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Raonic upset by De Minaur in second round at Brisbane

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BRISBANE, Australia – Former champion Milos Raonic lost in straight sets to 18-year-old Alex De Minaur in a second-round upset Wednesday at the Brisbane International.

Raonic, who won the Brisbane title in 2016 and reached the Wimbledon final that year, struggled to find rhythm with his usually booming serve in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to the Australian wildcard entry.

De Minaur pressured Raonic with his relentless service returns and only dropped serve once – when serving for the match at 5-2 in the second – en route to the biggest win of his career.

The win put De Minaur into a quarterfinal match against American qualifier Michael Mmoh, who upset No. 8-seeded Mischa Zverev 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

Nick Kyrgios was the first into the men’s quarterfinals, overcoming a knee problem to outlast fellow Australian Matthew Ebden 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Third-seeded Kyrgios called for a medical timeout after nine games and had further treatment two games later to have his left knee taped.

His movement appeared to be hampered but he still had too much for Ebden and set up a quarterfinal match against former Brisbane International runner-up Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-2.

Elina Svitolina advanced to the women’s quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-1 second-round win over Croatia’s Ana Konjuh.

The third-seeded Svitolina, who won five WTA titles last year and peaked at No. 3, will next play fifth-seeded Johanna Konta.

Kaia Kanepi beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-3 and qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich rallied for a 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over Anett Kontaveit to set up a quarterfinal match against Alize Cornet.

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.