Medvedev closes in on No. 1 ranking; Osaka to Miami semis

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Daniil Medvedev is one win away from returning to No. 1. And Naomi Osaka is two wins away from being a tournament champion again.

Shaking off a slow start, the top-seeded Medvedev reached the quarterfinals of the Miami Open by defeating Jenson Brooksby of the U.S. 7-5, 6-1.

Medvedev has yet to drop a set in his three Miami matches. He’ll face No. 8 seed and defending Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz in the quarters – and if Medvedev prevails there, he’ll be assured of supplanting Novak Djokovic and returning to No. 1 in the world.

“I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to say, `Yeah, I’m the best,”‘ Medvedev said.

The computer might say it for him soon enough. The Russian held the No. 1 ranking briefly, lost it to Djokovic again about a week ago and is now closing in on capturing it again.

Brooksby jumped out to an immediate lead, breaking Medvedev’s first service game and wound up serving for the first set – two points away at 5-4, 30-15.

It was all Medvedev from there.

Medvedev won 11 of the remaining 13 points in the set, breaking Brooksby to tie it up, holding at love for 6-5 and then breaking again to finish off the 7-5 win. The second set was never in doubt, with Medvedev running out to a 3-0 lead and winning 16 of the 19 points played on his serve.

“Jenson has the potential to be a top player,” Medvedev said. “When you say top, you never know – No. 1, No. 3 or No. 10 – but he’s a really good player and I think he’s playing better than his ranking.”

Hurkacz prevailed over Harris 7-6 (3), 6-2 and improved to 11-1 all-time in Miami.

No. 2 Alexander Zverev of Germany and No. 6 Casper Ruud of Norway will meet in another quarterfinal. Zverev beat Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-4, 6-4, while Ruud ousted 10th-seeded Cameron Norrie of Britain 6-3, 6-4.

No. 9 Jannik Sinner of Italy also advanced, beating Nick Kyrgios of Australia 7-6 (3), 6-3. Kyrgios was docked a point, and then a game, for outbursts.

Sinner will play Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina in the quarterfinals. Cerundolo beat No. 28 Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-2 on Tuesday – avenging Tiafoe’s win in the third round over his brother, Juan Manuel Cerundolo.

And the fourth men’s quarterfinal will see No. 14 Carlos Alcaraz against unseeded Miomir Kecmanovic – both of whom pulled off upsets Tuesday. Alcaraz beat No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3. Kecmanovic ousted No. 13 Taylor Fritz in the nightcap, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

In women’s quarterfinal play, the unseeded Osaka – who hasn’t won a tournament since the 2021 Australian Open – made quick work of No. 9 Danielle Collins of the U.S. The former world No. 1 needed only an hour to overpower Collins 6-2, 6-1 and make the Miami semifinals for the first time.

“This is my childhood tournament and I would love to win here,” said Osaka, who spent part of her youth living in South Florida. “I’ve got to take it one round at a time.”

Collins – who has been dealing with neck pain – needed a medical timeout during the match.

“She’s a fighter,” Osaka said. “She fought through the match.”

Next up for Osaka: No. 22 Belinda Bencic, who, like Osaka, continued her roll through the tournament.

Bencic hasn’t faced a seeded player yet and hasn’t come close to dropping a set, making the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Daria Saville.

Bencic has won 48 of the 65 games she’s played in the tournament.

“I’m really happy I reached a great result here,” Bencic said. “Everything else is a bonus.”

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

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The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.