Medvedev reaches sixth consecutive final at Shanghai Masters

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SHANGHAI — Third seed Daniil Medvedev flexed his muscles at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday to reach a sixth consecutive tournament final.

The confident Russian, through to his ninth final of the year, outlasted sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 7-6 (5), 7-5.�

Medvedev has won a tour-best 58 matches this season, 43 in straight sets. He has yet to drop a set this week.

Fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany now stands between Medvedev winning his seventh career title and third of this year.

Zverev ended 11th-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini’s run by taking their semifinal 6-3, 6-4, ending the match on an ace, one of 11 he had.

“This was a much different match than playing against Roger (Federer yesterday),” Zverev said. “I take a lot of positives from this into the final tomorrow.”

Medvedev has lost to Zverev all four times they have played, though none of the contests took place this year.�

“He’s different this year,” Zverev said. “The last few months he’s probably the best player in the world. He’s definitely playing the best tennis of his life.”

The younger generation took over the semifinals. Medvedev and Berrettini are 23, Tsitsipas is 21 and Zverev is 22.�

It is the first time an ATP Masters 1000-level tournament has had four semifinalists 23 and under since Carlos Moya (22), Mariano Zabaleta (21), Nicolas Lapentti (22) and Marcelo Rios (23) reached the last four in Hamburg in 1999.

Medvedev is 28-3 in matches played since the summer hard court swing started after Wimbledon.�

Of the six finals he has now reached in that period, he has won two titles, in Cincinnati and St. Petersburg. He also made his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.�

Shapovalov beats Johnson in straight sets at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Denis Shapovalov put up a near-perfect serving performance to beat Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (3) at the Japan Open.

The seventh-seeded Canadian conceded only one point on his first serve and had 11 aces. Shapovalov, who lost in the semifinals four years ago, will next take on Japanese qualifier Rio Noguchi for a place in the quarterfinals.

“(This was) definitely one of my best serving matches,” Shapovalov said. “I kind of felt like I needed to against Steve . I’m very happy with my serving performance today and hopefully I can keep it up throughout the week.”

Also, Miomir Kecmanovic came back to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2, and Kwon Soon-woo defeated Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

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.