AP Photo

Van Uytvanck hoping Wimbledon run has positive impact

Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) Alison Van Uytvanck is hoping her run to the second week of Wimbledon can give young gay people more confidence.

The Belgian, who in March said that she was in a relationship with another woman, advanced to the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Anett Kontaveit on Saturday.

The 47th-ranked Van Uytvanck had only won one match in her four previous main-draw appearances at Wimbledon, but announced her presence with a second-round victory over defending champion Garbine Muguruza on Thursday.

“I didn’t come out because I wanted to be a role model,” Van Uytvanck said. “I’m just happy that I could hopefully get younger people to have confidence to just come out.”

Van Uytvanck has reached the second week of a Grand Slam before – she was a quarterfinalist at the French Open in 2015.

However, outside of that tournament and this one, she has only amassed three Grand Slam wins.

Her partner Greet Minnen – who is also a Belgian tennis player, ranked 546th – has been courtside throughout the tournament.

“We’re a good team,” Van Uytvanck said. “She’s also a tennis player. … So it’s really good she understands the game.”

There was also a timely element to Van Uytvanck achieving her career-best performance at Wimbledon.

While she was on court, tens of thousands of people had begun participating in a parade celebrating Britain’s LGBT community in the city center.

With a fourth-round match against 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia to come on Monday, Van Uytvanck wasn’t ready for any celebrations.

“Somebody told me it’s the Pride (parade) today,” Van Uytvanck said with a laugh. “But I will just get some rest.”

More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Fognini stuns Nadal 6-4, 6-2 to reach Monte Carlo final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONACO (AP) Fabio Fognini ended Rafael Nadal’s long winning streak at the Monte Carlo Masters, stunning the defending champion 6-4, 6-2 Saturday to reach the final for the first time and hand Nadal his first defeat here since 2015.

The 13th-seeded Italian had beaten Nadal twice before on clay, and also once at the U.S. Open in five sets, but this was arguably the most impressive.

Not since the 2005 final, a five-setter which Nadal won in four sets, had the 11-time champion Nadal been beaten 6-0 in a set here. And Fognini came so close to doing just that.

He served for the match at 5-0 and 40-0, but Nadal saved three match points – and some pride – by breaking back and then holding.

Serving again for the match at 5-2, Fognini hit a superb forehand down the line to clinch victory on his fourth match point.

Nadal’s last defeat here was also in the semifinals, against Novak Djokovic in 2015. He had not lost a set at the clay-court tournament since conceding one in the second round against Britain’s Kyle Edmund in 2017.

Fognini next plays unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic in their first-ever meeting, and one few would have predicted happening here.

The 48th-ranked Lajovic earlier staged a remarkable comeback from 5-1 down to beat 10th-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1.

Lajovic won 10 straight games to open up a 4-0 lead in the second set before Medvedev finally held serve. But after saving one match point, the Russian player tamely hit a return long on his opponent’s next opportunity.

It could have been an all-Serb semifinal but Medvedev knocked out the top-ranked Djokovic in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Saturday’s match started in difficult conditions, with a heavy wind coming in from the Mediterranean.

Serving for the first set at 5-1, Medvedev dropped his serve and remonstrated with himself.

Lajovic clinched the first set on serve, with Medvedev completely mistiming the ball and sending it skyward.

The 28-year-old Lajovic was ill before the tournament and said he needed antibiotics to recover.

He struggled to describe his surprise run.

“Incredible … Unreal,” he said, before settling on “It’s been a great week.”

Lajovic stages comeback to reach Monte Carlo final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONACO (AP) Unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic staged a remarkable comeback from 5-1 down to beat 10th-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1 in the Monte Carlo Masters semifinals on Saturday.

Lajovic won 10 straight games to open up a 4-0 lead in the second set before Medvedev finally held serve. But after saving one match point, the Russian player tamely hit a return long on his opponent’s next opportunity.

The 48th-ranked Lajovic now plays in his first career final against 11-time champion Rafael Nadal or 13th-seeded Fabio Fognini.

It could have been an all-Serb semi but Medvedev knocked out top-ranked Novak Djokovic in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Saturday’s match started in difficult conditions, with a heavy wind coming in from the Mediterranean blowing clay around the court.

Serving for the set at 5-1, Medvedev dropped his serve and remonstrated with himself.

He had good cause.

The first-set turnaround was complete when Lajovic clinched it on serve, with Medvedev completely mistiming the ball and sending it skyward.