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Top-ranked Rafael Nadal advances to semifinals at China Open

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Top-ranked Rafael Nadal moved into the semifinals of the China Open by beating sixth-seeded John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (0) on Friday.

The French Open and U.S. Open champion has won five titles this season and is closing in on the year-end No. 1 ranking.

“In general terms, I think I played with not many mistakes,” Nadal said. “I don’t remember a lot of mistakes. I went to the net very often. I think I did the things that I want to do, and I did it well, so very happy.”

Nadal saved all three break points he faced against Isner. He will next play third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.

Dimitrov spent time practicing with Nadal in Mallorca ahead of the hard-court season. The two also spent time fishing.

“We went out with the boat,” Nadal said. “We catch a few ones (fish), but not very big. But we had some good dinner.”

Nick Kyrgios also advanced. The eighth-seeded Australian won when opponent Steve Darcis retired from the match with a neck strain while trailing 6-0, 3-0.

Kyrgios will next face either second-seeded Alexander Zverev or Andrey Rublev.

Earlier, second-seeded Simona Halep reached the semifinals by beating Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1.

The Romanian could take over the top ranking from Garbine Muguruza. She needs to reach the final and not lose to third-seeded Elena Svitolina.

Halep will next face either ninth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko or Sorana Cirstea.

Petra Kvitova advanced by beating Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4. The 12th-seeded Kvitova will next face either Svitolina or Caroline Garcia in the semifinals.

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.