Defending champ Novak Djokovic wins, advances to Western & Southern Open semifinals

Defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic advanced to the Western & Southern Open semifinals with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 win over Lucas Pouille in Mason, Ohio, on Friday.

World No. 1 Djokovic next plays Daniil Medvedev, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Andrey Rublev, on Saturday.

Also, qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew because of illness, sending David Goffin into the semifinals. Goffin will face Richard Gasquet, who advanced with a three-set victory over Roberto Bautista Agut.

On the women’s side, top-seeded Ash Barty reached the semifinals and moved closer to regaining the No. 1 world ranking by beating Maria Sakkari 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

No. 1 Naomi Osaka dropped out of her semifinal match because of a knee injury.

Barty will face Svetlana Kuznetsova, who reached her first semifinal of the season by beating third-seeded Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

Motor sports: Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin won the pole for Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, a critical short-track showdown for drivers trying to qualify for the playoffs.

WNBA: Shekinna Stricklen scored 24 points and made a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds left to help host Connecticut beat Seattle 79-78. … Ariel Atkins scored 18 points and Washington clinched a playoff berth with an 86-79 win over host Minnesota. … Allisha Gray scored 22 points and host Dallas beat New York 83-77. … Allie Quigley scored 26 points as Chicago beat visiting Los Angeles 91-81. … DeWanna Bonner had 27 points and 13 rebounds as host Phoenix topped Atlanta 77-68.

Obituary: Former Cincinnati, USC and South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee, a 1959 Outland Trophy winner at Duke who hired Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier to lead Gamecocks football, died at age 80 in Montrose, Colo.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Defending-champ-Novak-Djokovic-wins-advances-to-14339922.php.

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