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Mike Bryan’s return from Davis Cup retirement helps keep U.S. alive

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ZADAR, Croatia — Doubles specialist Mike Bryan’s decision to come out of Davis Cup retirement gave the United States a much-needed lift.

Bryan teamed with Ryan Harrison for the first time and helped the Americans outlast Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 7-5, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) over nearly five hours to cut Croatia’s lead to 2-1 in their semifinal on Saturday.

“It’s great to win one for the country – 7-6 in the fifth, on the road and on dirt – this is right up there and I will never forget this one,” Bryan said.

In Sunday’s reverse singles, sixth-ranked Marin Cilic faces Steve Johnson, and Borna Coric meets Davis Cup rookie Frances Tiafoe.

The winner on the outdoor clay court along the Dalmatian Coast will meet defending champion France in the Nov. 23-25 final. France beat Spain 3-0 in the other semifinal.

Mike Bryan and twin Bob retired from Davis Cup after the U.S. lost to Croatia in the 2016 quarterfinals. But Mike decided to return while enjoying a stellar season with interim partner Jack Sock.

Bryan and Sock won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. However, Sock hurt his hip during the U.S. Open run and was replaced by Harrison on the U.S. team.

While Bryan’s reflex volleys were decisive throughout the match, it was Harrison’s forehand return winner that sealed it on the Americans’ second match point – silencing a raucous crowd featuring fans banging drums and blaring trumpets.

The doubles result was welcome for a U.S. team that failed to win a set in the opening two singles on Friday.

The U.S. is missing its top two singles players – besides No. 17 Sock, No. 10 John Isner is home awaiting the birth of his child.

Top-seeded Barty withdraws from French Open warm-up event

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STRASBOURG, France (AP) Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the Internationaux de Strasbourg clay-court tournament on Tuesday because of a right arm injury.

Barty was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Diana Marcinkevica.

The eighth-ranked Australian said she would not take any risk ahead of the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“I gave it my best chance, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be playing my best tennis,” Barty said. “I’m busy the next two months and I need to look after my body now.”

Wild-card entry Tipsarevic advances at Geneva Open

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GENEVA (AP) Former top-10 player Janko Tipsarevic used his wild-card entry to beat Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 7-5, 7-5 in the Geneva Open first round on Monday.

Now ranked No. 317, the 34-year-old Tipsarevic is back in ATP Tour main draws after missing the 2018 season for hamstring injuries to heal.

Fifth-seeded Radu Albot advanced to the second round on a day when two seeded players lost in the final week of clay-court warmups for the French Open.

Albot beat qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3), after 92nd-ranked Hugo Dellien beat eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, and seventh-seeded Matthew Ebden lost to Nicolas Jarry of Chile 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Rain cut short play and gave former No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov a day off after playing through two qualifying rounds.

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