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Federer beats Copil in Swiss Indoors final for 99th title

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BASEL, Switzerland — Roger Federer won his 99th career ATP Tour title on Sunday, beating qualifier Marius Copil 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the Swiss Indoors final.

A ninth title at Federer’s hometown event in Basel, where he was once a ball boy, matched the nine he won at the Halle grass-court event in Germany. He closed the gap on the all-time singles titles list to Jimmy Connors, who leads with 109.

Federer blew kisses to a 12,000 crowd in the renovated St. Jakobhalle, which now gives Basel’s local hero a bigger main stage.

“It’s been a magical week. It was dream run for me,” Federer said in his acceptance speech, before his fans’ ovation brought tears welling in his eyes.

The top-seeded Swiss rallied from trailing by a service break in each set against the 93rd-ranked Romanian, whose serve was measured at 243 kph (151 mph) in his opening service game.

Federer clinched minutes after saving a break point, taking his first match-point chance when Copil sent a backhand into the net.

The title was the 37-year-old Federer’s first in more than four months since winning on grass at Stuttgart in June.

Federer’s 151st singles final on the ATP tour shaped as one of his biggest mismatches by ranking. He has never lost a final to an opponent ranked below No. 87.

Their first meeting came after Federer amassed 20 Grand Slam singles titles, while Copil has just one career match win at a Grand Slam – in the 2015 Australian Open first round.

The 28-year-old Copil came to Basel with career prize money – $1.67 million – significantly less than Federer earned just for winning the Australian Open in January.

Copil, currently ranked No. 93, is in line to rise above his career-best ranking of No. 73 when the new list is published Monday.

The first-set tiebreaker was likely to be crucial given Copil’s career record of 8-52 when losing the opening set in top-tier matches.

Federer got a mini-break in the seventh point, being rewarded for solid defense from the baseline when Copil netted an attempted drop shot.

After Copil saved two set points with big serves, Federer took the first on his own serve when his opponent sent a forehand long. Federer celebrated with a shout and a pump of his right fist.

In the second set, Copil again quickly broke serve and this time held the key fifth game when Federer had two break points.

It was a brief respite until Federer broke in Copil’s next service game despite the Romanian ending one long rally with a backhand lob for a winner.

Benedetti wins 12th stage; Polanc takes Giro lead

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PINEROLO, Italy (AP) Cesare Benedetti won the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday for his first victory as a professional while Jan Polanc took the overall leader’s pink jersey from UAE Emirates teammate Valerio Conti.

Benedetti, an Italian with the Bora team who has been a support rider for his entire career, was part of an early breakaway then accelerated from a select group of riders in a sprint finish.

“I’ve worked a lot for the others in the past but today I got my opportunity,” Benedetti said. “I’m not (usually) a winner.”

Benedetti required 3 hours, 41 minutes to complete the 158-kilometer (98-mile) leg from Cuneo to Pinerolo, which featured one major climb and another shorter but steeper ascent just before the finish.

Damiano Caruso crossed second and Eddie Dunbar came third, each with the same time as Benedetti. Polanc, a Slovenian who was also in the breakaway, finished 25 seconds behind.

In the overall standings, Polanc leads Primoz Roglic by 4 minutes, 7 seconds. Vincenzo Nibali, one of the pre-race favorites, is fifth overall, 5:51 behind.

“It was a team tactic that I would go in the breakaway so we could have a better control over the race,” Polanc said. “It was also a way to keep the pink jersey in the team.”

Mikel Landa and Miguel Angel Lopez attacked on the first-category climb to Montoso and gained about 30 seconds on the other overall favorites.

Before the stage began, sprinters Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani withdrew from the race. Ewan won two stages, including the 11th leg a day earlier, while Viviani posted three second-place finishes.

Stage 13 on Friday is one of the race’s toughest, with two category one climbs and one category ascent, along with an uphill finish at the end of the 196-kilometer leg from Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale.

The Giro ends June 2 in Verona.

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Tsonga rallies past qualifier to reach quarterfinals in Lyon

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LYON, France (AP) Former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied past Canadian qualifier Steven Diez on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals and extend his perfect record at the Lyon Open.

Tsonga, the 2017 champion, came within two points of losing but finally prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 on his sixth match point after 2 hours, 42 minutes.

The clay-court event serves as a warmup for the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“It was good for me to play a long match like this,” Tsonga said. “I haven’t played a match this long for a while. I am not playing my best level, but I am giving everything mentally and that gives me confidence.”

Tsonga will next take on top-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat lucky loser Tristan Lamasine 7-5, 7-5.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports