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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.

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.

Nadal advances to start bid for first Key Biscayne

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Rafael Nadal’s first fist pump Friday followed his second point in the Miami Open, when he kissed a forehand off the sideline to win a long rally.

He accompanied the celebratory gesture with a skip in his step and then hit the accelerator, holding every service game to beat Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4.

Thus began Nadal’s latest bid to win Key Biscayne.

“A lot of big motivation,” he said.

He’s playing the tournament for the 13th time and has never won it, although he was the runner-up in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014. At 0 for 12, it’s Nadal’s longest drought at any event, and perhaps the most glaring gap in the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s resume.

Does it bug him? He won’t admit to any frustration, but lets slip that he still remembers the exact score when he was two points from the title in the third set versus Novak Djokovic.

That was six years ago.

“Against Novak – 6-5, 15-30,” Nadal said. “It didn’t happen.”

The Spaniard has always enjoyed the atmosphere in Miami, where Latin fans give him enthusiastic support, and he likes the tournament’s hard courts. He’s simply overdue.

“I’m trying my best every year,” Nadal told the stadium crowd after dispatching Sela. “I’ve been very close four times. I will try to give myself another chance.”

Nadal is 15-4 this year and pleased with his play. He lost to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, and again in the fourth round at Indian Wells last week.

Against Sela, Nadal served well, erased the only two break points he faced and overcame the occasional errant groundstroke on a windy afternoon.

“It was very difficult to find the right feelings,” Nadal said. “These kind of days, what you have to do is try to win. That’s what I did, and I’m happy with that.”

Making Nadal’s title bid easier will be the absence of six-time champion Djokovic and two-time champion Andy Murray, both out with elbow injuries.

But No. 3-seeded Milos Raonic is back. He won in his first match since Feb. 25, beating Viktor Troicki 6-3, 7-5. Raonic had been sidelined by a right leg injury.

“I’ve prepared the best I can for this tournament,” Raonic said. “I’m not necessarily in the best position right now, but fortunately it’s a long tournament. Doesn’t mean things can’t change and I can’t get better throughout this event.”

No. 2 Kei Nishikori beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3. No. 7 Marin Cilic lost to Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

In women’s play, Elena Vesnina made a quick exit only five days after winning the biggest title of her career. Seeded 13th, Vesnina lost her opening match to wild card Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Vesnina beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Indian Wells final.

In a match that took two days because of rain, No. 6 Garbine Muguruza rallied past Christina McHale 0-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4. No. 3 Simona Halep beat Naomi Osaka 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. American qualifier Taylor Townsend eliminated No. 25 Robert Vinci 6-3, 6-2.