Federer reaches semis in Dubai as he chases 100th title

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Roger Federer is two matches away from his 100th career title after beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Dubai Championships semifinals.

Federer faced two set points in the tiebreaker but Fucsovics hit two forehands into the net to let the Swiss star take control. Federer then wasted an early break in the second set but broke again for a 5-4 lead before serving out the match when Fucsovics sent a forehand return wide.

Federer is looking to become the second man in the professional era to reach 100 tour-level tournament tiles, joining Jimmy Connors, who won 109. Seven of Federer’s previous 99 triumphs have come in Dubai.

He will face the winner of Borna Coric and Nikolaz Basilashvili in the semifinals.

The other semifinal will pit rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece against French veteran Gael Monfils.

Tsitispas outlasted Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (4), 6-7 (1), 6-1, while Monfils beat Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

Both Tsitsipas and Monfils are coming off tournament wins in Europe last week and have a 1-1 head-to-head record.

“We’re both serving really well,” Tsitsipas said. “We have similar game style. I guess I’m a bit more aggressive than him, but he’s much faster. I’m going to have to deal with all of that, be patient, play with passion as well, just wait for the opportunities to break him.”

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.