Pliskova, Svitolina advance to Australian Open’s third round

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Karolina Pliskova extended her winning start to the season by reaching the third round of the Australian Open with a rain-interrupted 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory over Madison Brengle.

The 2016 U.S. Open finalist started this year with a run to the title at the Brisbane International and entered the season’s first major seeded seventh, still with a chance to regain the top ranking depending on her performance at Melbourne Park.

After dropping serve twice in the first set against Brengle, Pliskova completely dominated the second and third sets and capped it with a pair of aces.

“Some breaks, some good tennis, and some bad mistakes from me too,” Pliskova said. “The first set wasn’t very good from my side, but she played some good points and was very solid.”

She’ll next play No. 27 Camila Giorgi, who beat Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-0.

In other early matches, WTA Finals winner Elina Svitolina beat Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-1 in 67 minutes, No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova beat teenage Canadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 and No. 21 Wang Qiang Wang had a 6-2, 6-3 win over Aleksandra Krunic.

In matches later Thursday, top-ranked Simona Halep was playing Sofia Kenin and seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams was set to meet Eugenie Bouchard in a night match.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic, a six-time Australian titlist, was playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a rematch of the 2008 final in the last match on Rod Laver Arena.

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

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PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.

The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.

He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.

The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.

“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”

Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.

Mikael Ymer fined about $40K after default for hitting umpire stand with racket

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.

An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.

The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.

The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.

Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.

That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.

After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.

“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”