Doubles win keeps French hopes alive at Davis Cup final

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LILLE, France — Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert kept French hopes alive in the Davis Cup final with a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) win over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic in the doubles on Saturday.

Croatia, chasing its first Davis Cup title since 2005, headed into the second day of the final with a 2-0 lead over the defending champions after its singles players Marin Cilic and Borna Coric outplayed Jeremy Chardy and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, respectively, in straight sets and without conceding a single break of serve on the opening day.

On the indoor clay court installed at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in northern France, the script changed dramatically during a pulsating doubles match.

Dodig and Pavic had only a few chances in the first two sets. Herbert played aggressively and Mahut raised his game on important points, hitting a service winner in the fourth game of the opening set to deny Croatia’s sole break chance in that set.

The Croatian pair gradually found its rhythm and made the most of Herbert’s sudden dip of level on serve to force a fourth set. Pavic saved three match points with consecutive big serves in the 10th game but the hosts played solid tennis in the tiebreaker to prevail.

Mayar Sherif becomes first Egyptian to win WTA Tour event

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PARMA, Italy — Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian to win a WTA Tour event by beating top-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 at the Parma Ladies Open.

Besides earning her first career title, Sherif also notched her first win over a top-10 opponent.

Along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year, Sherif is raising the profile of tennis in North Africa.

The 74th-ranked Sherif actually had to win two matches on Saturday, first overcoming sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, which were postponed a day due to rain.

The seventh-ranked Sakkari beat Danka Kovinic 7-5, 6-2 in her semifinal earlier Saturday.

Parma Ladies Open semifinals postponed to same day as final

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PARMA, Italy — The semifinals of the Parma Ladies Open have been postponed by a day and will be played shortly before the final.

The decision was made because of persistent rain at the clay-court tournament.

Top-seeded Maria Sakkari will start on center court against Danka Kovinic at 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) before sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan’s match against Mayar Sherif.

The final will be after 6 p.m. local time, shortly after the doubles final – with the doubles semifinals also being played earlier in the day on a different court.