Daniil Medvedev rounding into form in time as U.S. Open looms

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MASON, Ohio — Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev moved into the Western & Southern Open semifinals as he prepares for his U.S. Open title defense, beating 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz 7-6 (1), 6-3.

Medvedev, the 26-year-old Russian banned from Wimbledon for his country’s invasion of Ukraine, won the 2019 Western & Southern Open. He looked sharper Friday than he did last week in Montreal in a round-of-32 loss to Nick Kyrgios.

Medvedev will face No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals. Tsitsipas outlasted John Isner 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3.

“Sometimes, first rounds in Masters are super tough,” Medvedev said. “Like I had Kyrgios in Montreal. Every match is a test, and so far, I have been doing great here. Usually, the conditions here are quite similar to the U.S. Open, and when I do well here, I play good in the U.S. Open, so so far, it’s looking this way.”

Borna Coric will face No. 11 Cameron Norrie in the other semifinal. Coric upset ninth-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime, 6-4, 6-4 to become, at No. 152, the tournament’s second-lowest-ranked semifinalist since the start of the ATP rankings in August 1973.

Norrie edged fourth-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-4 in a match that lasted 3 hours, 3 minutes.

Unseeded American Madison Keys, also a 2019 winner in the event, advanced to the women’s semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. Keys has not dropped a set in four matches, including her upset of top-ranked Iga Swiatek in the round of 16.

Keys will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who cruised past Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-2, 6-3. The unseeded Kvitova, ranked 28th, will be Keys’ third consecutive opponent with a Grand Slam title to her credit.

“I think that’s just how tennis is,” Keys said. “We have plenty of players who are not seeded or in the low (rankings) teens who have been on a tear all year, and they are still, in my opinion, top players or they are former champions. I just don’t think that there is any easy draw, even if you’re not playing the No. 1 or 2 player.”

Sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka beat Shuai Zhang 6-4, 7-6 (1). Sabalenka willqualifier Caroline Garcia, who upset seventh-seeded Jessica Pegula, 6-1, 7-5. Garcia celebrated by running around the court with her arms stretched out like airplane wings.

Going through qualifying makes reaching the semifinals extra special for Garcia.

“It’s a lot of matches in tough conditions,” the 29-year-old Frenchwoman said. “I had to play a lot of matches back to back. It’s good for me, because it give me confidence that the hard work we are doing on court and off court is paying off, because I managed to go on court every time as easily as I can and with good feeling on my legs. So it’s very positive for my team and for myself. It’s a good accomplishment and it can give us confidence for the rest of the year.”

The eighth-ranked Pegula played with her left thigh wrapped one day after eliminating defending U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu.

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).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.