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Goerges, Andreescu to meet in ASB final

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Unseeded Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu beat third-seeded Su-wei Hsieh 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the final of the ASB Classic against defending champion Julia Goerges.

After qualifying and then leaving a trail of seeded opponents in her wake, 18-year-old Andreescu, ranked 152, outplayed the 28th-ranked Hsieh to reach her first WTA Tour final.

Sevens days ago, Andreescu entered the qualifying rounds of the Classic, unheralded and hoping to get in a few matches before chancing her arm in qualifying at the Australian Open.

On Sunday she will play Goerges for a WTA Tour title after beating No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and Hsieh on her way to the final.

“I guess Auckland just brings the best out of me,” Andreescu said. “I don’t know what’s going on really.

“I think it’s really important to me to just stay in the present moment and I think I’ve been doing that this whole week and I’m beyond grateful right now.”

Andreescu’s win over Hsieh in a semifinal Saturday was her most dominant performance of the week. She beat top-seeded Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4 and sixth-seeded Williams 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-3.

On Saturday, she took charge of her match with Hsieh from the outset, producing the range of drop shots and changes of pace which have served her so well this week but playing with more obvious confidence.

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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