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.

Linette keeps getting better; into Australian Open semis

Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports
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MELBOURNE, Australia — Two days after advancing to her first Grand Slam tournament quarterfinal, unseeded Magda Linette went one better and is into the Australian Open semifinals.

The 30-year-old Linette beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5, adding the former No. 1 to the list of top players she has beaten at Melbourne Park during this tournament.

Linette, who had lost seven of nine previous matches against Pliskova, had defeated Anett Kontaveit, Ekaterina Alexandrova and WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in successive rounds.

A player from Poland was favored to reach the latter stages of the tournament, but it was top-seeded Iga Swiatek that everyone would have expected – and not Linette.

“It’s so emotional I can’t really believe it,” Linette said. “I tried to stay composed and took my chances when I could.”

Linette will play No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka, who beat unseeded Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 in a later quarterfinal. The women’s semifinals are scheduled for Thursday night.

Vekic, who had 13 double faults against Sabalenka, had a succinct appraisal of her serve: “I mean, it was all over the place. But I think mostly in the net.”

The other women’s semifinalists were determined on Tuesday. Two-time former Australian champion Victoria Azarenka will play Wimbledon titleholder Elena Rybakina for a chance to play in Saturday night’s final. Rybakina beat Swiatek in the fourth round.

Later Wednesday, the remaining men’s semifinalists will be determined. Unseeded Americans Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul play before nine-time champion Novak Djokovic takes on Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic will be looking to qualify for his 44th Grand Slam semifinal and a win in that match on Friday would advance him on Sunday night to his 33rd major singles final.

The other men’s semifinal on Friday will see third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas play Karen Khachanov.

Rybakina rules in Australian Open quarterfinal vs. Ostapenko

Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports
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MELBOURNE, Australia – Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina advanced to the Australian Open semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The match on Rod Laver Arena featured a rare rain delay of about 20 minutes while the roof was closed. Rybakina led 3-1 and was holding a break point before the delay. On return, Ostapenko saved the first break point, but Rybakina broke on her next opportunity to go up 4-1 and won the first set 6-2.

In the second set, Ostapenko was up a break but Rybakina leveled with a break of her own. It came on her first break point when Ostapenko had been unable to convert four in the previous game.

Rybakina, who beat top-seeded Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, set up match points with aces, both of which were saved by Ostapenko. But she clinched the match with another ace, her 11th of the match and a tournament-leading 35 overall.

“I was nervous in the last game, but I managed my emotions and played very well.” Rybakina said. “The conditions were different after the roof was closed. But it can happen here, you never know, on the morning one weather and later it changes.”

Rybakina will play the winner of the night quarterfinal between American Jessica Pegula, at No. 3 the highest women’s seed remaining, and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

In men’s quarterfinals, 22-year-old American Sebastian Korda played the next match at Rod Laver Arena against No. 18-seeded Karen Khachanov. In a night quarterfinal, third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Jiri Lehecka. The winners of those matches will play each other in the semifinals on Friday.