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Qinwen, Samsonova set up China-Russia tennis final in Tokyo Nakashima takes first ATP Tour title at San Diego Frances Tiafoe lifts Team World to 1st Laver Cup win

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TOKYO. Rising teen Zheng Qinwen continued her Toray Pan Pacific winning streak by beating only remaining seed Veronika Kudermetova 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in the semi-finals at the Ariake Coliseum.

In another Chinese-Russian match, unseeded Lyudmila Samsonova beat Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

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In the match, which lasted just over three hours, Qinwen and fourth-placed Kudermetova exchanged powerful ground shots, big serves and many mistakes, pushing each other to their limits.

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Qinwen, who edged out top-seeded Paula Badosa in the second round, had an early lead after smashing Kudermetova in Game 4, but the Russian stayed on track and beat the 19-year-old Chinese in Games 7 and 9 to secure her top spot. installed.

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There was just one break in the rest of the match when Kudermetova’s error gave Qinwen the lead in the second set.

Qinwen had to be rescued many times, but her mistakes were often accompanied by a great recovery. The grueling match began to take its toll on Kudermetova, and she needed a medical timeout with a hand problem after she won 6-5 in the final set.

Then the 36th racket of the world Qinwen filed for a tie-break, and Kudermetova’s mistakes, including a double fault with a score of 2:5, showed that the Russians’ hopes of reaching the final were justified.

Qinwen, who will be in her first final, will need to be much more efficient to beat Samsonova, especially in her serve games. She had eight aces against Kudermetova’s six, but 24 seconds more than her opponent.

“I feel so great that I made it to the final,” Qinwen said. “Today was a very, very difficult match. Each point was very important, there were many emotions. My opponent played very well. She has a good serve and really good shots from behind the line, and it wasn’t easy.”

Samsonova, who won two tournaments and reached the fourth round of the US Open in August, made an early announcement in her first serve game against Shuai, landing a pair of aces and hitting 180 km/h.

In the next installment, she broke the 33-year-old Chinese woman with several powerful blows from the ground. But she also broke down in her second game of innings after a few unforced errors, recovering to win her next two favorite innings games.

World No. 28 Shuai was a steady tennis player, but errors by No. 30 Samsonova kept the match alive even as the set approached a tie-break. A powerful right hand to the right corner gave her the required point and she won the first set with one of her 13 aces.

Having beaten Samsonova in the first game of the second set, Shuai missed the score 40:0 in the next game and lost her serve.

Shuai wasn’t expecting any answers as the 23-year-old Russian improved her game and lost the last two servings, effectively ending the match.

“I didn’t expect this at all,” said Samsonova, who defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the first round and third-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza in the quarterfinals. “I came here to try to do my best and I’m in the final.

“This is amazing. It was a very mental game because she played amazingly so I tried to stay there and play with her game. It was hard, but I played better in the tie-break.”

Shuai is confident that Compatriot Qinwen is destined to do better. “She will definitely win a Grand Slam someday,” she said. “When I played with her, I couldn’t find where I could win points. Most of the time when you play with someone, you find a way to play with someone, you find a way to earn points, but that’s not possible with her. She is strong on both sides and has a great serve.”

SAN DIEGO — Brandon Nakashima earned his first ATP Tour victory in his hometown by defeating friend and fellow Southern Californian Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-4 in the San Diego Open final.

“It’s super special that you dream of, but having it happen in my hometown with all my friends and family is a moment I will never forget,” said Nakashima, who has competed in the finals twice. “Hopefully there are many more moments like this ahead.”

Nakashima, a 21-year-old who grew up in San Diego and trained extensively at the venue as a junior, won the first set in just 30 minutes. The second set, filled with long draws, lasted almost an hour.

Chiron, the No. 5 seed and former NCAA title holder from UCLA, was unable to fend off Nakashima’s persistent ground shots and accurate pitches. Nakashima had eight aces, six in the first set.

Serving 5-4 in the second set, Nakashima scored two game-deciding points when Chiron landed a light volley into the net, followed by Nakashima’s ace on the second serve.

He earned $93,090, about half of what he earned for reaching the third round of the US Open in early September.

Nakashima, ranked 69th on the ATP Tour, rose to 48th, his highest ranking in almost three years of the tour. Despite the loss, Chiron went from 58 to 53.

Not only did an American take the singles title, but the doubles title also went to an American duo as second seeded Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Whitrow defeated Aussies Jason Kubler and Luke Saville 7-6(5), 6-2.

The $612,000 event took place at the Barnes Tennis Center, where the $757,900 WTA 500 Open San Diego Open will take place October 8-16. 1 Igoy Svyatek.

LONDON — Francis Tiafoe, the last to arrive, true to his reputation in the locker room, stepped into the post-match press conference after Team World’s Laver Cup victory over Europe’s star team Roger Federer and yelled, “The Champions are here!”

The 24-year-old from Maryland then joined his teammates at the table where the silver trophy rested on Sunday night, set down a bottle of water, pulled a Budweiser from under his red jacket and smiled broadly.

Performing with the same infectious spectacle and success he showed en route to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open earlier this month, Tiafoe racked up four match points and returned to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6 ( 11), 10-8, which brought Team World the first triumph in five editions of the tournament organized by Federer’s management company.

“I don’t like to lose,” said Federer, the 20-time world champion, whose last match before retiring was lost with Rafael Nadal in doubles against Thiafo and Jack Sock on Friday night. “It’s not fun. It just doesn’t leave the best taste.”

As Tsitsipas hit a right into the net to end Sunday’s bout and three-day competition, Tiafoe dropped his racquet and fell flat on his back on the court, where teammates piled on top of him. Getting to his feet, Tiafoe put his hand to his ear, asking the audience to make more noise, then pointed to his chest and shouted: “I am he! I am he!”

“When everything turns into a circus here, and I just use the crowd, act like a little child and get a bunch of reactions … In the end, I play very well and start to gain momentum,” said Tiafoe. “I seem to be able to play and function better than my opponents.”

Using the nickname other players have given Tiafoe to reflect how he perceives big moments, Team World captain John McEnroe said: “Francis is ‘prime time.’ He loves this business.”

McEnroe was 0-4 leading his team against his former playing rival, European captain Bjorn Borg; both have indicated they will be returning for the 2023 Laver Cup in Vancouver, but this could be their last round.

It served as a celebration of the career of Federer and the 41-year-old Swiss star.

Tiafoe responded with a joke when asked if he could owe Federer some form of “sorry” for beating him in the final or for beating his team, which also included Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, for a total of 66 big singles. titles. This, by the way, is 66 more than Team World, which consists of 20-year-olds (Sok turned 30 on Saturday).

“I’m not going to apologize to him. He has a lot to apologize for in the last 24 years after beating everyone on the tour,” said Tiafoe, who went 0-3 against Federer in singles. “I will say thank you for inviting me to this amazing event, for what he did for the game. He is class act. Glad to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague, and wish you all the best in the second act. But I won’t apologize.”

Team Europe entered the O2 Arena on Sunday with an 8-4 lead; the first team to score 13 points wins.

Each match on Day 3 brought in three points and Team World took the lead thanks to a pair of victories from Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old Canadian. He beat Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3), after partnering with Soc to beat Murray and Matteo Berrettini 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in doubles.

Tiafoe then made it 13-8 but it wasn’t easy.

He set an 8-0 tournament record in Flushing Meadows tiebreaks this month and was just as tenacious on Sunday.

“It’s been a long time since Francis played the big guys up close and lost a lot of close quarters. It’s nice to see him winning lately,” said Taylor Fritz, an American who is Tiafoe’s age and has known him for many years. “The time has come when he will perform and the matches will go the other way. Today was a joke.”

This is because Tiafoe was one point away from losing to Tsitsipas four times in a tiebreak in the second set, but somehow pulled it off. Then, at 4-all in the final tiebreaker match – first to 10, a win by two – Tiafoe ran from behind the back line to the net and barely made it to Tsitsipas’ throw, somehow lunging to catch corner winner.

While most of the 16,365 fans were going crazy, Tiafoe walked around the net and froze with his hands on his hips, enjoying the atmosphere.

“We put him in the slot he was in today for a reason,” said Team World’s Tommy Paul, another 24-year-old American.


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