David Goffin advances to quarterfinals at Japan Open

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TOKYO — When it comes to the Japan Open, David Goffin is impressive. And that bodes well for his chances at next year’s Olympics.

The third-seeded Belgian, who reached the final in both of his previous appearances at the tournament in Tokyo, advanced to the quarterfinals Thursday by beating Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2).

“I tried to break him during the match but I didn’t. But I served really well, we were both really solid on our service games,” Goffin said. “It was 6-1 in both tiebreaks. In the first one I could have won it earlier but it was 6-5. Then I had another good tiebreak in the second so I’m happy with my performance and it was a good fight.”

Goffin is the only former champion in the draw. He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the 2016 final before defeating Adrian Mannarino for the title in 2017.

Goffin won 77 percent of his first serves and saved both break points he faced. He is now 11-1 in Tokyo and said he feels right at home at the venue that will be used for next year’s Olympics.

“I’m happy the Olympics are here in Tokyo because it’s a city that I like,” Goffin said. “I’m sure it will be different in July and August with the heat and humidity but I like the conditions here, I have some good wins here, so maybe next year will be a good opportunity to get some wins here.”

Goffin will next face Hyeon Chung.

Chung beat Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, hitting 11 aces and winning 90% of his first-serve points and 53% of his return points in the third set.

Also, John Millman beat Lloyd Harris 6-3, 6-2 and will next face Taro Daniel, who defeated Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-6 (3).

“I really wanted to reduce those unforced errors, make Lloyd have to work for every single point and try to neutralize that serve, because we know it’s a cannon,” Millman said.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.