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Top-ranked Sabalenka, Gauff get through tough matches to advance at China Open

Aryna Sabalenka Aryna Sabalenka - The Canadian Press

BEIJING (AP) — Sixth-seeded Jannik Sinner will bid for his third title of the year after beating second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the semifinals of the China Open on Tuesday.

Sinner will play third-ranked Daniil Medvedev in Wednesday’s final after the Russian eased to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over eighth-seeded Alexander Zverev.

Twice trailing by a break early in the first set, Sinner began to take control of the match from the baseline and won the first-set tiebreaker. The 22-year-old Italian then broke Alcaraz early in the second set and, after some testing holds while on serve, won the final four games to close out the match.

“For sure in the very top (of big matches played),” Sinner said of Tuesday’s win. “I would say every match against him is very tough. We always show great respect, we both play great. When we play against each other, we try to stay on our limits."

Medvedev earlier advanced to his eighth tour-level final of the season by claiming a break late in each set against Zverev, and saving four break points of his own.

“I’m really happy with my level," Medvedev said. "Roof closed, different conditions today, much faster. Both of us are big servers so it came down to just a few opportunities and I managed to serve better when I had break points to save than he did.”

The Russian holds a 6-0 record against Sinner, including beating the Italian twice in finals this season in Rotterdam and Miami.


Top-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff navigated tricky second-round opponents to advance at the China Open.

Sabalenka, making her debut at No. 1 in Beijing, came from a break down in each set to see off qualifier Katie Boulter 7-5, 7-6 (2).

“In the key moments I played a little bit better than her," said Sabalenka, who will play 36th-ranked Jasmine Paolini in the last 16. "I think it was all about the last games in each set. I mean, she had the opportunity. I’m super happy that I didn’t give her easily those sets.”

Second-ranked Iga Swiatek had less trouble finding a way past France's Varvara Gracheva 6-4, 6-1 in 1 hour, 20 minutes. The Pole next plays Magda Linette.

The third-ranked Gauff had to rally from a break down in the deciding set to defeat Petra Martic 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (2). The 48th-ranked Martic served for the match after breaking Gauff for a 5-4 lead, but the American broke back and then dominated the tiebreaker.

Gauff will play Veronika Kudermetova in the last 16 after the Russian rallied strongly to beat Lesia Tsurenko 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.

Fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula came from a set down to beat 39th-ranked Anna Blinkova 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-1 in just over two hours. The American, who was a finalist at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Saturday, will play 13th-seeded Julia Ostapenko next.

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 to earn a third-round clash with former Wimbledon champion and fifth-seeded Elena Rybakina, who beat Tatjana Maria 7-5, 6-0.

In other second-round matches, Marta Kostyuk ousted seventh-seeded Ons Jabeur 7-6 (5), 6-1, ninth-seeded Caroline Garcia beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and China’s Wang Xinyu beat 11th-seeded Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-2.


Adrian Mannarino rallied from a set down to beat fifth-seeded Sebastian Korda 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the Astana Open final and win his fourth career title.

The sixth-seeded Mannarino trailed Korda by a set and a break but won five consecutive games to claim the second set. He took that momentum into the deciding set to win in 2 hours, 10 minutes.

It was the 35-year-old Frenchman’s second tournament win this year after Newport in July.


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