Djokovic beats Khachanov in Dubai for second win of year

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic won his second match – and first tiebreaker – of the year when he beat Karen Khachanov 6-3, 7-6 (2) to advance to the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships.

Djokovic couldn’t defend his Australian Open title last month because he was deported from the country for not being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The 34-year-old Serb said he’s missed playing competitively.

“This is my life, this is what I’ve known to do and I still keep on going for the last 20 years almost,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview after beating his Russian opponent.

“Professional tennis is my love. I enjoy traveling, I enjoy playing, I enjoy hopefully bringing some positive emotions and memories to people that come to watch.”

Djokovic is a five-time winner at the event. He will next play Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely, who advanced by beating eighth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-4.

American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald beat Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6 (7) to set up a quarterfinal against second-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia. McDonald had upset another Russian, seventh-seeded Aslan Karatsev, in the first round.

Rublev, who won the Open 13 tournament in Marseille on Sunday, reached the quarterfinals by beating Soonwoo Kwon 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Parma Ladies Open semifinals postponed to same day as final

parma ladies open
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PARMA, Italy — The semifinals of the Parma Ladies Open have been postponed by a day and will be played shortly before Saturday’s final.

The decision was made because of persistent rain at the clay-court tournament on Friday.

Top-seeded Maria Sakkari will start on center court against Danka Kovinic at 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) on Saturday before sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan’s match against Mayar Sherif.

The final will be after 6 p.m. local time, shortly after the doubles final – with the doubles semifinals also being played earlier in the day on a different court.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).