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Bianca Andreescu beats Venus Williams at ASB Classic

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu knocked off another former No. 1 on Friday, beating seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams 6-7 (1) 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semifinals at the ASB Classic.

The 18-year-old Andreescu, who is ranked 152nd in the world and had to go through qualifying to make the tournament, defeated top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

“I believe that anything is possible and tonight I think I did the impossible,” Andreescu said. “My goal was only to qualify and maybe get a couple of rounds in but now I beat a couple of top players so who knows? I believed in myself to the end. I fought and I really enjoyed myself.”

After being broken in the opening game of the second set, Andreescu reeled off 11 straight games to take control of the match.

Also, defending champion Julia Goerges saved a match point in the third set before beating Eugenie Bouchard 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

Playing with a swirling wind that made serving difficult for both players, Goerges hit seven aces and 47 winners.

“I think this was one of the toughest matches I’ve ever played and probably the toughest here in Auckland,” Goerges said. “The winds today were swirling around, coming suddenly and then gone.

“Chairs were flying around, hats, everything. But you can’t do anything about it, you just have to accept it and stay positive about it.”

Bouchard held a match point on serve at 6-5 in the final set but couldn’t convert.

Viktoria Kuzmova reached the semifinals by beating American teen Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. At 17, Anisimova is the youngest player in the top 100.

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.

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