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Del Potro tops Zverev to secure Shanghai quarterfinal

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SHANGHAI (AP) Juan Martin del Potro advanced to the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals by overcoming third-seeded Alexander Zverev 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Thursday.

Del Potro required four match points – two on Zverev’s serve in the ninth game, two on his own serve in the 10th – to win this first encounter career against the German.

Del Potro, who lost his serve for the only time in the match in the second game, won nine of his 15 service games at love.

“I’m happy with my success as I played one of the good guys on tour, he’s been playing so good this season,” del Potro said. “This was a positive for me looking to the future.”

Zverev, who was in the hunt for a sixth ATP title of the season, lost his composure after netting a backhand to surrender his serve in the fifth game of the third set to the Argentine.

Zverev whacked his racket on the court. That didn’t satisfy his anger so he kept smashing the racket courtside until it was a mangled mess.

“For me, it’s impossible to lose a match when I’ve only been broken one time,” Zverev said. “The game where he broke me I was up 40-15 and I was just unfocused there.”

Del Potro, a 2013 Shanghai finalist, was aware he made a likely permanent impact by breaking Zverev’s serve.

“I saw his frustration, for sure,” he said. “He’s still very young and has to keep learning. He has everything to be in the top of the game.”

Earlier, sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria got past Sam Querrey of the U.S. 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the round of 16. Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic defeated another American, Steve Johnson, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

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.