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Young upsets Isner to reach Memphis Open semifinal

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Donald Young upset No. 2 seed John Isner 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-6 (6) on Friday night in the quarterfinals at the Memphis Open for his first victory in four tries over the world’s 23rd-ranked player.

Young reached his seventh career semifinal and second in Memphis by overcoming the big-serving American in the tiebreakers of a match that took 2 hours, 23 minutes.

“With him, it comes down to a couple points here and there, and I was able to get those today and I was able to hold my serve for the most part of the match and just defend well,” Young said. “I’m happy to get through it. I don’t know how it happened. I just stayed focused and battled.”

Young will play fellow American Ryan Harrison on Saturday with the indoor tournament up for grabs with Isner having been the last seeded player left. Harrison beat Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-3, 6-4 in the late match.

Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan upset fourth-seeded Steve Johnson 6-0, 6-4 earlier Friday, needing only 70 minutes to advance to the semifinals. Kukushkin will play Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia on Saturday. Basilashvili, who upset top-seeded Ivo Karlovic in the second round, reached his second straight ATP Tour semifinal by beating qualifier Matthew Ebden of Australia 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Isner took the first three matches against Young. This was their first match since Miami in 2014.

Young took advantage of Isner’s mistakes to win the tiebreaker. While serving, Isner came to the net and hit a forehand into the net to drop to 4-3. Then he hit a forehand into the net on the next point. Young had three set points up 6-3 before Isner held his serve. Young then took the set when Isner hit another forehand into the net.

Isner finally converted on Young’s ninth break point in the second set and then held serve to take the second set 6-3.

But Isner hurt himself in the third-set tiebreaker. He hit a backhand long before sending a forehand into the net. Then Isner hit a backhand long to fall behind 4-1. Young failed to convert on three match points up 6-3, then Isner hit another backhand into the net. After serving, Isner came to the net for Young’s return and smacked it into the net for the final point.

“He’s beaten me every other time we’ve played so I wanted to get at least one,” Young said. “I’m just happy I was able to stay focused, come through, deal with a little tightness and still prevail. So I’m happy with the performance.”

Johnson won his first career ATP title at Nottingham last summer and came into this event ranked 30th. Against Kukushkin, Johnson managed to save only one of the six break points he faced.

Basilashvili broke Ebden to finish off his match in 1 hour, 44 minutes.

Wozniacki still in frame for return to No. 1

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Caroline Wozniacki had just been beaten by Kim Clijsters in the 2012 Australian Open quarterfinals, causing her to lose her No. 1 ranking on the WTA Tour, and she had some fighting words.

“I will get it back eventually, so I’m not worried,” she said. “The media talks to me like I’m finished … the fact is I still have quite a few good years in front of me.”

Fast forward to this year’s Australian Open, where Wozniacki’s win in the third round on Friday leaves her with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking – six years later.

If so, it would be the longest gap between stints at the top since the WTA’s computer rankings were introduced in 1975. She might take some solace from the fact that the current longest streak between players returning to No. 1 is held by Serena Williams at 5 years, 29 days.

The 27-year-old Wozniacki also faced criticism during her first stay at No. 1 – which included year-end top rankings in 2010 and 2011 – that she’d never won a major, unlike Williams’ current 23. And that hasn’t changed either.

Maybe this year.

On Friday, two days after she came back from a 5-1 deficit and saved two match points in the third set to beat Jana Fett in the second round, she had a 6-4, 6-3 win over Kiki Bertens that wasn’t without late drama, both with closing out the match, and with her criticism of the chair umpire.

Wozniacki had to save four break points while serving for the match but clinched it on her fourth match point.

After coming so close to being knocked out of the tournament, she sounded like a gambler with cash in her pocket.

“Right now, playing with house money,” Wozniacki said in an on-court television interview. “Nothing to lose. I got a second chance. I’m just going to try and take it and see how far I can go.”

Wozniacki wasn’t happy with chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein. She had complained about a few line calls, and that the court was slippery in several areas.

“I’ve never had this guy before … but I think he did a poor job today,” Wozniacki said. “If the court is wet, I think it’s normal to ask for a towel. I don’t think someone needs to be rude, and I told him so. I think there were some questionable calls, as well.”

Watching from Wozniacki’s support section was former NBA player David Lee. In November, the former New York Knicks forward proposed to her during a holiday on the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora.

“All I’ll say is it was a surprise, it was amazing,” Wozniacki said earlier this week of Lee’s proposal. “Had the best off-season. We had a great time traveling a little bit, exploring some new places. I was really recharged when I finally got back on the court again.”

Perhaps enough to get her back to No. 1.

Roger Federer through to Australian 3rd round

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Roger Federer is through to the Australian Open’s third round after beating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in a night match at Rod Laver Arena.

Federer maintained his record of always reaching the third round at Melbourne Park, and this is his 19th appearance. Five of his 19 Grand Slam singles titles have been in Australia.

Despite his straight-sets win, Federer was only able to convert three of his 11 break-point chances, and only one of six in the third set.

The 36-year-old Federer will next play French veteran Richard Gasquet. Federer has beaten Gasquet 16 of the 18 times they’ve played.