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In Rome, Murray advances to 2nd straight clay-court final

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ROME (AP) Andy Murray beat French qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-1 at the Italian Open on Saturday to advance to his second clay-court final in two weeks.

Murray maintained his focus through two rain delays at the Foro Italico and will face either top-ranked Novak Djokovic or sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori for the title on Sunday.

Murray also reached the final of last week’s Madrid Open, losing to Djokovic.

The start of the match was delayed for nearly an hour due to rain. Then there was a suspension of about 10 minutes midway through the first set due to a brief downpour.

The match time was less than an hour.

Murray, who hasn’t dropped a set this week, will return to No. 2 in the rankings ahead of Roger Federer on Monday.

The 52nd-ranked Pouille gained a spot in the tournament as a lucky loser after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withdrew because of an adductor injury. He advanced to the final when Argentine opponent Juan Monaco withdrew because of injury.

Against Murray, however, Pouille’s luck ran out.

Murray broke early in each set and Pouille was never really in the match.

With the French Open starting next weekend, Murray improved his clay record over this year and last to 28-3.

In the women’s semifinals, Serena Williams was to play Irina-Camelia Begu and Garbine Muguruza was facing Madison Keys.

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Goerges to play Kasatkina in Kremlin Cup final

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MOSCOW (AP) Julia Goerges will seek to end a six-year wait for a title when she faces Daria Kasatkina of Russia in the Kremlin Cup final.

The seventh-seeded Goerges recovered from a second-set slump to beat Russian player Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in their semifinal Friday.

Victory for Goerges in Saturday’s final would end a run of six losses in finals stretching back to 2011, when the German player won in Stuttgart. Three of those losses came in the space of two months this summer.

Earlier Friday, Kasatkina reached her second WTA final of the year when she beat 2014 runner-up Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 6-3.

Kasatkina’s strong returns punished Begu’s serve and restricted the Romanian to holding serve just once in each set.

The 20-year-old Kasatkina is seeking her second career title after victory in Charleston in April.

In the men’s draw, Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina booked a place in the semifinals by defeating 2012 champion Andreas Seppi of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Pablo Carreno Busta out of Kremlin Cup

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MOSCOW — Top-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta was knocked out of the Kremlin Cup in the second round by Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday.

The Russian broke 11th-ranked Carreno Busta twice in each set.

Medvedev’s win sets up a quarterfinal against Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic.

Earlier, Russia’s Daria Kasatkina booked a place in the semifinals of the women’s draw, beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-4, 6-3.

Standing between Kasatkina and her second career final is Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, who prevailed against qualifier Vera Lapko of Belarus 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in their quarterfinal.

The other women’s semifinal pits Germany’s Julia Goerges against Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

Goerges, the last seeded player left in the draw, saw off Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-4. Vikhlyantseva eliminated Alize Cornet, winning their quarterfinal 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 despite needing treatment on her left thigh.