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American teen Bellis upsets Radwanska in Dubai

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DUBAI – American teen Catherine “CiCi” Bellis captured her first career Top 10 win on Wednesday when she upset sixth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the third round at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

“It’s definitely, obviously, the biggest win of my career, and probably one of the best days of my life,” Bellis said.

The 17-year-old Bellis, ranked 70th, had lost her previous four matches against top 10 opponents.

Bellis is one of two teenagers in the quarterfinals with 19-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia beating eighth-seeded Elena Vesnina of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Bellis led 2-0 in the third set before fourth-seeded Radwanska rebounded to 2-2. The Pole faded afterward with Bellis clinching 16 of the last 22 points.

“I think in the second set she started playing a little bit better,” Bellis said. “I went off a little bit. I think I was going for a little bit too much.”

Bellis plays 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarterfinals.

Wozniacki lost the opening set but went on to beat Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“She’s a great young player and has a lot of confidence,” Wozniacki said of Bellis. “Right now I’m just going to enjoy this victory and then get ready for tomorrow.”

Earlier, Angelique Kerber reached the tournament’s quarterfinals for the first time by beating Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-2, 6-3.

The top-seeded German is 3-1 against Puig, but the last time they played the Puerto Rican beat Kerber for the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“It’s always tough to play against Monica, especially after our last match,” Kerber said. “I was really not thinking too much about our final in Rio, because it was a completely totally different match than today.”

Kerber, who started the season as the No. 1-ranked player before Serena Williams won the Australian Open to reclaim the top spot, will return to the highest ranking if she wins the Dubai title this week.

Kerber saved all five break points she faced against Puig, including in the final game of the first set when she trailed 0-40. In her final service game of the second set, she recovered from 15-40 to go ahead 5-3.

“I was feeling good from the first point,” Kerber said. “I’m really happy about how I played today.”

Kerber next plays Konjuh.

Also, seventh-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine defeated Christina McHale of the United States 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“Didn’t do my best,” Svitolina said, “but then I’m really happy that I won today.”

Svitolina will next face unseeded Lauren Davis of the United States, who beat Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

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.