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Jaziri upsets top-seeded Dimitrov at Dubai Championships

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Tunisian wild-card entry Malek Jaziri earned the biggest victory of his career by stunning top-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the opening round of the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Jaziri, ranked 117th in the world, recorded his first win over a top-5 ranked player by beating the Bulgarian No. 4 in 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Fifth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France was also eliminated, losing to Croatia’s Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3. However, second-seeded Lucas Pouille avoided a similar slip-up as the Frenchman ousted Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-4, 6-4.

Jaziri saved three break points in the second game of the opening set but lost his serve in the 10th game. Dimitrov’s intensity then dropped in the second set and Jaziri broke in the 11th game before holding serve to level the match.

In the decider, Jaziri saved two more break points in the sixth game and the Bulgarian then double-faulted to give his opponent three break points in the next game. Jaziri converted the second for the decisive break.

“I was really aggressive today. I tried hard to keep the ball in, tried hard to attack him, to make a lot of variety in the game today,” Jaziri said. “I tried to keep going, kept encouraging myself by saying, `It’s OK, next game is my serve.’ It was most important is to keep winning my serve. That was the objective in the third set.”

Dimitrov refused to blame any injury, or the cold that affected him in the final loss to Roger Federer in Rotterdam recently, for his performance.

“You have days like this when you can’t really do much else. Unfortunately, I couldn’t play my game to the extent that I was looking for. My movement wasn’t good over the court. I thought I served OK for a little bit, but then I lost my rhythm again,” he said.

Jaziri will next face Dutchman Robin Haase for a place in the quarterfinals. Pouille will get a rematch against Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat him in the Marseille final last Sunday.

Federer, Del Potro, Cilic advance to Basel quarters

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BASEL, Switzerland — Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro both eased into the Swiss Indoors quarterfinals by beating French opponents in straight sets on Thursday.

The top-seeded Federer cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win over 40th-ranked Benoit Paire in 57 minutes.

Federer took his second match-point chance on Paire’s serve, approaching the net to hit a forehand crosscourt winner.

Federer has not faced a break point this week in two matches at his hometown event in Basel.

Fourth-seeded Del Potro, a two-time Basel champion, beat Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4 and stayed on course to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals lineup in London next month.

Also Thursday, Marin Cilic, the second-seeded defending champion, beat 54th-ranked Borna Coric 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to improve to 5-0 against his Croatian compatriot.

Borna Coric beats Philipp Kohlschreiber in Morocco for first tour title

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MARRAKECH, Morocco — Borna Coric of Croatia claimed his first tour title on Sunday after saving five match points to defeat German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the Grand Prix Hassan II final.

Coric, who was runner-up at the clay court tournament last year, withstood 13 aces from the third-seeded Kohlschreiber and saved six of the nine break points he faced in a hard-fought contest that lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours.

Coric saved the match points in the second set.

The 33-year-old Kohlschreiber was playing in his first final this season and chasing an eighth career title.