Zverev joins Djokovic, Medvedev in semifinals at ATP Finals

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TURIN, Italy — The top three players have advanced to the semifinals at the ATP Finals.

Third-ranked Alexander Zverev joined No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the last four at the season-ending event for the top eight players by beating Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4.

Having qualified second in his group behind Medvedev, Zverev’s semifinal opponent will be Djokovic, who won the other group.

Medvedev’s semifinal opponent will be determined on Friday when Andrey Rublev meets Casper Ruud on the final day of round-robin play.

Zverev lost to Djokovic at the Australian Open and U.S. Open this year but beat the Serb at the Tokyo Olympics en route to the gold medal.

“We played basically every single big event this year on hard court against each other,” Zverev said. “So it’s only right that we play each other here as well. … It’s always close when we play each other, so I’m looking forward to hopefully another tough one.”

Zverev, the 2018 champion at the finals, didn’t face a single break point against Hurkacz, a first-time qualifier.

Both players served 11 aces amid quick conditions inside the Pala Alpitour.

“There is going to be a lot more long rallies (against Djokovic),” Zverev said. “I think we are going to run a lot more. I think we are going to suffer, in a way, a lot more, as well.

“Every single match that we played we both needed to be at our best. One or two points decided the matches. I expect no different here.”

Zverev’s victory meant that Medvedev’s final group match later against Jannik Sinner – an alternate who replaced the injured Matteo Berrettini – was largely meaningless. Still, Medvedev won 6-0, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8) – saving two match points in the third-set tiebreaker.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.

Ruud loses, Kyrgios wins at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Top-seeded Casper Ruud lost and Nick Kyrgios won at the Japan Open.

Ruud, who reached the final at both the French Open and the U.S. Open this year, lost to Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3.

Kyrgios, who lost in the Wimbledon final, defeated Tseng Chun-hsin 6-3, 6-1 to reach the round of 16. He will next face Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Sho Shimabukuro 7-6 (2), 6-2.

The victory for Kyrgios came on the same day that his lawyer asked an Australian court to dismiss assault charges against him on mental health grounds. Magistrate Glenn Theakston adjourned the case until Feb. 3.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios will appear in court in person on that date for the first time since he was charged by police by summons in July.

The common assault charge, which has a potential maximum sentence of two years in prison, relates to an incident in January 2021 that was reported to local police last December. The charge reportedly relates to an incident involving his former girlfriend.