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Baghdatis beats top-seeded Pouille at Open Sud de France

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MONTPELLIER, France — Veteran Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus beat top-seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille 7-6 (2), 6-7 (3), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Open Sud de France quarterfinals.

Baghdatis, a 2006 Australian Open finalist, served for the match at 5-3 in the second set. But Pouille, who lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Novak Djokovic at this year’s Australian Open, fought back to take it into a third set.

The 33-year-old Baghdatis next faces Radu Albot of Romania, who labored into the last eight by beating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4.

Earlier, third-seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada used his strong serve to beat Marcel Granollers 6-4, 7-6 (1).

The 19-year-old wild-card entry did not face break point and won 30 of his 33 first-serve points against the Spanish veteran.

Shapovalov was one of only two players to take a set from Djokovic at last month’s Australian Open, but he has yet to win a career title on the ATP Tour.

He next faces seventh-seeded Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who rallied to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win against Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.

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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