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Djokovic wins World Sportsman of the Year at Laureus World Sports Awards

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MONACO¬† — Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn and the France national soccer team were among the winners at the Laureus World Sports Awards, with Woods claiming the Comeback Award 19 years after he was first recognized.

Djokovic matched Usain Bolt’s record by being named World Sportsman of the Year for the fourth time after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He also earned the honor in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Woods, who won the inaugural World Sportsman of the Year award in 2000, won the Tour Championship in September for his 80th PGA Tour title and his first since August 2013.

Vonn, who retired during the recent Alpine skiing world championships , took home the Spirit of Sport Award, which is given to an athlete for relentless dedication to his or her career, and France was honored for winning the World Cup in July.

Simone Biles was named World Sportswoman of the Year for winning four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the gymnastics world championships. Naomi Osaka won the Breakthrough Award for winning the U.S. Open and Chloe Kim was named the World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

The awards were given in recognition of outstanding sports performance in 2018.

Novak Djokovic closes in on semifinals at ATP Finals

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LONDON — Novak Djokovic won his second straight match at the ATP Finals, beating Alexander Zverev on Wednesday to close in on a spot in the semifinals.

The five-time champion from Serbia saved two break points at 4-4 in the opening set and then broke Zverev in the following game to take the lead.

Zverev won only one more game.

The only result from Wednesday’s late match that can prevent Djokovic from advancing would be a straight-set victory for Marin Cilic over John Isner.

After defeating Cilic in his opening match, Zverev still has a chance to become the first German since 2003 to advance to the semifinals of the season-ending competition.

The top-ranked Djokovic and third-seeded Zverev engaged in a number of thrilling exchanges early on, but it wasn’t until the ninth game that Zverev earned the first break point of the match, aided by a friendly net cord. Djokovic saved it with a service winner but then double-faulted to give the 21-year-old another opportunity.

Zverev played a great defensive forehand slice to set up a chance to finish the point with a backhand lob, but his attempt drifted just wide and Djokovic held on for 5-4.

Zverev then made a spate of errors in the next game to bring up set point for Djokovic, and double-faulted to hand the Serb the lead.

The 21-year-old Zverev rallied from 0-30 down in his next service game to hold, but that was the last of his resistance.

Djokovic broke for a 3-1 lead and then lost just one more point as he remained on track to equal Roger Federer’s six titles at the tournament.

Victory at the O2 Arena would cap a remarkable season for Djokovic, who has already secured the year-end No. 1 ranking after dropping as low as 22nd in June.

The 31-year-old ended a two-year Grand Slam title drought by winning Wimbledon in July before collecting his 14th major trophy at the U.S. Open two months later.

Djokovic too hot for Chardy at Shanghai Masters

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SHANGHAI — Novak Djokovic, the hottest player on the men’s tour in the second half of the year, never faced a break point on serve in putting away Jeremy Chardy of France at the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday.

Djokovic’s second-round victory improved his perfect record against the 41st-ranked Chardy to 12-0 in matches played, and 28-0 in sets won.

“I’m very grateful to play on a high level,” Djokovic said. “I’m very close to my best.”

The Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, Djokovic is hoping to win a record fourth Shanghai title this week.

Fifth-seeded Marin Cilic became the highest seed toppled in Shanghai when 48th-ranked Nicolas Jarry of Chile rebounded for a second-round win.

Cilic served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but couldn’t. Jarry won the next two games to advance to the third round.

Australian Matthew Ebden upset sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem in a nearly three-hour encounter.

The win over the seventh-ranked Thiem is the best of the 51st-ranked Ebden’s career.

Thiem has played in Shanghai four times and has never advanced to the third round.

A couple of champions from last weekend also progressed.

Nikoloz Basilashvili, who downed Juan Martin del Potro for the China Open title on Sunday, won his sixth straight match after beating Denis Shapovalov to open his Shanghai account.

Up to a career-high ranking of 23, Basilashvili never faced a break point on his serve. The Georgian earned his first win in Shanghai after qualifying in 2015 and 2017.

Daniil Medvedev, who upset Kei Nishikori to win the Japan Open on Sunday, struggled but beat Chinese wild card Zhang Ze.

Also, French qualifier Benoit Paire upset 15th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta.