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Federer reaches Dubai quarterfinals; Nishikori eliminated

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Roger Federer maintained his perfect record against Fernando Verdasco to reach the Dubai Championships quarterfinals on Wednesday, while top-seeded Kei Nishikori was eliminated.

Federer converted his first match point when Verdasco sent a forehand wide, finishing off a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win that improved his record against the Spaniard to 7-0. Nishikori, though, lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

This was win No. 50 for Federer in Dubai, having won the tournament seven times.

“It’s a big number,” the 37-year-old Federer said when told it was his 50th win. “I’m not sure if I’m going to get to 100. Let’s put it that way.”

He’s only three matches away from a 100th tournament title, though, and will next face Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 6-2.

Federer has only played Fucsovics once, at last year’s Australian Open, but has trained with him in Zurich and said he’s been impressed with the Hungarian’s game.

“I know Marton quite well actually,” Federer said. “He’s improved. He likes the fast surfaces. He likes to play up in the court. He has the power when required. I think it’s going to be definitely a match that’s going to test me tomorrow.”

The second-seeded Federer is now an even bigger favorite for the title with Nishikori out. It was Hurkacz’s first win against top-10 ranked player and earned him a place in his first ATP tour quarterfinal.

“It’s a huge win for me,” Hurkacz said. “It gives me huge confidence. I’m going to try to keep going forward.”

Hurkacz converted six of his seven break points, including one when Nishikori was serving for the first set at 5-4. He also broke for a 3-1 lead in the final set with a backhand down the line and again in the last game when the Japanese player hit a forehand long.

“He played well today,” Nishikori said. “I didn’t serve well when I wanted to. It happens. That cost me some important points. I think he really played well in the important games.”

Hurkacz will next play fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who eased past Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov 6-3, 6-1 in less than an hour. Tsitsipas beat Hurkacz last week in Marseille en route to his second career title.

Gael Monfils also advanced by knocking out Cypriot wild-card entry Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2 and will face Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis, who ousted Denis Kudla of the United States 6-4, 6-1.

Murray completes fairytale return, Lopez claims 2 titles

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LONDON (AP) Andy Murray completed a fairytale return from hip surgery by winning the Queen’s Club doubles title with Feliciano Lopez, who ended Sunday with two titles after earlier winning the singles title as well.

The Spaniard is the first man to win both titles at the grass-court tournament in London since Mark Philippoussis in 1997.

Murray spent five months away from the sport until this week. He and Lopez defeated Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7-6 (6), 5-7, 10-5 in the doubles final – not long after Lopez outlasted Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2) in the singles.

Murray capped a remarkable week 146 days after undergoing what he hopes was career-saving hip surgery. In January he had said he was planning to retire after Wimbledon because of the severe pain he felt on a daily basis.

The three-time Grand Slam champion is approaching Wimbledon, which starts July 1, full of confidence after playing freely and without pain as he secured his first doubles title since winning with his brother Jamie Murray in Tokyo in 2011. Murray won’t play singles at Wimbledon but has already confirmed that Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert will partner him in the men’s doubles.

Murray and Lopez hadn’t played together in a tournament before beating top-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah on Thursday. They completed their darkness-delayed quarterfinal win over British duo Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski on Saturday, right before their semifinal win over Henri Kontinen and John Peers.

Lopez, who had been forced to play in three matches on Saturday including his singles semifinal, played almost 5 hours of tennis altogether on Sunday. He reaffirmed his status as the tournament’s oldest winner at age 37 with the singles title.

The veteran Spaniard was already its oldest winner when he took the title in 2017.

Lopez was playing his first final since defeating Marin Cilic in the decider two years ago and was made to work hard by the 34-year-old Simon.

Lopez saved all but one of the break points he faced and converted three of his 13 opportunities to prevail in 2 hours, 49 minutes. Lopez had won five of their previous seven meetings and all four on grass.

Lopez is the first wild card to claim the title since Pete Sampras defeated Tim Henman to win in 1999. He would have been the oldest player to win a tour-level title since the 43-year-old Ken Rosewall won the Hong Kong Grand Prix final in 1977, but Roger Federer beat him to that accolade after winning his 10th Halle Open title earlier Sunday. Federer is a month older than Lopez.

Barty beats Goerges in Birmingham final to take No. 1 spot

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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Ashleigh Barty defeated Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5 to win the Birmingham Classic title on Sunday, a victory that ensures the Australian will be No. 1 in the rankings on Monday.

The 23-year-old Barty, who lost the final to Petra Kvitova in 2017, did not drop a set all week at the grass-court tournament, and she fought back from being 4-5 down in the second set to beat the German in 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Goerges fought back tears as she congratulated her friend on taking top spot in the rankings ahead of Wimbledon, which starts July 1.

French Open champion Barty, currently ranked No. 2, will take over from Naomi Osaka, who lost 6-2, 6-3 loss to Yulia Putintseva in the second round on Thursday.

Barty is only the second Australian woman to hold the top spot after Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

Barty, who extended her winning streak to 11 matches, and Goerges reached the semifinals in doubles together before Barty withdrew from their semifinal with a right arm injury.