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Kerber sets up Wimbledon semifinal vs Ostapenko

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LONDON – Angelique Kerber reached her third Wimbledon semifinal after converting her seventh match point to beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday, setting up a meeting with former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Ostapenko became the first Latvian woman to make the last four at the All England Club with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Dominika Cibulkova on a windy No. 1 Court.

Kerber, the former No. 1 and two-time major champion who was the runner-up at Wimbledon two years ago, took advantage of Kasatkina’s erratic serving and many errors to return to the last four. Kasatkina finished with seven double-faults, including one on break point in the second game and then two straight to hand Kerber a 5-3 lead in the first set – halting her momentum just after breaking to get back on serve with the help of one of the best rallies of the match.

Still, Kerber had some trouble closing things out.

She served for the victory at 5-4 in the second set, but got broken. When she served for it a second time, she needed to navigate a 16-point game that included five deuces and all of those match points, until forcing a forehand error on the last.

Ostapenko was more efficient, serving her match out at love and converting her first match point with her 14th backhand winner.

Ostapenko was the aggressor throughout, hitting 33 winners to Cibulkova’s six, but also hitting 28 unforced errors to 13 for her opponent. She repeatedly went for winners on her service returns, a strategy that helped her break Cibulkova five times.

Both players struggled to deal with the wind at times when serving, having to interrupt their ball-toss motion on several occasions in the second set.

They traded breaks early in both sets before Ostapenko broke decisively for a 3-2 lead in the second when Cibulkova sent a forehand long.

Later, Serena Williams resumed her quest for an eighth Wimbledon title when she played 52nd-ranked Camila Giorgi of Italy.

In the fourth quarterfinal, 13th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany faced former French Open semifinalist Kiki Bertens, with both players having reached the last eight at Wimbledon for the first time.

Also, Juan Martin del Potro became the last man into the quarterfinals by beating Gilles Simon 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5).

The fifth-seeded del Potro failed to convert four match points when serving at 5-4 in the fourth set, but maintained his composure to close out the contest with his first opportunity in the tiebreaker that followed.

It was the only fourth-round contest to be carried over to Tuesday and lasted 4 hours, 24 minutes, making it the longest men’s singles match of the tournament.

Del Potro will face two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Bryan, Sock win ATP Finals doubles title

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LONDON — American pair Mike Bryan and Jack Sock saved a match point in the deciding tiebreaker to beat Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 5-7, 6-1, 13-11 for their first ATP Finals doubles title together on Sunday.

Having failed to take advantage of five championship points during the first-to-10 match tiebreaker, Bryan and Sock then had to save one against their French opponents before finally closing out victory at the O2 Arena.

“It was a hell of a match,” Bryan said.

The 40-year-old Bryan has now won the season-ending tournament five times. He won four times with his usual partner – and brother – Bob, who has been out with an injured hip since May.

Sock and Bryan have dominated since teaming up, winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open before finishing their season in style in London.

“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Bryan said. “This could be our last hoorah because Bob’s training back in Florida.”

After reaching the singles semifinals last year, Sock has endured a torrid season in that format, falling outside the top-100 ranked players. However, he became the first American since John McEnroe to add a doubles final appearance at the tournament to his last-four singles showing.

“This is special because it was a pretty bad year in singles,” Sock said. “This makes up for some of the low moments I’ve had.”

The French duo’s season is not over yet. Herbert and Mahut are part of their nation’s squad for the Davis Cup final against Croatia, which starts in Lille on Friday.

Ball boy flub taints Zverev’s ATP Finals win vs. Federer

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LONDON — After pulling off one of the biggest wins of his career, Alexander Zverev was left apologizing for an unforced error he didn’t make.

Zverev denied Roger Federer a shot at a 100th career title by beating the Swiss great 7-5, 7-6 (5) on Saturday to advance to the championship match at the ATP Finals.

Federer was leading the second-set tiebreaker 4-3 and in the ascendancy of a rally on a Zverev service point when a ball boy at the back of the court dropped a ball. Zverev immediately signaled for the point to be stopped and the umpire ordered the point to be replayed.

Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.

“I want to apologize for the situation in the tiebreak,” said Zverev, who was booed by some members of the crowd during his on-court interview. “The ball boy dropped the ball so it’s in the rules that we have to replay the point.

“I’m a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end.”

Zverev is the youngest player at 21 to reach the final since 2009 and the first from Germany since 1996. He will next face Novak Djokovic or Kevin Anderson, who are in the other semifinal later Saturday.

Federer, 37, was seeking a record-extending seventh title, but was unable to cope with the pressure created by Zverev’s power and precision at the O2 Arena.

“He (Zverev) apologized to me at the net,” Federer said. “I was like, `Buddy, shut up. You don’t need to apologize to me here. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far. All the best for the finals.’ And you move on.”

An inspired series of shots earned Zverev the first break points of the match in the 12th game and Federer sent a forehand wide to fall behind.

Federer willed himself to a break for 2-1 in the second set, but Zverev quickly composed himself to hit straight back in the following game.

Zverev overcame the freak interruption to establish a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker, and Federer netted the simplest of forehand volleys to bring up match point.

He saved the first, but Zverev confidently put away a backhand drive volley to set up a shot at the biggest title of his career and leave Federer waiting until next season for his 100th title.

“Overall, I’m happy how the season went,” said Federer, who picked up his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. “There’s many positives. So I’m excited for next season.”

Despite having reached only one Grand Slam quarterfinal, Zverev is the only active player outside the Big Four of Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to have won three Masters titles. But victory at the tour’s flagship event would exceed those achievements.

“Novak right now is the best player in the world,” said Zverev, who lost to Djokovic in the round robin. “No matter who it’s going to be, I’ll be ready.”