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Defending champ Zverev edges Nishikori in DC

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WASHINGTON — Defending champion Alexander Zverev returned to the Citi Open semifinals by coming back for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori at the rain-drenched tournament Friday.

Only two other men’s and women’s quarterfinals were completed before all play was called off on a wet day that also included three-time major champion Andy Murray’s withdrawal.

The No. 1-seeded Zverev, who beat his older brother, Mischa, in the third round, also eliminated 2015 Washington champion Nishikori at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open a year ago en route to the title.

Germany’s Zverev, 21, improved to 14-2 in his four appearances at the Citi Open.

On Saturday, he’ll face 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The No. 10 seed Tsitsipas beat No. 3 David Goffin 6-3, 6-4.

Tsitsipas is coming off his first run to the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament, last month at Wimbledon.

On the other half of the draw, Murray pulled out of his quarterfinal after winning a trio of three-setters and lamenting a schedule that had him start his latest victory at midnight.

Murray cited fatigue when he withdrew Friday, hours before he was supposed to face 19-year-old Alex de Minaur, who was given a walkover into the semifinals. The remaining men’s quarterfinal between No. 16 Andrey Rublev of Russia and unseeded Denis Kudla, who is from nearby Arlington, Virginia, never got started because of rain and was pushed to Saturday.

In the only women’s quarterfinal that concluded, Andrea Petkovic got past No. 6 seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (8). The other three women’s matches were moved to Saturday.

Storms earlier in the week forced some men to play twice in one day.

Murray’s third-round victory over Marius Copil ended just past 3 a.m. on Friday, after rain delayed the start of Thursday’s action for 2 1/2 hours. Afterward, Murray told a small group of reporters that he “potentially” could withdrew from the tournament.

He also announced Friday that he was going to skip next week’s Toronto Masters.

Murray is working his way back into form after having surgery on his right hip and being sidelined for 11 months.

“I’m exhausted after playing so much over the last four days, having not competed on the hard courts for 18 months,” said Murray, whose three matches each lasted more than 2 1/2 hours. “I also need to be careful and to listen to my body as I come back from a long-term injury.”

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.

More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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.