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Ernests Gulbis tops No. 4 Alexander Zverev at Wimbledon

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LONDON — Ernests Gulbis is a former top-10 player and Grand Slam semifinalist. A series of injuries pushed him down the rankings and kept him off the ATP Tour for long stretches, instead relegated to lower-tier Challenger tournaments.

Look at him now. Healthy and playing well, he’s made it all the way to Wimbledon’s fourth round for the first time in 11 appearances at the All England Club after upsetting No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev 7-6 (2), 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Gulbis is ranked only 138th and had to go through qualifying rounds to make it into Wimbledon’s main draw. He’d never attempted that before and is now the first male qualifier to get to the fourth round in six years.

“I’m glad that I went through it,” Gulbis said. “It makes me stronger mentally.”

The victory over Zverev was his sixth in a row over the past two weeks.

It also allowed Gulbis to join 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who reached the women’s fourth round with a victory earlier Saturday, to give Latvia two players in the round of 16 at a major tournament for the first time.

“It’s great to see him doing this well, because I think he is such a talented player and he can play on a very high level,” Ostapenko said about Gulbis. “I hope he’s going to go even further in the tournament.”

On Monday, Gulbis will face No. 24 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, who was the runner-up at the 2014 U.S. Open.

The best Grand Slam showing for Gulbis was a run to the semifinals at the 2014 French Open, which included a win against Roger Federer. That was the year he reached his career-best ranking of No. 10.

But then came one injury after another and a slide to 589th a year ago because of a lack of matches.

He had won only one tour-level match this season before Wimbledon. Now he has his first three-match winning streak on tour since 2016.

And still, he can boast of a better Grand Slam performance on his resume than the 21-year-old Zverev, whose only major quarterfinal was last month at Roland Garros.

More than any edge in age or experience, though, what both men figured determined the outcome of this match was that Zverev ran out of energy. He came down with a stomach bug that affected him during his two-day, five-set victory over Taylor Fritz of the U.S. in the second round and felt tired down the stretch against Gulbis.

“It felt like somebody just unplugged me in the middle of the fourth set,” Zverev said. “There was no going back.”

Opelka edges top-seeded Isner to reach New York Open final

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) Reilly Opelka edged top-seeded John Isner the same way he knocked his fellow American out of the Australian Open, winning a match full of tiebreakers Saturday night in a New York Open semifinal that set a record for combined aces in a three-set match.

Opelka fought off six match points in a marathon second set and went on to win 6-7 (8), 7-6 (14), 7-6 (4) to move within a victory of his first ATP title.

The 6-foot-11 Opelka and 6-10 Isner combined for 81 aces and there were no breaks of serve. Opelka hit 43 aces, Isner had 38, and each had only one double fault.

It was similar to their meeting in Melbourne, when Opelka beat the ninth-ranked Isner in a first-round match that went four tiebreakers.

Opelka will play Canadian Brayden Schnur, a qualifier who had never won a tour-level match before this week.

Schnur recovered after blowing a 3-0 lead and eventually the second set to beat American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-3.

Schnur was the final alternate accepted into the tournament’s qualifying draw and was nearly gone from Long Island quickly, eventually overcoming two match points to beat No. 3 seed Steve Johnson in the second round.

There was nothing quick about the second semifinal, which lasted 2 hours, 31 minutes and went well past the previous record of 71 aces, set earlier this year in a match between Nick Kyrgios and Ryan Harrison.

Isner was in good position to win in straight sets, taking a 3-1 lead in the tiebreaker when Opelka pushed a forehand long. But he wasted a chance to win the match on his serve, and Opelka then kept erasing the rest of the match points when he served.

Isner had dropped both matches this season, part of a six-match skid dating to the end of last year, before winning his first two matches here in straight sets.

But he was stopped again by Opelka, who fell two aces shy of Ivo Karlovic’s record for most aces in a three-set match.

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Mertens upsets Halep in Qatar Open final

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DOHA, Qatar – Unseeded Elise Mertens came from a set and a break down to beat recent No. 1 Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Qatar Open final and capture the biggest title of her career on Saturday.

Halep led 6-3, 2-0, then lost a service game for a third time to see the second set back on serve. Mertens continued to pressure, missing two more break chances in the seventh game but finally breaking – to love – in the ninth. The set was the first Mertens took from Halep in three matchups.

Mertens broke again to start the third set, Halep leveled at 2-2, but Mertens finished stronger and won her fifth career title.

The Belgian beat two other top-10 players this week, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber.

Halep’s first final appearance since August guaranteed she will rise one spot to No. 2 in the rankings on Monday.