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Federer wins Dubai final to join Connors in century club

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Add a century of career titles to Roger Federer’s staggering list of achievements in tennis.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion became the second male tennis player to win 100 tour-level tournament titles in the professional era when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Championships on Saturday.

Jimmy Connors is the other male player to reach the milestone, and the American ended his career on 109 titles.

By beating a player nearly half his age in just 69 minutes, the 37-year-old Federer continued his record of winning at least one title every season since his first in 2001 in Milan – when he was 19.

Eight of his victories have come in Dubai.

“It’s an absolute dream come true right now,” Federer said on the court.

As well as his record haul of Grand Slam titles, which includes a record eight wins at Wimbledon, Federer has won a record six ATP Finals titles and topped the rankings for a record 310 weeks – including 237 straight.

In a battle of the generations, Federer partially avenged his loss to the 20-year-old Tsitsipas, a rising star from Greece, in the last 16 of the Australian Open in January.

Federer broke serve in the first game and took the first set on his fourth set point.

The second set was more even, but Tsitsipas made the first big mistake in dumping an easy shot into the net to loose serve for 5-4. Federer held serve to love to join Connors in the century club.

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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