Tsitsipas beats Federer to reach London final

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LONDON — Stefanos Tsitsipas kept his nerve in the key moments to beat six-time champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday and reach the final of the season-ending ATP Finals.

Tsitsipas saved 11 of 12 break points and took advantage of an error-filled performance from Federer – who continually put his opponent under pressure only to come up short when it mattered.

The Greek player next faces defending champion Alexander Zverev or Dominic Thiem.

Tsitsipas, who is making his first appearance at the event, saved all six break points he faced in the first set. That included two at 5-3, when he needed seven set points before finally winning a marathon game.

He broke again for a 2-1 lead in the second, then saved three break points from 0-40 in the next game before Federer finally converted his fourth to level the set.

But the 21-year-old Tsitsipas broke again straight away with a forehand winner and then saved two more break points from 15-40 down when serving for the match at 5-4.

He didn’t give the 38-year-old Federer any more chances of a comeback, serving out the match with an ace.

The 17-year age gap between the two players was the largest in the history of the tournament.

For Federer, it was a surprisingly erratic performance after he played near-flawless tennis to beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets on Thursday to reach the semifinals.

He finished that match with five unforced errors – including two double-faults – but had 26 in this match.

In the first set, he only lost six points on his serve. By contrast, he won 18 points on Tsitsipas’ serve but couldn’t force a break.

Tsitsipas was coming off a three-set loss to Rafael Nadal in his last round-robin match on Friday but showed no sign of fatigue.

Reaching the final is another milestone in a breakthrough season after he also beat Federer on the way to the Australian Open semifinals.

He is now 2-2 against Federer after losing to him in the Dubai final and Basel semifinals this year.

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.