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Federer, del Potro, Zverev all win at Shanghai Masters

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SHANGHAI — Roger Federer had to overcome a second-set stutter. Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev had to overcome illness.

All three still advanced at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.

Federer, the defending champion, beat Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the second round despite being broken late in the second set.

“I was able to mix it up. Really also took some chances, serve and volley, second serve,” the top-seeded Federer said. “In the third set I really started to figure it out, as well, how aggressive or how tactical I wanted to make the match. And by trying everything, I found a solution at the end, which was a great feeling to have.”

The third-seeded del Potro trailed in the first set and in the tiebreaker but rebounded both times to beat Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-6 (7).

“It wasn’t easy to play for me today,” said del Potro, who reached the China Open final last week. “I did what I can. I didn’t run too much. But I think I played with all my strength in the important moment of the match.

“I would love to feel better,” he added. “I have been talking with the doctors every day.”

The fourth-seeded Zverev was also struggling with a cold, but he beat Nicoloz Basilashvili 7-5, 6-4.

Basilashvili arrived in Shanghai after beating del Potro in Beijing to win his second career title.

“I played an opponent who has a lot of confidence,” Zverev said. “Obviously he’s playing the best tennis of his life, winning in Beijing, and obviously he had a very good match yesterday, as well.

“He knows how to play, definitely. Probably the hardest-hitting player I have ever played against.”

Zverev is playing in Shanghai without his coach, Ivan Lendl, who was in Beijing last week. Lendl flew back to the United States to have wrist surgery, which Zverev said was caused by playing too much golf. Lendl is due to return to the tour before the end of the season.

Earlier, 10th-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (8) – the second straight year that the Greek player has defeated Khachanov in the second round in Shanghai.

“We played here last year and it was the place I got my first ATP win,” Tsitsipas said. “I knew today was going to be a different match. I played every single point as if there was no tomorrow.”

Wimbledon to introduce final-set tiebreakers in 2019

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LONDON (AP) That epic 70-68 fifth set at Wimbledon will never be matched or surpassed, or even challenged.

The All England Club said Friday it will introduce final-set tiebreakers next year, starting when the score reaches 12-12 in the decider.

The grass-court Grand Slam tournament is the second of the four majors to use a final-set tiebreaker to determine a singles match – either the fifth set in a men’s match or the third set for the women. The U.S. Open, however, starts its final-set tiebreakers at 6-6.

At the Australian Open and the French Open, players still have to win by two games in the final set in singles matches.

“Our view was that the time had come to introduce a tie-break method for matches that had not reached their natural conclusion at a reasonable point during the deciding set,” Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook said in a statement.

In a tiebreaker, the first player to get seven points – leading by at least two points – wins the set.

In 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played the longest match in tennis history at Wimbledon. The match took more than 11 hours and lasted over three days before Isner won 70-68 in the final set.

According to Wimbledon CEO Richard Lewis, many players were in favor of the change.

“There were mixed views, it’s fair to say. But predominantly, players favored the final-set tiebreak,” Lewis said. “They recognize the quality of tennis goes down, players start playing not to lose rather than the excitement or the determination to win. And they recognize it affects the quality of the matches on subsequent rounds.”

This year, eventual finalist Kevin Anderson played a pair of long matches late in the tournament. He beat eight-time champion Roger Federer 13-11 in the fifth set in the quarterfinals, and then defeated Isner 26-24 in the fifth in the semifinals – the second-longest match in the history of a tournament that began in 1877.

In the other semifinal match, Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 10-8 in the fifth set.

Two of those three matches would still be possible.

“While we know the instances of matches extending deep into the final set are rare, we feel that a tie-break at 12-12 strikes an equitable balance between allowing players ample opportunity to complete the match to advantage, while also providing certainty that the match will reach a conclusion in an acceptable timeframe,” Brook said.

Other notable long matches include Federer’s victory over Andy Roddick in the 2009 final, winning 16-14 in the fifth set.

Tiebreakers were first introduced at Wimbledon in 1971, but they started at 8-8 instead of 6-6 and were not used in deciding sets.

Before that, all sets had to be won by two games, including Margaret Court’s 14-12, 11-9 win over Billie Jean King in the 1970 final.

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Serena’s coach says in-match coaching would boost tennis

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Serena Williams’ coach says in-match coaching should be allowed in tennis to help the sport’s popularity.

Patrick Mouratoglou, who admitted he used banned hand signals to try to help Williams during her loss in the U.S. Open final, wrote Thursday in a posting on Twitter that making coaching part of the spectacle would let “viewers enjoy it as a show” and “ensure that it remains pivotal in the sport.”

Mouratoglou also pointed to what he called a “hypocrisy” – players currently are getting coached at tournaments that ban coaching.

And he pointed out that all sorts of individual sports – boxing, golf, cycling – permit athletes to consult someone during competition.

“I have never understood why tennis is just about the only sport in which coaching during matches is not allowed,” Mouratoglou wrote.

Quite a bit of debate about the topic of on-court coaching was sparked when chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a code violation after Mouratoglou gestured in her direction early in the second set of Naomi Osaka’s 6-2, 6-4 victory over the American for the title at Flushing Meadows last month.

A few games later, Williams received another warning, this time for smashing her racket, and that second violation automatically cost her a point. Eventually, Williams called Ramos “a thief,” drawing a third violation, this one for “verbal abuse,” which cost her a game. Williams was fined a total of $17,000 the next day, including $4,000 for coaching, which is not allowed in Grand Slam matches.

The WTA does allow coaching during women’s matches at other tournaments. The tour’s CEO, Steve Simon, said in the aftermath of the U.S. Open final that it “should be allowed across the sport.”

The sport’s various governing bodies and Grand Slam tournaments have been looking at the issue, with some sounding more willing than others to consider permitting coaching. Wimbledon, for example, has made clear that it is “fundamentally opposed to any form of coaching during a match.”

Banning coaching, Mouratoglou wrote Thursday, “almost makes it look as if it had to be hidden, or as if it was shameful.”

He called the issue “symptomatic of the confrontation between two ways of thinking: The conservative, traditionalist way and the modern, progressive way.”

Besides, Mouratoglou said, “It is a very basic truth that the vast majority of tennis coaches are actually coaching on court, despite the rules. Look at how many times players look towards their boxes during a match. Some do it after every single point.”

That is true.

Those who argue against in-match coaching – and believe rules against it should be enforced more rigidly – say that lessens the individual, go-it-alone nature of tennis.

Mouratoglou thinks part of the appeal of allowing coaching is that it would help get viewers “emotionally involved.”

“You want spectators and TV viewers to have opinions about the players – and the coaches – and to know who they like and don’t like. Watching the interactions between players and coaches is a very good way of achieving this,” he wrote.

Mouratoglou added: “Moreover, emotions run high when coaches talk to their players during matches. Sometimes the players don’t like to hear what their coaches are saying, but this all adds to the drama, which creates engagement on social media.”

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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