Wawrinka, Air K to battle in Brisbane

The Associated Press

Kei Nishikori plays a shot during his quarterfinal match against Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International on Friday.

The Associated PressBRISBANE, Australia (AP) — U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka will meet third-seeded Kei Nishikori in the semifinals of the Brisbane International.

Wawrinka dropped the opening set in a tiebreaker against unseeded Kyle Edmund on Friday but recovered for a 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-4 win, reaching the last four in his first trip to the Brisbane tournament.

In the previous three years, Wawrinka won the title in Chennai in the first week of the season before heading to Australia for the season’s first major.

Nishikori has now reached the semifinals four times in six visits to the Brisbane International.

The 2014 U.S. Open finalist needed just an hour for a 6-1, 6-1 quarterfinal win over Australian wildcard entry Jordan Thompson.

Thompson beat former top 10 regular David Ferrer in the second round, but against Nishikori, he only managed to hold serve in the third game and in the fourth game of the second set.

Nishikori only made 11 unforced errors and didn’t face a breakpoint.

Later Friday, defending champion Milos Raonic will meet 14-time Grand Slam title winner Rafael Nadal in a night quarterfinal, and fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem was playing No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov.

In the women’s semifinals, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza retired with a right thigh injury while trailing Alize Cornet 4-1 in the first set. Cornet advanced to a final against either U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova or sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who ousted No. 1-ranked Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.

Muguruza has had a run of injuries in the season-opening Brisbane tournament.

Murray battles through at Qatar

DOHA (AP) — Top-seeded Andy Murray struggled to pass Nicolas Almagro of Spain 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in the Qatar Open quarterfinals on a windy and chilly night.

The 44th-ranked Almagro dogged the No. 1, making Murray work overtime to secure a semifinal berth.

Almagro finally surrendered after 2 hours 9 minutes, when he shipped a backhand crosscourt wide on a second match point for Murray in the final game.

Murray trailed 3-1 in the first set, and squandered a 2-1 advantage with a service break in the second set.

The difference for Murray was in the second serve points won percentage, in which he was at 61 and Almagro was at only 47.

Murray, a two-time Qatar Open winner, is on a 27-match winning streak.

Earlier, defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced after beating Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3.Speech

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