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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.

Fed Cup: Stephens to open for US against France in semis

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AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (AP) U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens will open play for the U.S. against Pauline Parmentier of France in the Fed Cup semifinals.

France No. 1 Kristina Mladenovic and CoCo Vandeweghe will follow on Saturday in the second singles at the new 6,700-capacity Arena Pays d’Aix. France has opted for an indoor clay court.

Mladenovic and Amandine Hesse are set to face Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the doubles on Sunday following the reverse singles.

France and the United States meet for a 14th time, with the Americans holding an 11-2 winning record. The French won their most recent meeting, in 2014.

Both teams are missing their highest-ranked player: No. 8 Venus Williams for the U.S., and No. 7 Caroline Garcia for France.

Germany is facing the Czech Republic in the other semifinal in Stuttgart.

Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping tournaments like Federer

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MONACO (AP) For now, Rafael Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping any major tournaments the way Roger Federer has been sitting out the French Open.

The veterans are back at the top of world tennis, with Nadal needing to win the Monte Carlo Masters this week to avoid losing his top ranking once again to Federer in their seemingly eternal battle for tennis supremacy.

For the second consecutive season, the 36-year-old Federer is skipping the entire clay-court season in order to be at his best on grass.

After coming back from injury to win the Australian Open last year, Federer skipped the clay-court season, won Wimbledon, and retained his Melbourne crown to extend his record tally to 20 majors.

The Swiss star is keeping his aging body fresher by playing a bit less – avoiding Nadal on clay at Roland Garros or elsewhere – and it is working for him.

But Nadal still thinks he can play a full schedule.

“There (are) tournaments that I can’t imagine missing on purpose, because (they are) tournaments that I love to play,” Nadal said on Wednesday. “I don’t see myself missing Monte Carlo on purpose. I don’t see myself missing Wimbledon on purpose, or the U.S. Open, or Australian, or Rome. These kind of events, I don’t see missing (them).”

The 31-year-old Spaniard recently returned from a right hip injury which forced him to retire during the fifth set of his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic.

With his 32nd birthday coming up on June 3 – during the French Open – the 16-time Grand Slam champion accepts he may think differently when he gets closer to Federer’s age.

“Of course, when you get older, you need to adjust a little bit more the efforts and the calendar. But for me (it) is difficult to say I don’t play, for example, grass, or I don’t play hard (courts),” Nadal said. “(It) is not in my plan, but I can’t say `never’ because I cannot predict what’s going to be in the future.”

Nadal is chasing an 11th title at both Monte Carlo and Roland Garros, which begins on May 27.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Jerome Pugmire on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jeromepugmire