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Murray on verge of completing remarkable return at Queen’s

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LONDON — Andy Murray is on the verge of completing a remarkable return after hip surgery.

The three-time Grand Slam champion and Feliciano Lopez completed a busy Saturday at the Queen’s Club by defeating the third-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-7 to book their place in the doubles final.

Murray and Lopez had only just completed their 6-4, 7-6 (3) quarterfinal win over British duo Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski after that had been delayed by darkness the night before. Murray and Lopez were leading 6-4, 4-5 when play was suspended on Friday.

Lopez played three matches on Saturday, starting by booking his place in the singles final with a hard-fought win over Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime over three sets.

Lopez and Murray will play Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the doubles final, when Murray can complete a noteworthy week 146 days after undergoing what he hoped 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.

But talk of retirement is shelved as Murray seeks his first doubles title since 2011 when he won with his brother Jamie Murray in Tokyo.

Lopez will play Gilles Simon in the singles final first, when the Spanish veteran will become the tournament’s oldest finalist.

The 37-year-old Lopez rallied to beat the 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 in a semifinal that saw the biggest age differential in an ATP semifinal or final since the 43-year-old Ken Rosewall defeated 23-year-old American Pat Dupre to reach the Hong Kong Grand Prix final in 1977.

Lopez saved all eight break points he faced and converted two of his own to beat Auger-Aliassime in 2 hours, 16 minutes and advance to his first final since 2017, when he defeated Marin Cilic here. Then 35, he became the tournament’s oldest champion.

Auger-Aliassime hit 25 aces compared to the Spaniard’s 15 and will have to wait before cracking the top 20 in the rankings. A win would have been enough for the Canadian, who is a career-high No. 21.

Simon earlier defeated the fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3 in 2 hours, 37 minutes.

Lopez has won five of their seven meetings and all four of their matches on grass.

U.S. Open purse to surpass $57 million

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Open total purse this year is more than $57 million, the richest in tennis history.

The men’s and women’s singles champion will each receive $3.85 million, and the men’s and women’s doubles champion teams will get $740,000. Those are both the highest payouts in U.S. Open history.

The U.S. Tennis Association said Thursday it worked with the ATP and WTA Tours to determine specific round-by-round prize money levels, and that the payouts for each round are all Grand Slam tournament records.

The payouts start at $58,000 for the first round of singles.

The USTA adds that it will make a payment of $500,000 to each tour to support the ATP and WTA Tour player programs, including pension.

The final major of the year will be played Aug. 26 through Sept. 8.

Venus Williams to play San Jose for second straight year

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Venus Williams has committed to play in San Jose later this month, her second straight appearance in the event.

She will play her opening match of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in the night session July 30 after reaching the 2018 quarterfinals. The seven-time Grand Slam champion is in the field for the 15th time, though the tournament moved from Stanford to San Jose last year.

The 39-year-old Williams will be a wild-card entry in the tournament.