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Del Potro advances to 2nd round at Shanghai Masters

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SHANGHAI (AP) Juan Martin del Potro needed all three sets to reach the second round at the Shanghai Masters, beating Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 on Monday.

Del Potro, a Shanghai semifinalist in 2013, struggled with his second serve. Although he won 40 of 49 points on his first serve, he only captured 13 of 30 second-serve points.

American qualifier Frances Tiafoe advanced to the second round by beating Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-4. The 92nd-ranked Tiafoe was playing in his first main draw match since a five-set loss to Roger Federer at the U.S. Open.

Tiafoe will play either 10th-seeded Sam Querrey or Yuichi Sugita in the second round.

“I hope I play Sam, two Americans, so their will be an American in the third round,” Tiafoe said.

Chung Hyeon also advanced, defeating ninth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-3. Chung saved all four break points he faced against last year’s finalist.

“Today, I was trying to stay calm all the time in the match,” said Chung, who only won one game when he played Bautista Agut in Dubai in 2016. “I won today so I did everything good.”

Also, Feliciano Lopez advanced by beating Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6), while Andrey Rublev and Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas also made it through.

Federer, who won the title in Shanghai in 2004, will play his opening match on Wednesday. The Australian Open and Wimbledon champion hasn’t played at an official tournament since losing in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

“I’m playing just the big tournaments now,” Federer said. “I’ve been practicing for hours on the Centre Court. I’m here for a reason. I’m here for a purpose. Hopefully to do well and winning the tournament.

Federer will play either Diego Schwartzman or Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson in his first match.

Sharapova loses to Rybarikova at Kremlin Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) Maria Sharapova was beaten by Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday, ending her bid for a second title in two weeks.

Sharapova, who won the Tianjin Open two days ago, brought her usual power but lacked accuracy with some wild swings on key points.

“I felt fine physically, to be honest, especially after having played five matches in five days (in Tianjin). That was a big surprise,” Sharapova said. “Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been … Maybe if this tournament hadn’t been in Moscow, I wouldn’t have played it.”

Sharapova was under pressure on serve from the start and saved six break points before finally being broken to 6-5. She responded by breaking Rybarikova, but Sharapova’s double fault at 4-3 in the tiebreaker handed the Slovakian the momentum to close out the set.

Rybarikova, seeded eighth, sealed the match after saving two break points to lead 5-4, then breaking Sharapova in the next game. Rybarikova will play Alize Cornet in the second round.

Six months after she returned from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova is still trying to move back up the rankings from her current position of 57th. Her first tour appearance in Moscow in a decade drew a large and enthusiastic crowd despite taking place on a Tuesday afternoon.

Also Tuesday, seventh-seeded Julia Goerges beat Russian qualifier Polina Monova 6-0, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

In the men’s Kremlin Cup tournament, sixth-seeded Damir Dzumhur defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

Maria Sharapova wins her 1st title since doping ban

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TIANJIN, China (AP) Maria Sharapova won her first WTA title since returning from a doping ban after defeating Aryna Sabalenka to win the Tianjin Open on Sunday.

The Russian, a tournament wild card, overcame Belarusian teenager Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6 (8) despite trailing heavily in both sets.

Sharapova last won a title at the Italian Open in May 2015.

The former top-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open in January 2016. That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April.

“Such a special, special tournament, and victory for me, one that I’ll remember forever,” Sharapova said. “Sometimes you never know when it will all come together but it happened to me this week in Tianjin.”

Sharapova displayed resilience as she came from behind in both sets to overcome her 19-year-old opponent.

Sabalenka led 4-1 in the opener and 5-1 in the second before relenting to Sharapova’s greater big-match experience. It was Sharapova’s 36th WTA singles title.

The 30-year-old Sharapova played in her first Grand Slam tournament following the ban at the U.S. Open in August, where she reached the fourth round. Sunday’s result will lift Sharapova up to No. 57 in the world rankings.