Federer books Stuttgart final berth and reclaims No. 1

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STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Roger Federer defeated Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (2), 6-2, 7-6 (5) to book his place in the Stuttgart Open final and reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal on Saturday.

“It’s nice that it happened but I’ve other problems,” said Federer, playing his first tournament since March. “I hadn’t played in three months, it’s on grass, it’s fast and difficult to get so far here. Still, I’m delighted to have achieved it.”

The Swiss great will play Milos Raonic as he bids for his 18th grass-court title and 98th altogether.

Raonic earlier hit 19 aces and saved the only break point he faced as he defeated defending champion Lucas Pouille 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the other semifinal.

Federer was pushed all the way by the fourth-seeded Kyrgios, who had 23 aces.

Kyrgios forced a mini-break in the deciding tiebreak, but Federer remained steady and sent a short backhand past the Australian on his first match point to clinch the win.

Federer was trailing Nadal by 100 points at the start of the week and is guaranteed of taking the top spot on Monday regardless of how Sunday’s final goes.

It will be Raonic’s first final since the 2017 Istanbul Open. The Canadian won his last title at the 2016 Brisbane International.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.

Ruud loses, Kyrgios wins at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Top-seeded Casper Ruud lost and Nick Kyrgios won at the Japan Open.

Ruud, who reached the final at both the French Open and the U.S. Open this year, lost to Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3.

Kyrgios, who lost in the Wimbledon final, defeated Tseng Chun-hsin 6-3, 6-1 to reach the round of 16. He will next face Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Sho Shimabukuro 7-6 (2), 6-2.

The victory for Kyrgios came on the same day that his lawyer asked an Australian court to dismiss assault charges against him on mental health grounds. Magistrate Glenn Theakston adjourned the case until Feb. 3.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios will appear in court in person on that date for the first time since he was charged by police by summons in July.

The common assault charge, which has a potential maximum sentence of two years in prison, relates to an incident in January 2021 that was reported to local police last December. The charge reportedly relates to an incident involving his former girlfriend.