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.”

Top-ranked Swiatek, Kvitova reach quarters at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Top-ranked Iga Swiatek advanced to the quarterfinals of the Agel Open after Ajla Tomljanovic retired with an injury during the second set of their second-round match on Wednesday.

The Polish U.S. Open champion was leading 7-5, 2-2 when her Australian opponent retired due to a left knee injury at the indoor hardcourt event in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava.

Swiatek, who also won the French Open in June, will next face American qualifier Catherine McNally or Karolina Muchova.

Home favorite and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova upset second-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain 7-6 (4), 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against this year’s Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina, who rallied to eliminate Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5.

Czech players also won the last two first-round matches on the schedule.

Muchova knocked out seventh-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-4, 6-4 and Barbora Krejcikova ousted American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-2 for her sixth straight victory after she won the Tallinn Open on Sunday for her first WTA title of the year.

Djokovic near flawless to reach second round in Astana

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan – Novak Djokovic delivered a near-flawless performance to ease into the second round of the Astana Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Cristian Garin on Wednesday as he goes for a third straight tournament title.

Djokovic dropped just six points on his serve and won the last five games to seal the win in just 62 minutes.

Djokovic is coming off a victory in Tel Aviv last week and – aside from a match at the Laver Cup – the Wimbledon champion hasn’t lost since the French Open quarterfinals.

“From the start to the end, (it was) a great performance,” Djokovic said. “Playing in a new tournament, different conditions, the first match is never easy. Obviously you are looking to see how you are going to adapt, but I did it perfectly, really, played as well as I can.”

Djokovic will next play Botic van de Zandschulp.

Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz lost in the opening round on Tuesday in his first match since winning the U.S. Open title to capture the No. 1 spot.

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the quarterfinals by beating 19-year-old Luca Nardi of Italy 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). Nardi was playing just his fifth tour-level main-draw match and impressed the third-seeded Greek, who didn’t earn a single break point.

“He’s a player that can play very well in the future,” Tsitsipas said. “There weren’t any holes. I believe today he was able to sustain that level from the beginning to end, and that was extremely impressive.”

Roberto Bautista Agut also reached the quarterfinals as he followed up his first-round upset of Felix Auger-Aliassime by beating Pavel Kotov 6-1, 7-6 (5).

Marin Cilic, who lost the Tel Aviv final to Djokovic, had to come from behind to beat Oscar Otte 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round to set up a round-of-16 match against Karen Khachanov.