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Thiem Reaches First Final Since 2020; Fritz Beats Murray in Washington

Thiem Reaches First Final Since 2020: Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem earned his first final ticket since 2020 as he outlasted Laslo Djere in the semifinals of the Kitzbuhel claycourt tournament in Austria. Thiem, who reached as high as number three in the world tennis rankings, fought off five match points to earn a 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 7-6 (10/8) win. The encounter lasted for three hours and 30 minutes as the Austrian showed his vintage form, saving 12 break points to derail his Serbian opponent.

The victory gave the world number 116 an opportunity to capture his 18th career title as he faces Argentine Sebastian Baez in the final. Baez saw off compatriot and tournament top seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-4. The Kitzbuehel final stint is a big improvement for the world number 72 as he comes in to the tournament with just one win in his five previous tournaments. Baez is favored to win against Thiem as per ATP tennis betting odds as the 22-year-old defeated the former Grand Slam winner in their lone meeting at Bastad, Sweden last year.

Fritz Ousts Murray to Reach Washington Open Men’s Last Eight

World number nine Taylor Fritz came from behind to defeat three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray to secure a quarter-final ticket in the Washington Open on Friday. Tournament top seed Fritz rallied from a set down to beat 44th-ranked Murray 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-4. The 25-year-old American booked a last eight clash with Australian Jordan Thompson, who won over Christopher Eubanks 6-2, 6-2. 

Murray broke Fritz’s serve in the 10th game of the first set as he drove a forehand cross-court drop volley winner on the line. The move forced a 5-5 tie that the Briton took advantage en route to winning the set via tiebreaker. The American answered back in the second set, dominating Murray for a 6-3 victory. Fritz had enough gas on his tank in the decider when he saved three break points in the 10th game to force a deuce. He had two chances to win the match but Murray responded to deny the opportunities. And in his third matchpoint opportunity, Fritz shot a forehand winner to end Murray’s bid.

In other matches, Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands squeaked past 2016 Washington champion Gael Monfils 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to reach the quarters. Others advancing were British ninth seed Daniel Evans and Americans Francis Tiafoe and JJ Wolf. Evans beat Alexander Shevchenko 6-4, 6-3 while Tiafoe outlasted Shang Juncheng 6-2, 6-3.

Thiem Reaches First Final Since 2020: Pegula Advances to Washington Open Women’s Semis

On the women’s side, top seed Jessica Pegula barged to the semi-finals of the Washington Open as she defeated Wimbledon semi-finalist Elina Svitolina in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Pegula raced to a 5-3 lead in the third set and was serving for the match when Svitolina fought back and saved two match points to cut the deficit to 4-5. The American saved a break point in the 10th game and made it to the last four with a service winner on her third match point.

The victory handed Pegula a final four clash with Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari. Sakkari needed to do double duty to reach the semifinals. She first outclassed Leylah Fernandez of Canada 7-5, 6-2 then beat seventh seed Madison Keys 6-3, 6-3. Russian Liudmila Samsonova joined Pegula and Sakkari in last four as she beat Ukrainian Maria Kostyuk 6-4, 6-2.

Noskova, Korpatsch, Cristian, Hibino Make Prague Open Semifinals

Linda Noskova, Tamara Korpatsch, Jaqueline Cristian and Nao Hibino advanced to the Prague Open semifinals as they notched victories on Friday. Noskova, seeded fourth, outclassed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-0, 6-2. The Czech netter booked a showdown with the German Korpatsch, who surprised Alize Cornet of France 7-6 (7/3), 6-1. 

Hibino, meanwhile, qualified to the last four as she beat Tereza Martincova 6-1, 6-2. It was the Japanese netter’s first Women’s Tennis Association semifinal since 2020. Cristian of Romania made her third semifinal of her career as she eliminated Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. The Prague Open is the 14th edition of the tournament and part of the 2023 WTA Tour. It is classified as a WTA 250 event and is played on outdoor hard courts at the TK Sparta Praha.

Carreno Busta, Kyrgios, Shapovalov Withdraw from ATP Toronto Masters

Pablo Carreno Busta, Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov backed out of the ATP Toronto Masters due to various injuries. According to tournament organizers, Carreno Busta was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a nagging injury that minimized his playing activity all year round. The Spaniard was the defending champion and it will affect online sports picks that placed him as favorite to win the event. Meanwhile, Kyrgios and Shapovalov were forced to miss the event due to wrist ligament and knee injuries, respectively.

The withdrawals gave Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, American J.J. Wolf and Japan’s Kei Nishikori the opportunity to enter the main draw. The hard court tournament is one of the key tune-ups for the US Open starting at Flushing Meadows on August 28. World number two Novak Djokovic was supposed to compete in the event but withdrew due to fatigue.