Djokovic advances, Rublev saves five match points in Dubai win

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Top-ranked Novak Djokovic eased into the quarterfinals at the Dubai Championships by beating Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 6-3.

Djokovic extended his winning streak to 19 matches in tidy fashion a day after being pushed to a third-set tiebreaker by 130th-ranked Tomas Machac.

“Yesterday, I really had to work hard to get a win. Tonight… I was sharp,” Djokovic said.

The 35-year-old Serb broke the 39th-ranked Griekspoor four times to remain unbeaten this season. It was Djokovic’s second match since winning his 10th Australian Open title.

The five-time Dubai champion had taken a few weeks off after overcoming a hamstring problem in Australia to win his record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic called his 26-year-old Dutch opponent “one of the most improved players” on the tour.

“The new generations are coming, but I’m not afraid,” a smiling Djokovic said in his on-court interview.

Djokovic will next face Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Pavel Kotov 7-5, 6-1.

Also Wednesday, defending champion Andrey Rublev produced a 1-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) comeback win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Russian saved five match points in the second-set tiebreaker. He won seven straight points after going down 1-6.

“In my head … the match was done,” the second-seeded Rublev said at a press conference.

It’s the third time this season he has saved match points en route to victory.

“I have no words. These matches, when it’s over and somehow you win them it’s always special,” he said.

Davidovich Fokina fell behind 1-6 in the third-set tiebreaker and saved two match points before Rublev finished him off on the third try.

Rublev will play Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarterfinals.

The third-seeded Daniil Medvedev used an underarm serve to close out his 6-4, 6-2 victory over Alexander Bublik, who frequently uses the tactic including earlier in the match. The 27-year-old Russian will next play the 20th-ranked Borna Coric.

Lorenzo Sonego upset fourth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (4), 6-4 and will face Alexander Zverev in the final eight. Zverev beat qualifier Christopher O’Connell 7-5, 6-4.

Elena Rybakina hits 10 aces in Miami for 12th straight win

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina extended her winning streak to 12 matches by delivering 10 aces – her fourth consecutive outing with at least that many – in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 25th-seeded Martina Trevisan in the Miami Open quarterfinals.

Rybakina has 46 aces through four matches at the hard-court tournament in Florida and a WTA-leading 201 this season.

The 23-year-old, who represents Kazakhstan, improved to 20-4 in 2023, including a run to the Australian Open final in January and a title at Indian Wells, California, last week.

She is trying to become only the fifth player to win the women’s trophies at Indian Wells and Miami in the same season. Top-ranked Iga Swiatek did it a year ago; she withdrew from Miami this time because of a rib injury.

“Of course it would be amazing to achieve something like that,” the 10th-seeded Rybakina said about the prospect of completing what’s known as the Sunshine Double, “but it’s still far away.”

So far in Rybakina’s career, 13 of her 18 semifinal appearances have come on hard courts. She will face No. 3 Jessica Pegula for a berth in the final after the American fought off two match points and outlasted No. 27 Anastasia Potapova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a match that ended just before 1:30 a.m. after play had been delayed by rain.

“I haven’t been that physically tired in just a really long time,” Pegula said. “Just the humidity was taking so much out of me, and I haven’t been able to play in humidity like that in a while. It was just really tough, so really, it was just pure will.”

Trevisan reached the French Open semifinals in 2022.

In fourth-round men’s action Tuesday, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-4 by No. 14 Karen Khachanov, while defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner all beat seeded opponents in straight sets.

Alcaraz, who returned to No. 1 in the ATP rankings last week, got past Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting against Fritz, the top-ranked American man and seeded ninth in Miami.

Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune. That put Fritz into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances in Miami – and his first matchup against Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain who won the U.S. Open in September for his first Grand Slam title.

“I’m really excited for it,” Fritz said. “I think that a lot of people are really excited for that, too.”

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori, a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 winner against No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp.

No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, forced to start late and off his scheduled court after the rain, beat Quentin Halys 6-4, 6-2. He will face American Christopher Eubanks, who edged Adrian Mannarino in a pair of tiebreakers.

Khachanov will play Francisco Cerundolo, a semifinalist in Miami last year, in the other men’s quarterfinal.

Fritz, Sinner reach Miami Open quarterfinals with 2-set wins

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner beat seeded opponents in straight sets at the Miami Open to move into the quarterfinals.

No. 9 Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune.

That put Fritz, the highest-ranked American man, into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances at the hard-court tournament.

He will face either No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz or Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul next. Alcaraz is the defending champion in Miami.

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp or unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori.