Rafael Nadal

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Federer withdraws from Cincinnati; Nadal new No. 1

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MASON, Ohio — Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open, which he has won seven times.

Tournament officials announced Federer’s withdrawal on Monday, the first full day of matches at the event in Cincinnati.

The 19-time major champion says he “tweaked” his back last week at the Rogers Cup, where he lost Sunday to Alexander Zverev in the final.

The Swiss star, No. 3 in the ATP Tour rankings, becomes the fifth of the top six players to skip Cincinnati because of injuries. He joins top-ranked Andy Murray, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, fifth-ranked Novak Djokovic and sixth-ranked Marin Cilic, the defending champion.

Federer’s withdrawal means Rafael Nadal will return to No. 1 when new ATP rankings are released on Aug. 21. The Spaniard will be No. 1 for the first time since July 6, 2014.

Nadal has spent 141 weeks as the men’s No. 1 player.

Nadal upset by Canadian teenager in Montreal

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MONTREAL– Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov upset top-seeded Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday night.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ontario, advanced to a quarterfinal meeting Friday night with France’s Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Hyeon Chung of South Korea 6-3, 6-3.

“It’s what I dreamed of all my life growing up, playing guys like Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), Andy (Murray),” Shapovalov said. “You know, my dream came true today.”

Shapovalov has taken major strides this week to reach his goal of cracking the world’s top 100 with wins over Rogerio Dutra Silva and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro. He also halted Nadal’s bid to regain the No. 1 ranking, which the Spaniard could have achieved by reaching the semifinals.

Shapovalov battled back after Nadal cruised through the first set, then erased a 3-0 deficit in the tiebreaker for the biggest victory of his career.

Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the tournament’s quarterfinals since Bjorn Borg in 1974. With hockey great Wayne Gretzky and Olympic swimming star Penny Oleksiak cheering for him from the seats, he also became the youngest quarterfinalist at a Masters Series tournament ever and is the youngest to beat a player ranked in the top two in the world since Nadal beat Federer in 2004 in Miami.

“He played well,” Nadal said. “He has a great potential.”

“I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.”

Roger Federer overcame a weak first set to post a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Spaniard David Ferrer in an earlier third-round match.

In Friday’s quarterfinals, the second-seeded Federer will face 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) on center court at Uniprix Stadium.

Unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman posted a strange win over American Jared Donaldson 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with Robin Haase, the 52nd-ranked Dutchman who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa downed American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-1 and will next play fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who ousted 16th-seeded Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, who breezed past Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round on Wednesday, struggled in the opening set, spraying balls long, wide or into the net, but gradually rediscovered at least some of the form that has seen the 36-year-old Swiss earn two grand slam wins this year.

Federer is 17-0 in his career against the 35-year-old Ferrer, who was ranked third in the world in 2013 but is now at No.33.

Bautista Agut fought off a match point to force a tiebreaker, which the tired-looking Monfils opened with a double fault and never challenged again.

The unseeded Monfils played his third straight three-set match, including an upset win over fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori in the second round.

Schwartzman saved four match points to upset third-seeded Dominic Thiem in the second round. The win over Donaldson put him in a quarterfinal for the sixth time this year. Schwartzman’s only ATP win was on clay in Istanbul last year.

Donaldson, 20, was seeking a first career quarterfinal in a Masters Series tournament, where he is 0-13 in round of 16 matches.

Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray head to Week 2 at Wimbledon

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LONDON– As usual, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are playing well at Wimbledon, leading the way into Week 2.

“It’s their turf,” said Ernests Gulbis, who stood in Djokovic’s way in the third round but failed to present too much of an obstacle. “It’s their home court.”

Indeed, it is.

Not since Lleyton Hewitt won the championship 15 years ago has someone other than Federer (a record-equaling seven titles in that span), Djokovic (three), Nadal (two) or Murray (two) left Wimbledon with the men’s singles title. In addition, that so-called Big 4 accounts for eight runner-up finishes during that stretch.

Count Federer among those shrugging at the quartet’s success so far this fortnight, with only one set dropped among the lot.

“I thought that everybody this week was going to find their form, especially speaking about Andy and Novak. … With me, I hoped I was going to be there. Whereas with Rafa’s confidence, I thought he was also going to be there,” said Federer, who has a cold. “So I’m not that surprised. But it’s great.”

This Grand Slam season has been just like old times.

Following a period in which Djokovic, then current No. 1 Murray overtook Federer and Nadal in the rankings, and started regularly appearing in – and winning – major finals, the latter two have reasserted themselves.

First, Federer returned from missing the last half of 2016 while letting his surgically repaired left knee heal and has been as impressive as he’s been in quite some time. He won his first Grand Slam title in 4+ years at the Australian Open, beating long-time rival Nadal in the final.

If that was the first indication that Nadal, too, was truly back after his own health issues, another one came at the French Open, where he won his record 10th trophy in fantastic fashion, not dropping a set. He’s now run his consecutive sets streak at majors to 28, tying his personal best and, in the Open era, sitting behind only Federer’s run of 36 from 2006-07, and John McEnroe’s of 35 in 1984.

“Against Rafa,” said the man he defeated in the third round, 30th-seeded Karen Khachanov, “if you give him time, he can destroy you.”

As Federer alluded to, it’s been Djokovic and Murray who arrived at the All England Club having been less than their best this season.

But with Andre Agassi and Mario Ancic in his coaching corner, Djokovic seems rejuvenated. Defending champion Murray is the only member of the foursome who hasn’t won every set he’s played in the tournament: Against Fabio Fognini in the third round, he ceded one and saved five set points to barely avoid losing another.

The men’s fourth-round matchups on the top half of the draw Monday are Murray vs. Benoit Paire, Nadal vs. No. 16 Gilles Muller, No. 7 Marin Cilic vs. No. 18 Roberto Bautista Agut, and No. 24 Sam Querrey vs. Kevin Anderson. On the bottom half, it’s Djokovic vs. Adrian Mannarino, Federer vs. No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov, 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic vs. No. 10 Alexander Zverev; and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych vs. No. 8 Dominic Thiem.

Wimbledon is the lone Grand Slam tournament that schedules all 16 remaining singles matches on the same day.

The top-half women’s fourth-rounders: No. 1 Angelique Kerber vs. No. 14 Garbine Muguruza in a meeting of the past two runners-up, two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki vs. No. 24 CoCo Vandeweghe, and Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Petra Martic. In the bottom half, it’s five-time champion Venus Williams vs. No. 27 Ana Konjuh, No. 2 Simona Halep vs. two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko vs. No. 4 Elina Svitolina, and No. 6 Johanna Konta vs. No. 21 Caroline Garcia.

At 37, Williams is the oldest woman left. At 19, Konjuh is the youngest.

There is an interesting age dynamic in the men’s event, too: The seven players 30 or older in the round of 16 represent the most to get that far in the 50 Wimbledons of the Open era.

Federer turns 36 in a month, Nadal is 31, and Djokovic and Murray are both 30. They’re joined by Muller (34), Anderson (31) and Berdych (31).

“I came through the juniors with all these guys. It’s nice to see them still hanging on, still enjoying the tour, still being tough out there, making it difficult for the youngsters to break through,” Federer said. “There is a bit of that clash right now – the young ones trying to push out, especially, the 35-plus guys. But then there’s a strong, strong team, as well, around the generation of Rafa and Murray and Djokovic, obviously.”