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Murray beats Tsonga in Vienna for third straight ATP title

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VIENNA — Andy Murray closed in on the No. 1 ranking by winning his third straight ATP title at the Erste Bank Open on Sunday.

The Scot can overtake Novak Djokovic atop the ATP rankings next week if he wins the Paris Masters and the Serb doesn’t reach the final.

“I get a step closer with every win but it’s still a long way from here,” Murray said.

Murray defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6 (6) for his personal-best seventh title of the season, and 42nd overall. Djokovic has also won seven events this year.

Murray extended his unbeaten streak to 14 matches after also winning in Beijing and Shanghai.

The 15-ranked Tsonga, who was the 2011 champion, appeared in his first final of the season, which has been marred by adductor and left knee injuries.

Murray advanced to the final after defending champion David Ferrer pulled out with a left leg injury, while Tsonga saved a match point in his 2 1/2-hour semifinal against Ivo Karlovic on Saturday.

Murray, who also won in Vienna on his only previous visit in 2014, dominated Sunday’s final from the start. He raced into a 3-0 lead by taking 14 of the first 19 points of the match.

He avoided break points in his games, and missed a set point on the Frenchman’s serve at 5-2 but clinched the opening set the next game with his second ace.

Murray conceded just two points on his way to a 2-0 lead in the second set but started to struggle with his first serve as his percentage dropped to 18 halfway through the second set.

He hit a forehand long on the only break point for Tsonga to help the Frenchman level at 4-4.

Murray missed his first match point in the tiebreaker as he netted a forehand return, but closed out the win on his second chance with an ace.

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.