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Federer beats Mayer to set up semifinal with Thiem

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STUTTGART, Germany – Top-seeded Roger Federer cruised in the tiebreakers to beat German qualifier Florian Mayer 7-6 (2), 7-6 (1) for a place in the Mercedes Cup semifinals on Friday.

Federer struggled in some parts of the match but was at his best when most needed. He saved a set point to force the second tiebreaker, and fired a powerful forehand to clinch the match.

“I am very happy to have made it two sets,” Federer said.

His next opponent will be rising star and third-seeded Dominic Thiem, who beat him in the third round of the Italian Open before Federer went on a monthlong break that included the French Open because of a back injury.

Thiem, from Austria, came from behind to beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Federer fired 15 aces to gain his 1,072nd win on the tour, surpassing Ivan Lendl for second place in the Open era behind Jimmy Connors with 1,256.

“It’s crucial to serve well in a tiebreaker,” Federer said. Two months shy of his 35th birthday, Federer is looking for his first title of the year following knee surgery and the back problem.

“It’s good to be back and to win two matches,” he said.

Thiem, a semifinalist at the French Open, said he was surprised to find himself at the same stage on grass.

“I really didn’t expect it. But against Roger on grass, I’m not expecting anything,” Thiem said.

Wozniacki reaches Miami quarterfinals when Muguruza retires

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Caroline Wozniacki has reached the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, advancing Monday when Garbine Muguruza retired after one set with a heat-related illness.

Wozniacki, the sixth seed, took that set over the 12th-seeded Muguruza 7-6.

Muguruza was tended to by doctors following that tiebreaker, which wrapped up a 70-minute set, and decided she could not continue on a 77-degree, humid afternoon.

Wozniacki still has not dropped a set in the tournament, and will face fourth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova or Lucie Safarova in the quarterfinals.

Earlier Monday, Karolina Pliskova also reached the quarterfinals, beating Czech Fed Cup teammate – and occasional doubles partner – Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-4. Pliskova needed only 21 minutes to take the first set, winning 11 consecutive points in one stretch and 16 of 17 on her serve.

Raonic withdraws from Miami Open with hamstring injury

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Milos Raonic has pulled out of the Miami Open after aggravating a right hamstring injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.

The No. 3-seeded Raonic withdrew before Sunday’s match against American qualifier Jared Donaldson, who advanced to the fourth round.

Raonic said his injury became progressively worse after his opening match, his first since Feb. 25. He expects to be sidelined at least two weeks and perhaps longer.

The Canadian said he hasn’t made it through an entire tournament healthy since Wimbledon last July.