Nadal vs. Murray in Monte Carlo; Tsonga beats Federer

0 Comments

MONACO (AP) Rafael Nadal beat Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 on Friday to reach the Monte Carlo Masters semifinals, where he will face Andy Murray again.

Roger Federer lost 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, despite being two points from victory when leading 5-4 in the decider with Tsonga 15-30 down on his serve.

This was Federer’s comeback tournament after more than two months out following arthroscopic surgery for torn cartilage.

With Federer and top-ranked Djokovic both out, Nadal will be favorite to win a ninth title here – and his first since 2012.

In a one-sided contest between former champions, Nadal broke Wawrinka four times, and made the semis for the 11th time.

“I defended well, I moved well,” Nadal said. “When I had the opportunity, I was trying to control the point.”

Murray took out Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0 for the second time this year.

“If I play like I did today, I’ll have a chance,” said Murray, who lost to Nadal in the semifinals in 2009 and 2011 when Nadal was winning eight consecutive Monte Carlo titles.

But Murray beat Nadal in the Madrid Masters final last year, when he won his first two career titles on clay, and Nadal called him “a complete player in all aspects.”

Murray, who was inconsistent in his previous two matches, did not face a break point against the big-serving Canadian and also broke his serve five times.

“I served well today,” Murray said. “Milos can keep the pressure on if you don’t serve well.”

Nadal improved to 15-3 in career matches against Wawrinka, the French Open champion who began as a winner in three of their last five contests.

Having saved 15 of 17 break points in the third round against Dominic Thiem, Nadal conceded only one chance this time.

Wawrinka drew jeers from the crowd in the fifth game of the first set when he broke his racket, angrily bending it around his thigh.

The Swiss player was also frustrated by the noise level coming from people enjoying their lunch in the restaurant perched above center court.

“You wonder whether people are coming to have lunch or to watch tennis. I don’t believe they saw a lot of the match … I think they also drank a lot of alcohol.” Wawrinka said. “When you don’t play well and you’re not in your match, it can bother you.”

Nadal took a more moderate view.

“It’s not new,” he said. “We cannot talk about that after having the same story every day (since) I came here for the first time in 2003.”

In the second set, Wawrinka continued to struggle and was taken either to deuce or broken in every service game.

Wawrinka saved two match points but netted a forehand on Nadal’s next opportunity.

“I wasn’t able to put my game into place,” Wawrinka said. “I really need to work on two or three things. I have two weeks, or a bit more, before I go to Madrid.”

Gael Monfils plays Marcel Granollers later in the remaining quarterfinal.

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

Getty Images
1 Comment

The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

Getty Images
1 Comment

HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.