federer added. “Two Swiss in the semis of the U.S. Open – it’s very cool for both of us.”

Asked whether he expects a vast majority of spectators to be pulling for Federer on Friday, Wawrinka replied: “Everybody loves Roger. He’s the best player ever.”

In Friday’s other men’s semifinal, No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia will play defending champion Marin Cilic of Croatia. Djokovic has won all 13 of their previous meetings.

The women’s semifinals are Thursday night: No. 1 Serena Williams of the United States vs. unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy, and No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania vs. No. 26 Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

It’s the first time two Italians reached the semifinals at the same major tournament.

Halep and Pennetta advanced Wednesday by beating two-time major champions. Halep rested up and composed herself after the third-set rain break and defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, while Pennetta edged Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

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LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”

Kuznetsova out of Australian Open after left wrist surgery

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.

Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-ranked Kuznetsova and China’s Sasai Zheng, with a right knee injury, were the only players ranked in the top 100 who are confirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 tournament at Melbourne Park.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and gave birth to her first child in September, “is anticipated to return,” Tennis Australia said.

Williams could equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams’ ranking has dropped to No. 22 during her break from the tour.