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Federer tops Ferrer in 3 sets

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MONTREAL — Roger Federer overcame a weak first set to post a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Spaniard David Ferrer in the third round Thursday at the men’s Rogers Cup.

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.

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.

Later Thursday, Canadian Denis Shapovalov faced top seed Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic lines up Dimitrov at Queen’s Club

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LONDON — Novak Djokovic’s first appearance at Queen’s Club in eight years was successful when he put away Australian qualifier John Millman 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday.

Djokovic, entered as a wild card, will play second-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.

Also, Milos Raonic, runner-up to Roger Federer last week in Stuttgart, won his opener when Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri retired hurt while trailing 6-1, 3-1.

Djokovic’s comeback from right elbow surgery in January has been gathering pace after reaching the Rome semifinals and French Open quarterfinals. He leads Dimitrov 6-1 in career matchups.

Dimitrov, the 2014 Queen’s champion, struggled past Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3. Dimitrov saved six of eight break points.

Svitolina’s top ambitions survive grass-court struggle

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Elena Svitolina, who came within two wins of becoming world No. 1 in January, maintained her ambitious momentum to reach the top by surviving a tricky start to her Wimbledon build-up on Tuesday.

The second-seeded Svitolina stumbled within sight of a two-set victory, and briefly faltered again in the last set before beating Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Svitolina showed glimpses of the tenacious movement and consistently ferocious drives which have earned her the best win-loss record on the WTA tour since the beginning of last year, but also revealed glimpses of insecurity on the lush, low-bouncing surface.

Despite carving a lead of a set and 3-1, her gradually increasing attempts to win points in the forecourt were of variable quality, while Vekic, a former runner-up here, began to contain and counterattack more effectively.

Svitolina nearly let slip another lead of 3-1, in the last set, needing to save two break points on her next service game – one with a fine serve, and the other with a net attack finished off at the third attempt.

Eventually, the Ukrainian’s determination to adapt tactically to a surface on which she has yet to progress beyond any quarterfinal paid timely dividends, and she accelerated toward the finishing line at a canter.

“I was just trying to play well and to dominate, but she played a couple of great points to break back – which is always nice to have,” said Svitolina, apparently meaning she was pleased to gain extra practice on such a technique-testing surface.

“It was difficult for me because she hit the ball very flat and the first match on grass is always a challenge.”

She next faces Alize Cornet of France, who notably beat Serena Williams at 2014 Wimbledon, and who outlasted former top-10 player Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, by 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.