Tennis

Roger Federer, of Switzerland, celebrates his victory over Roberto Bautista Agut, of Spain, during quarterfinal play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, Friday Aug. 11, 2017, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)(Photo: The Associated Press)

Tennis Roundup: Federer, Canadian teen Shapovalov reach semis in Montreal

MONTREAL (AP) — Roger Federer advanced to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup and was joined later Friday by Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who followed his upset of Rafael Nadal with another three-set victory.

The 18-year-old left-hander from Richmond Hill, Ontario beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will face fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany on Saturday.

Shapovalov beat 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round and then knocked off the top-seeded Nadal in a third-set tiebreaker on Thursday in the round of 16.

He broke service for a 2-1 lead in the third set Friday only to hand it back in the next game, but a roar went up when Mannarino wasted a chance to put away a game point and Shapovalov jumped on the chance to break for a 5-4 lead. He leapt in the air as he closed out the match.

“I’ve been against the wall a couple times this week and I’m very happy I’ve come out several times just playing really good tennis in those situations,” Shapovalov said. “I think it really shows how I’ve improved mentally, along with just finding my game at the right moments.”

After facing a run of veterans, he will be up against the 20-year-old Zverev, who beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa 7-5, 6-4.

The second-seeded Federer continued his mastery over 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain with a 6-4, 6-4 victory. The 36-year-old Swiss will next face unseeded Dutchman Robin Haase, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

Federer has won all seven career matches and taken all 16 sets against the 29-year-old Bautista Agut.

He is 1-0 against Haase after a straight-sets win in Davis Cup play in 2012.

Federer said he knows Haase well from serving with him on the ATP player council and from practicing together.

“I’m looking forward to a tough match because he can serve very well and he mixes up his tactics a lot,” Federer said. “Sometimes he tends to just roll the ball in and use the big serve, or he uses a slice a lot and comes in.

“So I don’t quite know with Robin what I’m going to get. But, as I have practiced with him quite a bit, maybe I am better prepared than if I would have never hit with him before.”

Federer broke serve for a 5-4 lead in the first set and broke again for 2-1 in the second en route to the victory in a little more than an hour. Federer was coming off a three-set win over another Spaniard, David Ferrer, against whom he is 17-0.

“My game plan worked better against Bautista Agut than against Ferrer,” he said. “I believe it’s because I was more aggressive coming to the net.”

Haase, who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, reached his first career Masters Series semifinal. The 30-year-old Haase, back to 52nd in the world after battling injuries for much of his career, improved to 5-0 against 36th-ranked Schwartzman.

“I played a lot of good matches, especially against Dimitrov,” said Haase. “It’s tough to come back and play that same level.

“I didn’t, but I managed to win because I kept fighting.”

___

Wozniacki ousts top-seeded Pliskova

TORONTO (AP) — Caroline Wozniacki made some changes this week to try to change her fortune in a city that has not been kind on the tennis front.

Personal driver? Not needed this time around. Same hotel as before? Switch that booking.

Wozniacki is not only winning in Toronto for the first time in her career, she’s doing it against the world’s best.

The 27-year-old from Denmark outlasted top-ranked Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in a rain-delayed quarterfinal on Friday at the Rogers Cup.

The match ended just over five hours after the players took to the court in the early afternoon for the pregame warmup. The start was delayed for more than two hours and three more weather interruptions followed in the first set alone.

Actual on-court match time was 2 hours, 56 minutes, but it felt much longer.

“I just kept fighting and just kept doing my thing,” Wozniacki said.

In the deciding set, Wozniacki broke at love to pull even at 4-4. She then held serve and followed with another break to lock up a spot in the final four.

Next up will be a Saturday showdown with American Sloane Stephens, who topped Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 before the rain returned in the evening.

Two other quarterfinals were postponed until Saturday. Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine will take on fourth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, while defending champ and second seed Simona Halep of Romania is to play Caroline Garcia of France.

Pliskova, a 6-foot-1 25-year-old from the Czech Republic, was playing her first tournament as the world No. 1.

“She just put everything back,” Pliskova said. “Even my serves, even some of the groundstrokes. So it was tough for me to close it and I think it’s tough to play someone like (that).”

Wozniacki had lost her opening matches in all four previous appearances on the WTA Tour’s Toronto stop. Montreal hosts the women’s Rogers Cup in alternate years and she has fared much better there, winning in 2010 and reaching the semifinals in 2012.

After dropping the first three games of the opening set Friday, Wozniacki fought back by beating Pliskova at her own game.

She matched her powerful groundstrokes and started going for more winners to take the momentum.

On her heels a bit more, Pliskova’s unforced errors started to rise. She smashed her racket into the court when another miscue gave Wozniacki a 6-5 edge.

Wozniacki used an ace to win her sixth straight game and the first set.

“I just tried to stay steady,” she said. “(I) tried to take the ball on the rise and try to stay aggressive when I could and keep my serves aggressive too.”

Both players held serve through the second set with Pliskova pulling even in the match by taking the last four points of the tiebreaker.

Pliskova used a strong backhand crosscourt to earn the first break of the third set. She pulled ahead 3-2 as Wozniacki was forced wide and netted her return.

However, Wozniacki refused to buckle and breaks in two of the last three games gave her a semifinal berth and a 5-2 career head-to-head mark against Pliskova.

“I think I was maybe a little bit less tired toward the end,” Wozniacki said. “I just kept hanging in there and I thought we both played a really good match.”

Wozniacki spent 67 weeks as the world’s top-ranked player in 2010 and 2011, but her ranking has slipped over the past two seasons due to injuries. She dropped to No. 74 last August but has returned to form of late.

Wozniacki has reached five finals this season and currently holds the No. 6 position.

Since she returned from her injury layoff, Wozniacki said she’s been enjoying her time on court a little more and has toned down her workout regimen.

“I’m not old but I’ve been on tour for many years,” she said. “(I’m) getting older and the body can’t handle the same as it used to when I was 18, 19. So I just had to really think of that.

“I had some time to just be home and enjoy spending some time with friends and family and then came back and was recharged.”

In early doubles play, top-seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina beat Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and American Nicole Melichar 6-4, 6-4. Second-seeded Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan and Switzerland’s Martina Hingis dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision to eighth-seeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic.

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