De Minaur beats Tiafoe to reach second successive final

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MILAN — Top-seeded Alex de Minaur beat Frances Tiafoe at the Next Gen Finals on Friday to reach his second successive final in Milan.

The Australian overcame second-seeded Tiafoe 4-2, 4-1, 0-4, 4-2 in the first semifinal of the season-ending tournament for top under-21 players.

The 20-year-old De Minaur dominated the match but had to recover from losing the third set. He sealed the victory on his first match point when Tiafoe hit a forehand into the net.

“It’s never easy playing someone like Frances. He has immense firepower and he’s never going to give up,” said De Minaur, who has lost just one of his nine matches at the Next Gen Finals.

“I didn’t have my best third set, but I was able to bounce back and come up clutch in that last game.”

De Minaur and Tiafoe are good friends on the circuit and that was shown by the American giving De Minaur a friendly slap on the head as he walked off court after the defeat.

“It’s difficult, but easier in some ways,” De Minaur said about facing a friend. “It’s easy because you know that no matter what happens on the court, you’re still going to be the best of friends. In the same manner, you’ve got to remember that you’re opponents.”

De Minaur, who is ranked No. 18, will be looking for a fourth ATP Tour title after victories this year in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai.

Italian wild card Jannik Sinner plays Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the other semifinal at this year’s event, which features a unique format where each set is first to four games.

De Minaur lost the 2018 final in Milan to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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.

Sorribes Tormo beats 2nd-seeded Trevisan at Parma Open

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PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.

Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.

Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.