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Keys, Collins among U.S. Fed Cup team vs Australia

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — No. 17 Madison Keys and No. 23 Danielle Collins will lead the U.S. Fed Cup team against Australia next month.

Sofia Kenin and Nicole Melichar will join them on the team announced Wednesday by the U.S. Tennis Association and team captain Kathy Rinaldi. The 25-year-old Collins recently reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open.

The first round of the World Group will be held Feb. 9-10 in Asheville, North Carolina.

The U.S. will face No. 14 Ashleigh Barty and No. 46 Daria Gavrilova, along with Priscilla Hon, Kimberley Birrell and Astra Sharma on a hard court at U.S. Cellular Center. The 22-year-old Barty is coming off a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open.

The U.S. is 9-5 all-time vs. the Aussies. The Americans won their last meeting in the 2016 World Group Playoff.

The winner will face Germany or Belarus in the semifinals on April 20-21.

Mertens upsets Halep in Qatar Open final

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DOHA, Qatar – Unseeded Elise Mertens came from a set and a break down to beat recent No. 1 Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Qatar Open final and capture the biggest title of her career on Saturday.

Halep led 6-3, 2-0, then lost a service game for a third time to see the second set back on serve. Mertens continued to pressure, missing two more break chances in the seventh game but finally breaking – to love – in the ninth. The set was the first Mertens took from Halep in three matchups.

Mertens broke again to start the third set, Halep leveled at 2-2, but Mertens finished stronger and won her fifth career title.

The Belgian beat two other top-10 players this week, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber.

Halep’s first final appearance since August guaranteed she will rise one spot to No. 2 in the rankings on Monday.

Thiem advances at Argentina Open; Ferrer out

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Top-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem of Austria advanced to the Argentina Open quarterfinals Thursday, beating Germany’s Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 6-4.

Thiem will face Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Fourth-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina beat Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to set up a match against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Ramos-Vinolas beat compatriot David Ferrer 3-6, 7-6 (9), 6-3.

Ferrer promised to retire in May at the Madrid Open. The participation in the Buenos Aires tournament is one of the last of the 36-year-old’s career.