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No. 1 Nadal crushes Dolgopolov, returns to US Open quarters

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NEW YORK (AP) Rafael Nadal easily returned to the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the first time in four years by routing Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 on Monday.

Nadal turned in his most powerful performance yet on a dominant day for the No. 1 seeds, and moved a victory away from a potential semifinal showdown with longtime rival Roger Federer.

Shortly after top-seeded Karolina Pliskova overwhelmed American Jennifer Brady 6-1, 6-0 in just 47 minutes, Nadal punished an opponent who had beaten him in two of the previous three meetings.

He never gave the unseeded Dolgopolov a chance on Monday, breaking serve six times in the 1 hour, 41 minute match.

Federer was trying to keep alive his hopes of the long-awaited first matchup at the U.S. Open with Nadal when he brought an 11-0 record against No. 33 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber into their night matchup.

Nadal hadn’t reached the quarterfinals in Flushing Meadows since the last of his two U.S. Open titles in 2013. He advanced to face No. 9 David Goffin or unseeded teenager Andrey Rublev.

Nadal had dropped the first set in the two previous rounds but he was locked in from the start of his 50th U.S. Open victory, never losing serve and facing just two break points.

The second match of the day at Arthur Ashe Stadium started perhaps a little earlier than expected, thanks to the ease of Pliskova’s victory.

Two days after having to fight off a match point to advance, the Czech ran her unseeded opponent off the court as fans were still just filing into the grounds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The Czech won 22 of 24 points on her first serve, broke Brady’s serve six times and advanced to face either No. 20 CoCo Vandeweghe or unseeded Lucie Safarova.

“Sometimes you just need to have some of those matches where you can just really get through it. You don’t even know why, but the game improves so much,” Pliskova said. “So I didn’t change anything. I didn’t even practice yesterday. So there is nothing really what I did different. But I just felt much better.”

Pliskova was the runner-up to Angelique Kerber at Flushing Meadows last year and needs to get back to the final in order to remain atop the WTA rankings.

She wouldn’t have much problem if she plays as she did in a nearly flawless fourth-round performance, looking nothing like the player who nearly went home a round earlier.

Pliskova also played the first match on Ashe on Saturday. She dropped the first set and had to fight off a match point in the second before rallying to beat No. 27 Zhang Shuai 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

This time, she raced to a 4-0 lead against an obviously nervous opponent, then won the second set in even more lopsided fashion. She won 25 points to just seven for Brady in the second set.

“I felt like she was playing pretty well today. I didn’t play my best. Maybe I gave her the opportunity to play well,” Brady said. “But, you know, I think she was hitting her spots and her serves well. She came out playing, I felt, like the No. 1 player.”

Former champion Juan Martin del Potro, the No. 24 seed, faced sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem, with the winner getting Federer if the five-time champion can improve his 31-1 record in night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Women’s No. 4 Elina Svitolina meets No. 15 seed Madison Keys in the nightcap.

Keys and Vandeweghe are trying to join fellow Americans Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens into the women’s quarters.

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

Wozniacki upsets Muguruza to reach Pan Pacific Open final

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TOKYO — Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki upset top-ranked Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the final of the Pan Pacific Open on Saturday.

Wozniacki, a champion here in 2010 and 2016, converted six of seven break points to reach her seventh final of 2017.

Playing in her first tournament since earning the WTA’s top ranking, Wimbledon champion Muguruza had 29 unforced errors to drop the final 10 games of the match.

“I didn’t feel that fresh,” Muguruza said. “In the long rallies, I was struggling a little bit. I felt my energy was a little bit low, but I think she just had a good match. I didn’t make the important shots in the important moments so the match went to her side very fast.”

Sixth-ranked Wozniacki will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Sunday’s final. Pavlyuchenkova rallied from being down 3-0 in the final set to beat former No. 1 Angelique Kerber 6-0, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

Pavlyuchenkova, who is aiming for her third title of 2017, broke serve seven times and won six of the final seven games.

Pavlyuchenkova admitted her slow start in the final set had her thinking about the next tournament in China.

“I was already thinking about going to Wuhan,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “In my head I was booking flights. But at the same time, I always fight to the last point.”

Fognini, Dzumhur meet in St. Petersburg Open final

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Fabio Fognini will play for his second ATP title of the year and Damir Dzumhur for the first of his career in the final of the St. Petersburg Open.

The third-seeded Fognini eliminated top-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 2-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 (5) in 2 1/2 hours in the semifinals on Saturday. The Italian broke Bautista Agut only once, in the second set.

Fognini also beat Bautista Agut in July at Gstaad, where he won his fourth career title, all on clay. St. Petersburg, where he was a finalist in 2012, is on an indoor hard-court.

The unseeded Dzumhur defeated eighth-seeded Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-3, 7-5. In a match of vulnerable servers, Struff was the least effective in winning less than 30 percent of his second serves and losing his serves five times.

“I was making him play more, because he likes fast points,” Dzumhur said. “I won because I didn’t give him easy balls that he likes.”

Dzumhur, of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is at a career-high ranking of 55 after reaching his first career final last month in Winston-Salem.

He has a 0-2 win record against Fognini.