Associated Press

Dimitrov beats Goffin to reach semifinals at ATP Finals

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LONDON (AP) The coaching seemed to have helped, whether Grigor Dimitrov heard it or not.

The sixth-seeded Bulgarian made his way into the semifinals at the ATP Finals on Wednesday by beating David Goffin 6-0, 6-2, but he was given a violation for coaching during the second set.

A linesman informed the chair umpire of the infraction during the fifth game of the final set, and Dimitrov reacted by saying he didn’t hear anything.

He probably didn’t need any extra advice anyway, not after the way he was playing, and the way Goffin was, too.

Dimitrov ended up winning 34 of the 47 points he served and won 32 of the 57 points served by Goffin.

In the first set, Dimitrov lost only two points on his serve and twice broke Goffin without even going to deuce. Goffin finally managed to hold serve in the second set, but Dimitrov still was able to break the Belgian’s serve two more times.

“He came to the net from the beginning, from the first point,” Goffin said. “It was not easy for me to lose my serve from the start. It was tough for my confidence after that when it was 0-4.”

The win gives Dimitrov a 2-0 record and ensures he will play on the weekend in his debut at the season-ending tournament. Roger Federer has also already qualified for the semifinals.

In Wednesday’s late match, Pablo Carreno Busta will face Dominic Thiem. Carreno Busta will be playing his first match at this year’s tournament after stepping in to replace the injured Rafael Nadal.

Dimitrov, who won three tournaments this year and reached the semifinals at the Australian Open, will next face Carreno Busta on Friday. Goffin, who is 1-1, will play Thiem that same day.

Goffin beat Nadal in his opening match, calling it the best win of his career. He still has a chance to reach the semifinals, and still has the Davis Cup final at the end of the month when Belgium will take on France in Lille.

“This event is really important. It’s one of the biggest events of the year. I’m going to focus on the next match. If there is another one, I will be focused on the next one. Then we will see,” Goffin said. “The Davis Cup, I’m not thinking about the Davis Cup for the moment. I know it’s just after this event. We will see. I’m just focused on this event first, then we see after.”

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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