Federer beats Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in Miami Open final

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Roger Federer is playing so well this year he’s even dominating his longtime nemesis, Rafael Nadal.

Federer beat Nadal for the third time this year Sunday, 6-3, 6-4, to win the Miami Open and become the tournament’s oldest men’s champion.

Playing some of the best tennis of his career at age 35, Federer also beat his longtime nemesis in the Australian Open final in January, and two weeks ago en route to the Indian Wells title.

His latest win turned back the clock – Federer also won Key Biscayne in 2005 and 2006. Nadal fell to 0-5 in Key Biscayne finals, including in 2005 against Federer.

Federer was coming off a thrilling three-hour semifinal win over Nick Kyrgios but nonetheless looked fresh against Nadal and erased all four break points he faced. Federer failed to take advantage of five early break-point chances himself but broke in the next to last game of both sets.

Serving for the championship at 5-4, Federer hit his only double-fault on the first point but quickly regrouped. The next point was the longest of the match, and Federer ended the 19-shot rally with a forehand winner in the corner.

When Nadal sailed a return long on the final point, Federer took the ball on a bounce behind the baseline and happily whacked it into the stands, then waved with both hands in jubilation. The sellout crowd was evenly divided in its support but roared for the popular champion.

Federer saved two match points in his quarterfinal win against Tomas Berdych, and earned a three-tiebreaker win in the semifinals against Kyrgios. His route to the title was made easier by the absences of six-time champion Novak Djokovic and two-time time champion Andy Murray, both sidelined by elbow injuries.

Even so, Federer’s resurgence is remarkable. He has the best record on men’s tour this year at 19-1, including 7-0 against players ranked in the top 10, and he’s the first three-time champion this year on the men’s tour. His best start since 2006 comes after he missed the final six months of last year with a left knee injury.

Federer’s vast repertoire was on display throughout the tournament. Against Nadal he won all six points where he played serve and volley, and won six other points at the net. He served well and held at love three times in a row. He played terrific defense, robbing Nadal’s groundstrokes of their power, and finished with 30 winners to only 17 unforced errors.

Top-ranked Swiatek, Kvitova reach quarters at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Top-ranked Iga Swiatek advanced to the quarterfinals of the Agel Open after Ajla Tomljanovic retired with an injury during the second set of their second-round match on Wednesday.

The Polish U.S. Open champion was leading 7-5, 2-2 when her Australian opponent retired due to a left knee injury at the indoor hardcourt event in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava.

Swiatek, who also won the French Open in June, will next face American qualifier Catherine McNally or Karolina Muchova.

Home favorite and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova upset second-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain 7-6 (4), 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against this year’s Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina, who rallied to eliminate Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5.

Czech players also won the last two first-round matches on the schedule.

Muchova knocked out seventh-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-4, 6-4 and Barbora Krejcikova ousted American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-2 for her sixth straight victory after she won the Tallinn Open on Sunday for her first WTA title of the year.

Djokovic near flawless to reach second round in Astana

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan – Novak Djokovic delivered a near-flawless performance to ease into the second round of the Astana Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Cristian Garin on Wednesday as he goes for a third straight tournament title.

Djokovic dropped just six points on his serve and won the last five games to seal the win in just 62 minutes.

Djokovic is coming off a victory in Tel Aviv last week and – aside from a match at the Laver Cup – the Wimbledon champion hasn’t lost since the French Open quarterfinals.

“From the start to the end, (it was) a great performance,” Djokovic said. “Playing in a new tournament, different conditions, the first match is never easy. Obviously you are looking to see how you are going to adapt, but I did it perfectly, really, played as well as I can.”

Djokovic will next play Botic van de Zandschulp.

Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz lost in the opening round on Tuesday in his first match since winning the U.S. Open title to capture the No. 1 spot.

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the quarterfinals by beating 19-year-old Luca Nardi of Italy 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). Nardi was playing just his fifth tour-level main-draw match and impressed the third-seeded Greek, who didn’t earn a single break point.

“He’s a player that can play very well in the future,” Tsitsipas said. “There weren’t any holes. I believe today he was able to sustain that level from the beginning to end, and that was extremely impressive.”

Roberto Bautista Agut also reached the quarterfinals as he followed up his first-round upset of Felix Auger-Aliassime by beating Pavel Kotov 6-1, 7-6 (5).

Marin Cilic, who lost the Tel Aviv final to Djokovic, had to come from behind to beat Oscar Otte 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round to set up a round-of-16 match against Karen Khachanov.