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Federer makes short work of Gasquet at Hopman Cup

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PERTH, Australia — Roger Federer defeated Richard Gasquet of France 6-1, 6-4 to move Switzerland to within one win of the Hopman Cup final on Friday.

Federer, making his return to tournament play after six months off with a left knee injury, was rarely threatened in the match before a capacity crowd of nearly 14,000 at Perth Arena. He finished the 56-minute match with two service winners.

“It’s the third match into the year, so I’m starting to see the ball better and better,” said Federer, who lost to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in three tiebreak sets on Wednesday.

Federer’s teammate, Belinda Bencic, was to play Kristina Mladenovic of France in the second singles. A win advances Switzerland to Saturday’s final against the United States team of Coco Vandeweghe and Jack Sock.

The U.S. has won the Hopman Cup a record six times in the tournament’s 28-year history

Earlier, Zverev and Andrea Petkovic beat Britain’s Daniel Evans and Heather Watson 4-2, 4-2 in doubles to give Germany a 2-1 win.

Watson beat Petkovic 6-2, 7-6 (3), coming back from 5-1 down in the second set. But Zverev leveled for Germany when he beat Evans 6-4, 6-3, sending the tie to the doubles decider which was played under the Fast4 format.

It was Germany’s first win of the tournament. Britain finished 0-3.

Federer overpowers Dimitrov to win 97th career title

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) Roger Federer came to the ABN AMRO World Tournament aiming to secure a return to the top of the world rankings. He achieved that goal Friday. On Sunday, he put an exclamation point on a remarkable week by winning the tournament for good measure.

Federer overpowered an ailing Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in less than an hour to win his 97th career title.

“What a week it’s been. Absolutely amazing,” Federer said. “The goal was to make the semis and I won the tournament so of course I’m incredibly excited and so, so happy.”

The 36-year-old Swiss extended his domination over the player once dubbed “Baby Fed” for the similarities in their playing style, registering his seventh victory in as many meetings.

Federer’s third title at the Rotterdam tournament comes a day before he officially returns to the top of the rankings, more than five years after he was last world No. 1.

He will become the oldest person to hold the No. 1 position when the rankings are updated on Monday. It’s been more than five years since Federer was last No. 1, and 14 years since he first reached the top spot.

Federer, who has 20 Grand Slams to his name, said his next target is 100 career titles. He moved a step closer Sunday.

Federer said ahead of the final that the more aggressive player would win and Dimitrov started the strongest, winning his first game to love as he slammed powerful forehands and backhands past Federer.

But the Swiss great quickly started matching Dimitrov’s groundstrokes and converted his first break point in the fifth game. Federer broke Dimitrov again to go up 5-2 and then served out the set.

Federer kept the pressure on Dimitrov in the second set, breaking the Bulgarian in the first game and continuing to dominate on his way to victory in just 55 minutes.

Federer won a massive 82 percent of points on his service compared to 55 percent for Dimitrov.

After his strong start, the Bulgarian appeared to be struggling physically, but said afterward that he simply wasn’t good enough.

“Against Roger in the current situation he is in you can’t play any less than 100 percent,” Dimitrov said.

Querrey advances to New York Open final

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) Second-seeded Sam Querrey advanced to the final of the New York Open, winning the last four games to beat No. 4 Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday.

Querrey will face top-seeded Kevin Anderson or No. 5 Kei Nishikori in Sunday’s final.

The U.S. Davis Cup player fought off three break points while serving at 2-3 in the third set, then broke Mannarino in the next game and cruised from there, closing out the match in just under 2 hours for his first victory over the Frenchman in four career meetings.

The California native is ranked a career-high 12th and had an opportunity to move into the top 10 if he won the tournament and Anderson lost in the semifinals.

Mannarino is still seeking his first ATP Tour title. At No. 25, he is the highest-ranked player without one.