Associated Press

Nadal, Federer cruise into Shanghai Masters quarterfinals

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SHANGHAI (AP) Rafael Nadal won his 14th consecutive match to reach the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals, beating Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday.

Fognini occupied Nadal for 63 minutes, nine minutes longer Nadal’s second-round match.

Roger Federer, seeded second to Nadal, also was not detained for long as he defeated Ukrainian qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-2.

“Of course it’s good news, and especially in this part of the season,” Nadal said. “Its better like this than having long matches. You save a little bit more the body.

“It doesn’t matter how long you are on court, (the) most important thing is be enough competitive to (handle) all the situations.”

Nadal hadn’t won an ATP hard-court title in more than three years until the U.S. Open last month, and now he’s gunning for his third in five weeks.

Nadal saved both break points he faced in the round-of-16 match, in the fourth game of the second set.

In the quarterfinals, Nadal will play sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who got past Sam Querrey of the U.S. 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Federer will play Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals.

Juan Martin del Potro advanced by overcoming third-seeded Alexander Zverev 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

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

Zverev, 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. He repeatedly smashed his racket 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 knew Zverev’s reaction to losing serve was likely a good omen.

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

Del Potro will John Isner of the U.S. or Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the last eight on Friday.

Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic will face Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

Top-ranked Halep wins tough 3-setter in Miami

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Top-ranked Simona Halep of Romania struggled to post a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 second-round win over French lucky loser Oceane Dodin at the Miami Open on Thursday.

In the first career meeting between the players, Halep allowed the 98th-ranked Dodin to break her serve on six of seven opportunities she presented in the match, which lasted more than two hours.

Halep broke Dodin’s serve for the seventh time at 4-4 in the third set before closing it out.

Halep played in her third career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January, but has yet to secure a Grand Slam trophy.

Halep’s best Miami Open was reaching the 2015 semifinals.

Also Thursday, former No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

Kerber is 19-4 this year and has reached at least the quarterfinals of all five tournaments she’s played.

Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open champion, won her first tournament since that U.S. Open at Sydney in January. She also reached the Australian Open semifinals.

Serena Williams loses in first round at Miami Open to Osaka

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Serena Williams lost in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday, still rusty in her return from pregnancy and unable to overcome a tough draw against Naomi Osaka, who won 6-3, 6-2.

The 20-year-old Osaka, who earned her first career title Sunday at Indian Wells, showed no signs of letup and overpowered the erratic Williams. Osaka had the stronger serve, and in rallies wore down Williams working her from side to side.

The matchup worthy of a final came about because both players are unseeded. Osaka is ranked a career-best 22nd, while Williams’ ranking is 491st after her layoff of more than a year.

Another new mother and former No. 1, three-time Key Biscayne champion Victoria Azarenka, defeated Catherine Bellis 6-3, 6-0.

Williams has endured a first-round defeat only four other times, most recently at the 2012 French Open. The latest loss came at a tournament she has won a record eight times and considers her hometown event.

The match was the last for Williams at Key Biscayne, 90 miles south of her home in Palm Beach Gardens. The tournament is moving next year to the Miami Dolphins’ stadium, and Williams helped with the ceremonial groundbreaking Monday.

After her defeat, she left without speaking to the media.

Because of Williams’ ranking, she entered the draw as a wild card, and looked the part. She was a step slow to balls in the corners and often late with her swing, while she put barely half her first serves in play.

Osaka, who has both American and Japanese citizenship and lives in Fort Lauderdale, was playing her idol for the first time but didn’t seem a bit fazed. She improved to 14-4 this year.

Things may get tougher for her in the second round, when she’ll face No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina.

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