ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Venus Williams lost her first match since the Australian Open in just 55 minutes as she was beaten 6-3, 6-1 by Kristina Mladenovic on Thursday in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Seeded fourth, Williams showed none of the spark which took her to Saturday’s Australian Open final, failing to record a single winner in the opening set compared to 15 for her French opponent.
Mladenovic broke the tired-looking Williams in the first game of the second set and swiftly wrapped up the second round win. She received a bye in the first round.
In the quarterfinals, Mladenovic meets defending St. Petersburg champion Roberta Vinci, who advanced earlier Thursday by beating Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4. The sixth-seeded Italian was broken twice in the first set.
Also Thursday, fifth-seeded Russian Elena Vesnina progressed to the quarterfinals with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Alize Cornet. Vesnina will next face either second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova or Donna Vekic.
MONACO — Dominic Thiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.
Rublev was serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide. Fifth-seeded Thiem broke him with backhand pass down the line and held for 6-5.
The Austrian was 15-40 up on Rublev’s serve and clinched victory on his first match point, when Rublev double-faulted with a weak serve into the net.
“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” a relieved Thiem said. “But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes).”
Thiem has reached the French Open semifinals for the past two years. He next meets 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric of Croatia, who play their second-round match on Wednesday.
“I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday,” Thiem said.
In the second round later Tuesday, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faced Pierre-Hugues Herbert and seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille played Mischa Zverev.
In remaining first-round play, there were wins for Gilles Simon of France, Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.
MONACO — Jared Donaldson has been fined $6,200 for unsportsmanlike conduct after angrily ranting at the chair umpire during his first-round loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The American became irate with a call when Ramos-Vinolas was serving at 3-2, 40-0 in the second set on Monday. Donaldson thought the serve was out and pointed to the ground, shouting, “There’s a mark right here,” and then screaming the same words in the face of French umpire Arnaud Gabas.
He then squared up to Gabas and shouted: “Yes it is, yeah it is,” as he insisted his mark was right and the umpire’s call of in was wrong.
Donaldson, who yelled again at Gabas before the supervisor came on, received a code violation. He lost 6-3, 6-3.