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Zverev ousts Nishikori in q’finals; Murray withdraws

The Associated Press

Kei Nishikori stretches for a return against Alexander Zverev during their quarterfinal match at the Citi Open on Friday in Washington.

The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Defending champion Alexander Zverev returned to the Citi Open semifinals by coming back for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori at the rain-drenched tournament Friday.

Only two other men’s and women’s quarterfinals were completed before all play was called off on a wet day that also included three-time major champion Andy Murray’s withdrawal.

The No. 1-seeded Zverev, who beat older brother Mischa in the third round, also eliminated 2015 Washington champion Nishikori at the hardcourt tuneup for the U.S. Open a year ago en route to the title.

Germany’s Zverev, who improved to 14-2 in his four appearances at the Citi Open, will next face 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The No. 10 seed Tsitsipas beat No. 3 David Goffin 6-3, 6-4.

In the other half of the draw, Murray pulled out of his quarterfinal after winning a trio of three-setters and lamenting a schedule that had him start his latest victory at midnight.

Murray cited fatigue when he withdrew Friday, hours before he was supposed to face 19-year-old Alex de Minaur, who was given a walkover into the semifinals.

In the only women’s quarterfinal that concluded, Andrea Petkovic got past No. 6 seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8). The other three women’s matches were moved to Saturday.

Storms earlier in the week forced some men to play twice in one day.

Murray’s third-round victory over Marius Copil ended just past 3 a.m. on Friday, after rain delayed the start of Thursday’s action for 2½ hours. Afterward, Murray told a small group of reporters that he “potentially” could withdraw from the tournament.

He also announced Friday that he was going to skip next week’s Toronto Masters.

Murray is working his way back into form after having surgery on his right hip and being sidelined for 11 months.

“I’m exhausted after playing so much over the last four days, having not competed on the hard courts for 18 months,” said Murray, whose three matches each lasted more than 2½ hours. “I also need to be careful and to listen to my body as I come back from a long-term injury.”

Greek tragedy for Venus

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Maria Sakkari of Greece upset third-seeded Venus Williams 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.

Sakkari came back from 0-3 in the first set and 3-5 in the second set. She advanced to face American Danielle Collins — with the winner reaching her first WTA final.

Collins, a two-time NCAA champion for Virginia, advanced after former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus retired midway through the second set due to a leg injury.

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