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Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori for 4th Rogers Cup title

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TORONTO —¬†Novak Djokovic paused after accepting the Rogers Cup trophy for the fourth time, scanned the stands Sunday at York University’s Aviva Centre and asked everyone in the crowd to hug the person beside them.

A small chuckle circulated the capacity crowd and then Djokovic said he would lead by example, turning to public announcer Ken Crosina and wrapping his arms around the emcee. Fans laughed and followed suit.

“It was a really wonderful moment,” Djokovic said. “I did feel that it was just the right moment for me to ask politely the crowd to do that, because in the end of the day, we are all here for the same thing. We are all here to connect through tennis, through passion for the sport.

“It’s nice that we got to sense and feel that kind of energy around the stadium.”

The top-ranked Serb beat third-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 7-5 after a short rain delay. Djokovic also won the hardcourt event that rotates between Toronto and Montreal 2007, 2011 and 2012. Ivan Lendl holds the tournament record with six titles.

The 29-year-old Djokovic has seven victories this year and 66 overall, a record 30 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events such as the Canadian stop. He has 12 Grand Slam titles, winning this year in Australia and France.

“After Grand Slams, these are the biggest events we have in sport of tennis,” Djokovic said. “Naturally, I’m going to be very disciplined, committed, and focused to do well.”

Djokovic has won his last nine matches against Nishikori and leads the series 10-2.

“I had too many unforced errors especially during important points,” Nishikori said. “He was returning really well today, I think. I was hitting some good first serves, but he was making returns in deep.”

In April in their previous match, Djokovic won the Key Biscayne final. Nishikori won his fourth straight Memphis title in February for his 11th ATP Tour victory.

In the doubles final, Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo topped Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares 6-4, 6-4.

Wozniacki beats Pavlyuchenkova for Pan Pacific title

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TOKYO — Caroline Wozniacki overwhelmed Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 7-5 to retain her Pan Pacific Open title on Sunday.

The victory gives Wozniacki, also champion in Tokyo in 2010, her first title of the year. The Dane had lost all six of her previous finals in 2017.

“This was my seventh final of the year – it gets harder to get that last win,” said world No. 6 Wozniacki, who has now won at least one title every year since 2008. “I’ve been putting myself in a position to win all year. It was really important for me to stay focused and positive.”

Wozniacki had crushed world No.1 Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals and a similar score looked on the cards here Sunday.

“The court suits my game. She plays powerfully so it was important for me to make her move around early on. In the first set everything was going my way. In the second set she served better, so it was tricky for me to break.”

The first set lasted only 20 minutes as Pavlyuchenkova struggled to get a foothold.

“I was really disappointed in the first three games,” said the Russian. “I felt I was a bit unlucky and really believe if I had turned those points round and won the games, it may have been a different match. I was a little down on myself and missed more than I should.”

The Russian fought harder in a second set that went with serve until the 12th and final game.

Yet she failed to earn a break point in the match and appeared outclassed in her first Premier-level final since Moscow in 2015. Semifinal opponent Angelique Kerber was the only seed she faced this week before third-seeded Wozniacki.

“It’s disappointing to lose no matter which round it is, even more disappointing in the final,” said Pavlyuchenkova, who needed three sets to win all four of her matches en route to the final.

“I felt a little flat due to the previous matches. I didn’t have so much energy left.”

Federer beats Kyrgios as Europe wins first Laver Cup

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PRAGUE — Roger Federer rallied to beat Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 7-6 (6), 11-9 Sunday and clinch the new Laver Cup tournament for Europe on Sunday.

The three-day competition at Prague’s O2 Arena pitted a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world.

Seen by some as a tennis version of the Ryder Cup in golf, the inaugural Laver Cup was played on an unusual black hard court.

Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych also formed the European team, while Sam Querrey, John Isner, Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe played for the world.

The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams.

Chicago will host it in 2018.