Nadal, Federer plan to play Laver Cup in London in September

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LONDON — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both say they will play in the next edition of the Laver Cup.

Federer, who has been sidelined since July because of an injured knee, and Nadal, fresh off earning his men’s-record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, said in a statement they will represent Team Europe in London on Sept. 23-25.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back into competition later this year and Laver Cup is very much part of my plan,” said Federer, whose management company founded the competition.

Federer said Nadal messaged him last year suggesting they play doubles together again in the Laver Cup. They teamed up to win a doubles match during the first Laver Cup in 2017.

“If we’re able to possibly share the court one more time as a doubles pairing, then this would be a truly special experience for us both at this stage in our careers,” Nadal said.

This will be the fifth Laver Cup. Neither Federer nor Nadal took part in 2021.

Federer, 40, has not competed since undergoing surgery on his right knee for the third time in 1 1/2 years not long after losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on July 7. In November, he said he did not expect to be able to play at the All England Club this year and it is still uncertain when – or, truly, if – he will return to Grand Slam action.

Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic all were tied at 20 major championships until Sunday. That’s when Nadal moved ahead by coming back after dropping the opening two sets to beat Daniil Medvedev in the final at Melbourne Park.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.