Federer, Wawrinka set up all-Swiss semifinal at US Open

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NEW YORK (AP) Roger Federer is back in the semifinals of the U.S. Open for the 10th time. To get back to his first final at Flushing Meadows in six years, he’ll have to beat someone he knows quite well: Swiss Olympic and Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka.

The No. 2-seeded Federer and No. 5 Wawrinka both won quarterfinals about as handily as can be Wednesday night.

Federer never faced a break point, compiled a remarkable 50-8 advantage in winners, and needed less than 1 1/2 hours to dismiss 12th-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“No doubt about it: I think I played a very good match,” Federer said. “I felt the ball great.”

He won five consecutive titles at the U.S. Open from 2004-08, then lost in the 2009 final – and hasn’t been that far again since.

Forced to play in Louis Armstrong Stadium because of two lengthy women’s quarterfinals plus a 1 1/2-hour rain delay earlier, Wawrinka eliminated 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-4, 6-0. The match took 1 hour, 47 minutes in all, but the third set, in particular, was about as lopsided as possible: Wawrinka won 24 of the 29 points.

Wawrinka solved the 6-foot-8 Anderson’s serve, converting 5 of 8 break points. Anderson had been broken a total of four times through his first four matches combined.

“For sure,” Wawrinka said, “the best match of the tournament for me.”

Most of his career, Wawrinka has lived in the shadow of his older – and far more successful – countryman, Federer. While Federer owns a record 17 Grand Slam singles titles, Wawrinka didn’t break through with his first until the 2014 Australian Open. But Wawrinka added No. 2 this year at the French Open, beating Federer in the quarterfinals along the way.

Still, that was only Wawrinka’s third victory in 19 career matches against Federer.

“Stan played a wonderful match against me in Paris, and I was very happy for him that he went on to win the tournament. He deserved it. He’s been such a great player throughout his career. He always improved a lot, kept on working really hard,” Federer said.

“Couldn’t be happier to play him here, to be quite honest,” Federer added. “Two Swiss in the semis of the U.S. Open – it’s very cool for both of us.”

Asked whether he expects a vast majority of spectators to be pulling for Federer on Friday, Wawrinka replied: “Everybody loves Roger. He’s the best player ever.”

In Friday’s other men’s semifinal, No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia will play defending champion Marin Cilic of Croatia. Djokovic has won all 13 of their previous meetings.

The women’s semifinals are Thursday night: No. 1 Serena Williams of the United States vs. unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy, and No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania vs. No. 26 Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

It’s the first time two Italians reached the semifinals at the same major tournament.

Halep and Pennetta advanced Wednesday by beating two-time major champions. Halep rested up and composed herself after the third-set rain break and defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, while Pennetta edged Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Unseeded Parks beats top-seeded Garcia for her 1st title

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LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.

“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.

Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.

The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.

“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.

The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.

“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”

Zhu beats Tsurenko to win Thailand Open

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.

In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.

The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.

Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.

The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.

Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.