Zverev loses on day of upsets on French Open showcourt

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PARIS — On a day of upsets on Court Philippe Chatrier, up-and-coming youngster Alexander Zverev lost to Fernando Verdasco when their first-round match resumed at the French Open on Tuesday.

The match was suspended on Monday because of darkness after the players split the first two sets and the ninth-seeded Zverev was eventually beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

No. 7 seed Johanna Konta of Britain had earlier lost 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 to 109th-ranked Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan on the showcourt. Considering the setting, the result is not all that surprising: Konta has now lost all three matches she’s played at the French Open in her career.

The 33-year-old Verdasco pinpointed the third set as the turning point of his match.

“It was a really tough first set, the first one of today. And I think with many games for both of us with chances to win one or the other,” the Spaniard said.

“And, you know, I think that that moment of winning the third set gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of air to play the fourth. And I think it was hard for him on the other side. Like, you know, to start again and have to win two more sets.”

Zverev was one of the outside favorites after impressing on his way to victory at the Italian Open earlier this month. But the 20-year-old German grew more frustrated as the match went on and broke his racket during the fourth set.

“You sometimes play bad. It’s just this is our sport,” Zverev said. “There is no regrets. I mean, what can you do? In Rome I played fantastic, I won the tournament. Here I played bad, I lost first round. That’s the way it goes.

“But the world doesn’t stop now. I mean, I’m still No. 4 in the race to London and I’m still doing OK this year. I won three tournaments so far. It’s not the end of the world, OK? I lost a match, but, I mean, pretty much everybody loses a match every single week they play.”

Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro returned to Roland Garros for the first time in five years and the 2009 U.S. Open champion had little trouble picking up a victory.

After a series of wrist operations kept him off the tour for months at a time, Del Potro once again used his big forehand to great effect. He beat qualifier Guido Pella 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in an all-Argentine matchup, showing no sign of the shoulder and back problems that hampered him at the Lyon Open last week and did not face a single break point.

Stan Wawrinka is also safely through to the second round after a 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia.

Wawrinka started his clay season poorly before emerging with a title at the Geneva Open last week. The No. 3 seed kept up his momentum in Paris.

“I enjoyed it very much,” said Wawrinka, who won at Roland Garros in 2015. “It was not necessarily easy after I played in Geneva until Saturday to get into gear. I’m feeling good, I’m playing good tennis and I’m happy to be back in Paris.”

Other winners included No. 18 Nick Kyrgios and No. 5 Elina Svitolina.

Nishioka beats Shapovalov to win Korean Open

2022 US Open - Day 1
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SEOUL, South Korea – Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka claimed his second career title after beating fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the Korean Open.

The 27-year-old Japanese, who beat top seed and world No.2 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, was impressive in defense and his counter-punching style eventually wore down his higher ranked opponent in just under two hours at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center.

The unseeded Nishioka, appearing in his second championship match this year after reaching the Washington final in August, started the brighter and found his rhythm early to claim the first set.

The second set saw momentum change as Shapavolov found his range from the backcourt to take a 3-1 lead. But Nishioka rallied to take the set into a tiebreak where he held firm to win his first tournament since his maiden title at the Shenzen Open in 2018 – where he also beat Shapovalov in their only previous meeting.

The ATP Tour returned to Seoul for the first time since 1996 after the city was awarded a single-year license to stage the Korean Open.

Mayar Sherif becomes first Egyptian to win WTA Tour event

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PARMA, Italy — Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian to win a WTA Tour event by beating top-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 at the Parma Ladies Open.

Besides earning her first career title, Sherif also notched her first win over a top-10 opponent.

Along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year, Sherif is raising the profile of tennis in North Africa.

The 74th-ranked Sherif actually had to win two matches on Saturday, first overcoming sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, which were postponed a day due to rain.

The seventh-ranked Sakkari beat Danka Kovinic 7-5, 6-2 in her semifinal earlier Saturday.