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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.”

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.