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Injury to Osaka puts Pliskova in q’finals

The Associated Press

Naomi Osaka reacts during her match against Karolina Pliskova in third-round action at the Rogers Cup on Thursday.

AFPTORONTO (AFP-Jiji) — World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova advanced to the quarterfinals of the WTA Toronto hardcourt tournament on Thursday as opponent Naomi Osaka abandoned because of a muscle injury.

After taking the first set, Czech top seed Pliskova was given a scare after Osaka fought back to level in the second set tie-break.

But with Osaka clearly in discomfort, the Japanese teenager scratched in the decider, leaving Pliskova to advance 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 1-0.

It was a frustrating end for Osaka, who had to pull out of events in Prague and Madrid earlier this year with the same abdominal injury. Pliskova meanwhile was left satisfied after pounding down 12 aces and not dropping her serve once.

She admitted however that she faces a tough challenge holding on to her world number one ranking.

“It’s going to be tough,” Pliskova said. “There are a few tournaments to go before the end of the year and I know Simona’s [Simona Halep] behind me. I’ll do my best to stay there as long as I can — hopefully a few more weeks.”

Pliskova faces former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the last eight.

Denmark’s Wozniacki advanced to the last eight with a 6-3, 6-1 win over 10th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, a close friend.

France’s Caroline Garcia defeated Catherine Bellis of the United States 6-4, 6-2. Garcia faces second seed Halep in the quarterfinals.

Halep, the defending champion, bundled out Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in under an hour, winning 6-1, 6-0.

Meanwhile, Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic defeated Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2.

Teen takes down Nadal

In men’s action, Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov shocked top seeded Rafael Nadal to reach the quarterfinals, spoiling the Spaniard’s chances of returning to world No. 1.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov continued his giant killing form at the hardcourt tournament by rallying to stun Nadal in three sets 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

“I was just swinging for the fences,” said Shapovalov, who needed a wild card to get into the tournament.

The 31-year-old Nadal would have returned to No. 1 in the world if he had reached the semifinals.

But Nadal struggled to get the ball to Shapovalov’s backhand and didn’t have an answer for the Canadian’s blistering forehand winners.

“He played well. He has great potential,” Nadal said. “I wish him the best. He played with the right determination.”

Roger Federer maintained his career-long winning streak over David Ferrer to advance to the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup after a three-set battle with the veteran Spaniard.

Federer, 36, had never lost in 16 previous matchups against the 35-year-old Ferrer, whom he first defeated 14 years ago at the Vienna Indoor tournament.

But while Ferrer managed to take the opening set — ending Federer’s 32-set streak — the Swiss ace raised his game to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

“I actually feel really happy because I know I can play a lot better. David can play a lot better, too,” Federer said. Speech

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