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Roger Federer dominant in Wimbledon opener

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LONDON — Roger Federer didn’t need his initials to sign off on another masterful display at Wimbledon.

He’s hoping to get them back soon, though.

Federer’s stylish “RF” logo was missing from his outfit as he stepped out on Centre Court on Monday to begin his title defense with a quick 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 win over Dusan Lajovic. So was the Nike swoosh that has been an ever-present adornment during his 15 years of tennis dominance.

The eyebrow-raising new look was a result of switching apparel sponsors to Japanese clothing company Uniqlo, despite the Swiss star’s name having been synonymous with Nike ever since winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003. And while the swoosh may be gone for good, Federer wants to reclaim his initials.

“Yeah, so the RF logo is with Nike at the moment, but it will come to me at some point. I hope rather sooner than later, that Nike can be nice and helpful in the process to bring it over to me,” Federer said. “They are my initials. They are mine. The good thing is it’s not theirs forever. In a short period of time, it will come to me.”

One thing that clearly hasn’t left him – even at the age of 36 – is his mastery of grass courts.

Starting his quest for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title, Federer looked as sharp as ever.

Lajovic held serve in the opening game but that was as good as it got for the 58th-ranked Serb. Federer reeled off the next nine games to take charge and was in cruise control for the rest of the match.

Federer didn’t face a break point and showed off the full repertoire of shots that has made him the most successful male player ever at Wimbledon. He set another record in the process, becoming the first man in the Open era to play in the grass-court Grand Slam for a 20th straight year.

The man he beat in last year’s final, Marin Cilic, also advanced easily. The third-seeded Croatian cruised past Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. He joined No. 8 Kevin Anderson and American duo John Isner and Sam Querrey to advance in straight sets.

No. 6 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria was the highest-seeded man to bow out, losing to Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Federer’s move to Uniqlo had been rumored ahead of the tournament, but wasn’t confirmed until he stepped onto the court. However, he hasn’t completely left Nike behind. He still wore the American company’s shoes on court, although he may have had to pay for these ones himself.

“I don’t have a shoe deal,” he said. “I’m looking forward to see what shoes I will be wearing in the near future. For now, I will be wearing Nike. They have shown interest to have a shoe deal with me, as well. Ties are not broken there. I have deep roots with Nike. I’ve had a great relationship over the last 20 years. But everything is open.”

Stephens beats Osaka in three sets at WTA Finals

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SINGAPORE — In a match between the last two U.S. Open champions, Sloane Stephens came out on top.

The 2017 champion beat Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 Monday at the WTA Finals, the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world.

Both players are making their debut appearances at the tournament, but Stephens appeared to be more composed while Osaka, who became the first Japanese citizen to win a Grand Slam title last month in New York, never seemed comfortable.

“I’m just really happy to get through and play a good competitive match,” Stephens said on court after the match. “I never gave up. I knew she’s been playing well and I’d have to play really good tennis to beat her.”

Both players struggled to hold serve. Osaka was broken on seven of 19 break-point opportunities, while Stephens was broken on four of 12.

Stephens entered the tournament with 33 wins this season, the least of any of the eight qualifiers. She reached her second career Grand Slam final at this year’s French Open, and won the Miami title.

Osaka continually showed her frustration during the match. When she failed to capitalize on four break points in the fourth game of the second set, she made a visible shrugging gesture with both hands.

Stephens gifted the second set to Osaka when she double-faulted on a second set point in the 10th game. But Osaka appeared to be mentally fatigued and only managed to hold serve in the third game of the final set.

Stephens is now 1-0 in the Red Group, while Osaka is 0-1. Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens are also in the group.

Tsitsipas wins Stockholm Open; becomes first Greek to claim ATP title

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STOCKHOLM — Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek tennis player to win an ATP World Tour title when he beat Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Stockholm Open on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Tsitsipas tossed his racket in the air and put both hands to his head when Gulbis put a forehand into the net after 1 hour, 21 minutes.

Tsitsipas had lost his previous two finals, both times to Rafael Nadal. The No. 145-ranked Gulbis was an easier proposition, though, and Tsitsipas won 80 percent of his service points and didn’t have his serve broken.

“Of course I feel happy because I’m the first Greek (to win an ATP title),” said 16th-ranked Tsitsipas, who became the 12th first-time title-winner on the ATP Tour this year. “Hopefully many Greek players can achieve something like this. I would be super-happy to see them achieve something like this in the future.”

Gulbis had won all six of his finals at ATP tournaments. This was his first since 2014, having beaten top-seeded John Isner in the semifinals.

It was still a great week for Gulbis, who only had four tour-level wins this season before coming to the Swedish capital.

“He played a really good match. He had a great week,” Gulbis said. “I know it’s a big deal to win your first ATP title, so enjoy it. I wish that it’s not the last one.”