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Rafael Nadal advances to quarterfinals of China Open

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BEIJING (AP) Rafael Nadal earned his season-leading 58th victory on Thursday by beating Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the China Open.

The top-ranked Spaniard, who won the French Open and U.S. Open this year, saved all six break points he faced and increased his lead over Roger Federer at the top of the rankings.

Nadal will next face John Isner. The big-serving American defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-3.

“Tomorrow will be a tough one against Isner,” Nadal said. “John is a very good player from the baseline, too. I saw him today. He played so aggressive, having a lot of success, hitting a lot of winners, returning very well.”

Second-seeded Alexander Zverev also advanced to the quarterfinals, beating Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-2. The German will next play Andrey Rublev, who defeated seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.

In the women’s tournament, Jelena Ostapenko advanced after Peng Shuai, the last Chinese player in the competition, retired from the match while trailing 3-0.

Also, third-seeded Sorana Cirstea defeated fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-5, Caroline Garcia beat Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1, and Petra Kvitova beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 6-4.

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

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LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”

Kuznetsova out of Australian Open after left wrist surgery

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.

Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-ranked Kuznetsova and China’s Sasai Zheng, with a right knee injury, were the only players ranked in the top 100 who are confirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 tournament at Melbourne Park.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and gave birth to her first child in September, “is anticipated to return,” Tennis Australia said.

Williams could equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams’ ranking has dropped to No. 22 during her break from the tour.