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Federer wins to put Switzerland in Hopman Cup final

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PERTH, Australia — Roger Federer relied on his trusted serve to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) Thursday and give defending champion Switzerland a spot in the Hopman Cup final.

The victory assured Switzerland’s advancement, but Greece claimed a consolation 2-1 victory when Maria Sakkari beat Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4 in women’s singles.

Greece also won the mixed doubles 4-3 (4), 2-4, 4-3 (3) in the Fast4 format.

The 37-year-old Federer’s precision went up against Tsitsipas’ power in the first set of the men’s singles match, and not much separated the two. Eight games were held at love.

“There was very little unforced errors and it was really good quality tennis,” Federer said. “It could have easily gone three sets. For me it is about maintaining a good level of play and I am happy with my game.”

Federer will be going for a record third Hopman Cup title when the Swiss team faces either host Australia or Germany in Saturday’s final.

“I will be excited to watch it tomorrow and see who we play in the final,” Federer said. “This format lends itself to some exciting tennis.”

Federer lost only seven games in wins over Cameron Norrie and Frances Tiafoe but found it tougher in his first match against Tsitsipas.

Federer trailed 4-1 in the first tiebreaker before reeling off consecutive forehand winners to claw back into it. Tsitsipas double-faulted at 5-5 and Federer then won the set with an ace.

The serve continued to dictate play until Federer had break points in the ninth and 11th games but was unable to convert. The 23-time Grand Slam champion, however, raised his game in the tiebreaker with a perfect drop shot to take a 6-3 lead. He closed it out shortly after.

Federer’s appearances at the past two Hopman Cups were followed by Australian Open titles.

Earlier, Serena Williams beat Katie Boulter 6-1, 7-6 (2) to complete an unbeaten Hopman Cup campaign in singles. With daughter Alexis Olympia in attendance, Williams was made to work in the second set before prevailing.

The winless United States, however, lost to Britain 2-1. Norrie upset Tiafoe 7-6 (4), 6-0 in men’s singles and Britain won the mixed doubles 3-4 (2), 4-3 (4), 4-1.

The 37-year-old Williams’ hopes for a record third Hopman Cup title ended when the United States was eliminated after losses to Greece and Switzerland.

Williams has slowly built momentum in her first tournament since the U.S. Open in September as she eyes a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne.

“It was definitely good to play three singles matches here, and the mixed (doubles),” Williams said on-court after her singles match.

The American did not attend a news conference after the match.

Tsitsipas is youngest man in Slam SFs since ’07

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The Latest on Tuesday at the Australian Open (all times local):

4 p.m.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the youngest man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since 2007 after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) at the Australian Open to follow up on his stunning upset of Roger Federer.

Tsitsipas is the first player from Greece to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam, and at 20 years, 168 days, is the youngest man to make the semifinals at a major since Novak Djokovic at the 2007 U.S. Open. He’s the youngest man to do so in Australia since Andy Roddick in 2003.

The No. 14-seeded Tsitsipas will play either 17-time major winner Rafael Nadal or first-time quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe.

“I’m just living the dream,” said Tsitsipas, who had beaten six-time Australian Open winner Federer in the fourth round.

The No. 22-seeded Bautista Agut advanced the hard way, spending more than 14 hours on court through his first four rounds. He had three five-setters starting with a victory over five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray, followed by another against Australian John Millman and, after advancing through the third round in straight sets, his fourth-round win over 2018 finalist Marin Cilic went the distance as well.

2 p.m.

Li Na saw much of herself in a young player on the women’s tour early last year.

The two-time Grand Slam champion didn’t hesitate to anoint Japan’s Naomi Osaka as the player with a bright future.

So, Li, to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July along with fellow former Australian Open champions Mary Pierce and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, was not surprised when Osaka won the 2018 U.S. Open and is already a quarterfinalist at Melbourne Park this time.

Li was a trailblazer in women’s tennis, becoming the first player from China to win a WTA title – in 2004 – and the first from Asia to win a Grand Slam singles title when she won the 2011 French Open. She also won the Australian Open in 2014 after losing two previous finals here.

“When I first saw Naomi Osaka play, I thought she was really calm, very mature on court. She was so focused on her game itself, no pressure, point by point. That quality and the player’s focus really impressed,” she said through a Chinese translator.

1:45 p.m.

Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai have combined for an upset 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) women’s doubles quarterfinal win over top-ranked Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova on Day 9 at the Australian Open.

Krejcikova and Siniakova won the French Open and Wimbledon doubles titles last year and reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open to finish 2018 with the No. 1 ranking.

“They’re a great team – won 2 Slams last year, so we did well,” Stosur said. “We came back from a break in both sets – looking forward to tomorrow.”

Stosur, who had a career high No. 4 ranking in singles and won 2011 U.S. Open title, has two major women’s doubles titles but lost the only final she reached at Melbourne Park in 2006.

“It would be amazing,” Stosur said of winning at home. “I guess we’re close now, in the semis. It only gets harder here.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas was playing Roberto Bautista Agut in the first of the singles quarterfinals on Tuesday, and 17-time major winner Rafael Nadal was playing the last night match on Rod Laver Arena against Frances Tiafoe.

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

Sore, tired Djokovic expects to be OK for QFs

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Monday at the Australian Open (all times local):

2 a.m.

Record-chasing Novak Djokovic is feeling sore and tired following his late-finishing win over Daniil Medvedev, but thinks he will be OK for his Australian Open quarterfinal match against Kei Nishikori.

“I didn’t feel so great, you know, in the last 20 minutes of the match or so,” Djokovic, aiming for a record seventh men’s title in Australia, said after overcoming a couple of tumbles and a series of energy-sapping baseline exchanges in the 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3 win.

Immediately after the match, he said in a TV interview that he had never felt fresher.

At a later news conference, he was more circumspect about his preparation for Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

“It was not the fall. It was not particularly the fall. It was just, you know, a little bit of fatigue, a little bit of back,” he said. “Nothing major. But there are a couple of things that have surfaced, so to say, you know, after a match like this.

“We’ll see tomorrow how the body reacts, but I’m confident I can recover and I can be ready for next one.”