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Halep wins suspended match, advances in Cincy

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MASON, Ohio — Top-ranked Simona Halep needed only eight points to complete a gritty comeback that was put on hold overnight by rain, beating qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday afternoon.

Rain resulted in three matches suspended overnight. Nobody was closer to finishing off a win than Halep, who had overcome an injury and staged a third-set rally when the storm arrived.

Fresh off her second Rogers Cup title, Halep arrived in Cincinnati looking to extend her momentum toward the U.S. Open. She appeared to aggravate her lower back on a 105 mph serve during the second set on Wednesday night. After losing the first three games of the final set, she took a medical timeout for treatment.

Halep returned to the court and took control, running off four straight games for a 4-3 lead when rain arrived. Seventeen hours later, she was back on court and needed only 5 minutes to complete the win.

“I have learned that I don’t have to give up, because anything can happen,” she said.

Halep was scheduled to face Ashleigh Barty in the last match on Thursday night, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals. Rain returned shortly after Halep left the court, delaying play again and creating chaos with the schedule.

The two other suspended matches were just getting started.

Amanda Anisimova and Petra Martic were in the first set of their match that was suspended overnight. Fourth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and Hyeon Chung were in the first game of their held-over match. The winners faced the challenge of playing essentially two full matches in one day.

Djokovic wins World Sportsman of the Year at Laureus World Sports Awards

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MONACO  — Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn and the France national soccer team were among the winners at the Laureus World Sports Awards, with Woods claiming the Comeback Award 19 years after he was first recognized.

Djokovic matched Usain Bolt’s record by being named World Sportsman of the Year for the fourth time after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He also earned the honor in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Woods, who won the inaugural World Sportsman of the Year award in 2000, won the Tour Championship in September for his 80th PGA Tour title and his first since August 2013.

Vonn, who retired during the recent Alpine skiing world championships , took home the Spirit of Sport Award, which is given to an athlete for relentless dedication to his or her career, and France was honored for winning the World Cup in July.

Simone Biles was named World Sportswoman of the Year for winning four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the gymnastics world championships. Naomi Osaka won the Breakthrough Award for winning the U.S. Open and Chloe Kim was named the World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

The awards were given in recognition of outstanding sports performance in 2018.

Wawrinka loses to Monfils in first final since knee surgeries

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka’s rebuilt knee couldn’t quite carry him to the title in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Wawrinka lost his first final since his comeback a year ago from left knee surgeries, succumbing 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to Gael Monfils of France at the ABN AMRO World Tournament.

It was the Frenchman’s eighth career title.

“I tried a couple of times here. I lost the final in 2016,” Monfils told Dutch national broadcaster NOS courtside. He said it was special to win a tournament that his idol, Arthur Ashe, also won. Ashe won back-to-back titles in Rotterdam in 1975 and ’76.

Unseeded Wawrinka reached the final by beating top-seeded Kei Nishikori in three sets on Saturday.

But the Swiss finally ran out of steam in the final set as Monfils stepped up his game.

“In the third set I was a little bit more aggressive and I go a bit more for my shots, I served bigger and that helped me a lot,” Monfils said.

Wawrinka was going for his 17th career title and second in Rotterdam, after winning in 2015.

It was his first final since the 2017 French Open, where he previously met Monfils in the fourth round.

Monfils also needed three sets to overcome fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, but outlasted Wawrinka in a match that took 1 hour, 44 minutes.

After they shared the first two sets, Monfils was more consistent than Wawrinka in the decisive third.

Already trailing 4-2, Wawrinka hit three unforced errors to lose the seventh game and allow Monfils to serve out the match.