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.

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