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Djokovic beats Polansky; Del Potro withdraws from Rogers Cup

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TORONTO — Four-time champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round of the Rogers Cup on Wednesday, defeating Canadian wild card Peter Polansky 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic, coming off his fourth Wimbledon title last month, fired seven aces and never faced a break point in the 1-hour, 25-minute match.

A former world No. 1, Djokovic is seeded ninth at the Toronto tournament. He last won the Rogers Cup in 2016.

It was only the second time the two veteran players had met and the first in nine years. Djokovic beat Polansky at a Rogers Cup in 2009.

Heavy morning rain delayed the match by about an hour. Milos Raonic of Canada was scheduled to follow Djokovic’s win on center court, but that match was delayed by rain. Top seed Rafael Nadal of Spain had the prime court to open the evening session.

Earlier Wednesday, tournament officials announced that Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina had withdrawn from the Rogers Cup with a left wrist injury.

“Sorry to my fans in Toronto, but I have to pull out of the tournament since my left wrist needs some days of rest,” Del Potro said in a tweet.

Del Potro, who had a bye in the first round, was set to play Robin Haase of the Netherlands on Wednesday. Haase instead faced Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny, who pulled out of his second-round qualifying match on Sunday.

Polansky, a 30-year-old from nearby Thornhill, Ontario, reached a career-high No. 110 in June but entered the week at No. 121.

“I thought it went really well out there,” said Polansky, who’s never made it past the second round of a Rogers Cup. “6-3, 6-4, (it was) probably a little closer than the score line said. I’ll take it as a good experience and look forward to the next event.”

Canada’s Daniel Nestor, the oldest player at the tournament at 45, was scheduled to play a first-round doubles match in the late afternoon. Nestor is retiring following the Davis Cup in September. He will have played in 30 Rogers Cups since his first as a 16-year-old wild card in 1989.

Bencic beats 2-time defending champ Svitolina in Dubai semi

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Unseeded Belinda Bencic stopped Elina Svitolina’s bid for a third consecutive title at the Dubai Championships by beating her 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in the semifinals Friday.

The 45th-ranked Bencic won her third match in a row against a top-10 opponent and will face yet another, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, in Saturday’s final at the hard-court tournament.

Kvitova advanced to her third final of 2019 by edging Hsieh Su-wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. The No. 2-seeded Kvitova picked up her tour-high 17th victory of 2019.

Bencic is seeking her third career title, Kvitova her 27th.

Against No. 6 seed Svitolina, Bencic trailed 5-3 in the third set. This was her latest in a string of comebacks. She saved six match points against eighth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka in the third round, then erased a set deficit to beat third-seeded Simona Halep in the quarterfinals.

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Bencic upsets Halep to reach Dubai semifinals

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Unseeded Belinda Bencic rallied to beat second-ranked Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Thursday to reach the Dubai Championships semifinals.

Bencic, who saved six match points in the previous round against Aryna Sabalenka, failed to capitalize on an early break in the first set but Halep continued to struggle with her serve and was broken seven times in total. Bencic broke for a 5-4 lead in the second and then raced out to a 3-0 lead in the decider, having won six games in a row. Halep, who was playing her ninth match in 13 days after reaching the final in Qatar last week, got one break back but Bencic broke again for a 5-2 lead before converting her third match point.

Second-seeded Petra Kvitova had no such problems, winning the last eight games to oust Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0 to book her spot in the last four. Kvitova, the 2013 Dubai champion, needed just 62 minutes to wrap up the win. She will next face Su-wei Hsieh of Taiwan, who came from 5-1 down in the final set to beat fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5. It was the latest upset for Hsieh, who ousted Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber on Wednesday.

In the final quarterfinal, Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain was playing Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

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