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Andy Murray defeats Grigor Dimitrov to win China Open

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BEIJING — Andy Murray won the China Open in Beijing on Sunday, defeating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6 (2), in a hard-fought match that featured plenty of acrobatics from both players.

Playing in his ninth final of the season, the top-seeded Scot broke Dimitrov in the first game of the first set and again in the fifth game of the second. Murray looked to have the match in the bag serving at 5-4, but the Bulgarian finally broke his serve, then held his own to force the tiebreaker.

The finals victory was Murray’s first in three attempts at the China Open, having reached the quarterfinals on his debut and the semifinals in 2014.

Agnieszka Radwanska had an easier time of it in the women’s final, handily defeating Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2.

The third-seeded Pole added to her 2011 victory in the Beijing tournament, notching up her 20th career title and third of 2016. She took the victory without dropping a set throughout the tournament.

Radwanska broke Konta in the third game but then was broken back in the eighth before holding her service to take the first set.

She established her dominance in the second set, breaking Konta twice before serving out for the win with an ace.

“That was a really special week for me,” Radwanska said in post-match comments. “I really played great tennis, especially against top players.”

Radwanska has now won both of the pair’s encounters. She sealed the victory with just six unforced errors to Konta’s 29.

The 11th-seeded Konta was making her first Beijing appearance and had already assured herself of a place in the next WTA top-10 rankings – the first British woman to do so since Jo Durie in 1984.

“I guess it’s pretty cool. I’m very pleased with my progress over the last few years, and hopefully, yes, still many more places to climb,” said Konta, who was making her first appearance in Beijing. “But as of now I’m really enjoying my journey, I’m really enjoying working hard and really working towards playing matches like these against players like Agnieszka, so hopefully I’ll have many more in the future.”

Federer survives scare to advance in Halle

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HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer survived two match points against Benoit Paire to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win on Thursday.

Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker. Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire’s favor.

But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours at the grass-court tournament.

Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.

Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row and is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.

Federer next faces Matthew Ebden of Australia, who upset former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Also Thursday, Borna Coric defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.

The Croat next faces either Florian Mayer or Andreas Seppi.

Magdalena shows form on grass in Birmingham

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Magdalena Rybarikova, who climbed almost 90 places last year to reach a career-high No. 17 in March, showed she might rise even further after rallying against Kristina Mladenovic 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals in Birmingham.

The Slovak accelerated toward victory against the former top 10 player from France with an array of slice ground strokes, clever approaches and sharp volleys. The range of shots worked excellently on the lush surface at the grass-court Nature Valley Classic and helped her take control midway through the second set.

Rybarikova last year reached the Wimbledon semifinals. She is a former champion here, winning the title in 2009.

In the first round she beat third-seeded Karolina Pliskova for the loss of only five games but found it tougher against Mladenovic.

“I started to play very well,” Rybarikova said of her improvement from the fourth game of the second set against Mladenovic. “She served great to begin with and I struggled with my returns, but I kept fighting and my game improved a lot.

“I think I’d been a bit passive. The key was when I played more cross-court slices and drops and made an early break in the second set.

“That’s the way I am trying to play on grass. I am thankful that I have the game to do that. This court here really suits my game.”

At the changeover in the fifth game of the second set, Mladenovic’s morale appeared to plunge, and afterward her error ratio rose sharply with her standard dropping significantly.

The third set of a match which lasted nearly two hours took only 22 minutes, and long before the end the outcome had ceased to be in doubt.

Rybarikova next faces Slovenian qualifier Dalila Jakupovic, who on Tuesday overcame a difference in rankings of almost 100 places and saved four match points while beating seventh-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium.

Jakupovic followed up Wednesday by getting past 18th-ranked Naomi Osaka of Japan, who recently beat four former top-ranked opponents. Osaka was forced to retired injured after losing the first set 6-3.