Adrian Mannarino defeats Marin Cilic to reach Tokyo finals

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Adrian Mannarino

France’s 31st-ranked Adrian Mannarino secured a spot in the men’s singles finals as he overpowered top seed Croatian Marin Cilic at Japan Open on Saturday.

Mannarino defeated big-serving Cilic, runner-up to Roger Federer at this year’s Wimbledon, with a 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-0 win in a fierce match which lasted for nearly three hours.

The 29-year-old Frenchman now faces Belgium’s David Goffin who beat Cilic in the semi-final in Tokyo last season.

Goffin, 26, booked a place in the finals after a tight two-hour match with eighth seed Diego Schwartzman from Argentina.

Goffin finished off Schwartzman, who put an end to the impressive run of world number 46 Steve Johnson on Friday, with a 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (8/6) victory.

Both the first and second set went to a tie-break but the match ended when Schwartzman hit a backhand long of the baseline.

The Japan Open has been played since 1972 and its previous winners include a roll-call of the game’s greats, including Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Federer and Nadal.

Provided by AFP Sport

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David Goffin cherishes first title in three years with Shenzhen Open win

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David Goffin

It was seventh time lucky for David Goffin after the Belgian beat Alexandr Dolgopolov over three sets to win the Shenzhen Open on Sunday.

The world number 12 Goffin tasted defeat in his last six finals, a bitter run stretching back to 2014.

But the 26-year-old made up for three years of disappointment with a determined display against the Ukrainian Dolgopolov to seal the title 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 in just over two hours in southern China.

He adds the Shenzhen trophy to the two he won in 2014 in Metz, France and Kitzbuehel in Austria.

“This one is really special because you know it’s always tough to come back from injuries,” said Goffin, who retired from the French Open and missed Wimbledon with an ankle injury.

“I cannot be happier today.”

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Maria Sharapova digs deep to beat Anastasija Sevastova in China Open epic

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Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova gained revenge over the Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova with a gutsy 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 7-6 (9/7) victory in the China Open first round on Saturday.

It was the five-time Grand Slam winner’s first appearance since she was beaten by Sevastova at the US Open in early September and gets her stop-start return from a doping ban back on track.

Sharapova, ranked 104 in the world, is a wildcard in Beijing as she works her way back slowly from a 15-month ban for taking the banned substance meldonium.

She was far from her best, but Sharapova dug in during an attritional match lasting more than three hours.

Sevastova broke the Russian former number one – who had the majority of the crowd behind her – in the seventh game of the first set to seize the early initiative.

Sharapova immediately broke back for 4-4, before falling 6-5 down on her own serve when her drop shot went astray, only to strike back immediately to force a tie break.

“Come on!” the former China Open champion Sharapova shouted as she wrapped up the first-set tie break.

The 30-year-old looked set to race through the second set to book her place in round two.

But her serve was suspect all match and the Latvian refused to submit.

Sevastova broke Sharapova once more as the match clock hit the two-hour mark to level the encounter at one-set each, before Sharapova finally saw off her resilient opponent in an epic decider.

Earlier, the second seed Simona Halep battled past the American Alison Riske in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

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