Getty Images

Gasquet will face Sock after beating Shapovalov in Paris

Leave a comment

PARIS — In a battle of different generations, home favorite Richard Gasquet beat Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov in straight sets to reach the second round of the Paris Masters, where he will face American defending champion Jack Sock.

The 32-year-old Gasquet was 3-0 down in the opening set but rallied to win 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Monday.

Another Frenchman was safely through after Adrian Mannarino beat compatriot Ugo Humbert 6-4, 6-2. He next plays 10th-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan.

Nicolas Mahut is out of his home tournament, however, after losing to Frances Tiafoe of the United States 7-6 (1), 6-2. The 20-year-old Tiafoe will face fourth-seeded Alex Zverev of Germany.

Novak Djokovic, who is aiming to wrestle back the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal, will be relieved to be facing Joao Sousa of Portugal in the second round and not Marco Cecchinato of Italy.

Cecchinato, who upset Djokovic in the French Open quarterfinals, lost to Sousa 7-5, 6-3.

Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany will play fifth-seeded Marin Cilic in the next round after recovering to beat Robin Haase 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2.

Steve Johnson’s miserable run against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain continued. Bautista Agut improved to 6-0 against Johnson after winning 6-4, 7-6 (2) on Monday to set up a second-round meeting against ninth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov.

Elsewhere, Karen Khachanov beat last year’s runner-up, Filip Krajinovic, 7-5, 6-2, and Damir Dzumhur and Feliciano Lopez also advanced. Nikoloz Basilashvili won when opponent John Millman retired with a back injury after losing their first set 6-4.

Opelka edges top-seeded Isner to reach New York Open final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) Reilly Opelka edged top-seeded John Isner the same way he knocked his fellow American out of the Australian Open, winning a match full of tiebreakers Saturday night in a New York Open semifinal that set a record for combined aces in a three-set match.

Opelka fought off six match points in a marathon second set and went on to win 6-7 (8), 7-6 (14), 7-6 (4) to move within a victory of his first ATP title.

The 6-foot-11 Opelka and 6-10 Isner combined for 81 aces and there were no breaks of serve. Opelka hit 43 aces, Isner had 38, and each had only one double fault.

It was similar to their meeting in Melbourne, when Opelka beat the ninth-ranked Isner in a first-round match that went four tiebreakers.

Opelka will play Canadian Brayden Schnur, a qualifier who had never won a tour-level match before this week.

Schnur recovered after blowing a 3-0 lead and eventually the second set to beat American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-3.

Schnur was the final alternate accepted into the tournament’s qualifying draw and was nearly gone from Long Island quickly, eventually overcoming two match points to beat No. 3 seed Steve Johnson in the second round.

There was nothing quick about the second semifinal, which lasted 2 hours, 31 minutes and went well past the previous record of 71 aces, set earlier this year in a match between Nick Kyrgios and Ryan Harrison.

Isner was in good position to win in straight sets, taking a 3-1 lead in the tiebreaker when Opelka pushed a forehand long. But he wasted a chance to win the match on his serve, and Opelka then kept erasing the rest of the match points when he served.

Isner had dropped both matches this season, part of a six-match skid dating to the end of last year, before winning his first two matches here in straight sets.

But he was stopped again by Opelka, who fell two aces shy of Ivo Karlovic’s record for most aces in a three-set match.

More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Mertens upsets Halep in Qatar Open final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DOHA, Qatar – Unseeded Elise Mertens came from a set and a break down to beat recent No. 1 Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Qatar Open final and capture the biggest title of her career on Saturday.

Halep led 6-3, 2-0, then lost a service game for a third time to see the second set back on serve. Mertens continued to pressure, missing two more break chances in the seventh game but finally breaking – to love – in the ninth. The set was the first Mertens took from Halep in three matchups.

Mertens broke again to start the third set, Halep leveled at 2-2, but Mertens finished stronger and won her fifth career title.

The Belgian beat two other top-10 players this week, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber.

Halep’s first final appearance since August guaranteed she will rise one spot to No. 2 in the rankings on Monday.