Hurkacz wears down Medvedev in Miami, denies him No. 1 ranking

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It was midway through the second set and Daniil Medvedev was standing several feet behind the baseline, hand propped on one of his knees, his sweat turning his dark blue shirt several shades darker as he tried to catch his breath.

Hubert Hurkacz, on the other side at that moment, looked like he was having a day at the beach.

He won’t be No. 1 in the world when the Miami Open is over. He made sure Medvedev won’t be, either. Hurkacz, seeded eighth, moved two wins away from defending his Miami title by wearing down the top-seeded Medvedev 7-6 (7), 6-3 in a men’s quarterfinal.

“I was returning pretty well, I was putting some pressure on his serves and that was helping my game,” Hurkacz said. “I was able to get some free points on my serve and that was pretty big.”

Had Medvedev prevailed, he would have overtaken Novak Djokovic and returned to No. 1 in the world rankings.

Instead, the Russian will stay No. 2 in the world and find out who wins the Miami title like everyone else. Hurkacz, who is from Poland, will next meet either No. 14 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain or unseeded Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the semifinals. Kecmanovic and Alcaraz play in the last quarterfinal.

The other semifinal pits sixth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway against unseeded Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

Hurkacz has played Medvedev four times, and Medvedev has been ranked No. 2 in the world in each of those meetings – which they’ve now split. Hurkacz improved to 14-5 this year, and his record in Miami is 12-1 all-time.

“Coming here is so much fun,” Hurkacz said.

The women’s semifinals saw unseeded Naomi Osaka facing No. 22 seed Belinda Bencic and No. 16 Jessica Pegula taking on No. 2 Iga Swiatek – who will replace the now-retired Ashleigh Barty as No. 1 in the world.

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.