English qualifier Evans upsets Isner in Delray Beach semis

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DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) English qualifier Daniel Evans upset second-seeded John Isner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday to reach the Delray Beach Open final.

“I just play every match as it comes,” Evans said. “I know it sounds very cliche.”

The semifinal victory marked the 40th tour-level match victory for Evans, who was suspended from the tour for a year in April 2017 after testing positive for cocaine.

“You have to stay resilient in the sport because it’s so up-and-down,” Evans said. “Obviously, my downfall was by my own wrongdoing. Let’s say mine was a mental issue.”

Evans will face Radu Albot of Moldova, a 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 winner over American Mackenzie McDonald in the night semifinal. Albot is the first Moldovan to reach an ATP Tour final.

“I think this is a great achievement,” Albot said. “This was my third semifinal and I was successful this time. I’ve been a lot of years the first player for my country to carry the flag everywhere in the world.”

The 148tyh-ranked Evans has beaten three seeded players this week, also topping third-seed defending champion Frances Tiafoe in the first round and sixth-seeded Andrea Seppi in the quarterfinals.

In Evans’ only other tour final, he lost to Gilles Muller in 2017 in Sydney.

Isner also reached the Delray Beach semifinals in 2012, ’13 and ’14, but has never advanced to the final. The 6-foot-10 American also lost in the semifinal round last week in the New York Open.

Isner held serve in all 31 service games he played this week until Evans broke him three times.

“There’s something about the semifinals here, good lord,” Isner said. “I’m good enough to get into the semis. It’s getting to me now. I just sort of did a walkabout. I think tactically I did some things poorly today and that’s what cost me. He just kept hitting a lot of balls.”

McDonald visibly faded after taking charge in the first set, losing the final 12 games with little resistance.

Albot staved off two break points on his serve in the first game of the third set, which was the last gasp McDonald had in the match. McDonald only won five points in the last five games.

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

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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.”

Debutant Stearns beats former champ Ostapenko to reach French Open 3rd round

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PARIS — French Open debutant Peyton Stearns produced the biggest win of her career by defeating former champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the third round at Roland Garros.

Stearns, a former player at the University of Texas, only turned professional in June last year.

Ostapenko won the 2017 French Open but has since failed to advance past the 3rd round. The 17th-seeded Latvian dropped her serve five times against Stearns and hit 28 unforced errors in her 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 loss.

The 21-year-old Stearns has been climbing the WTA rankings and entered the French Open at No. 69 on the back of an encouraging clay-court campaign.

Third-seeded Jessica Pegula also advanced after Camila Giorgi retired due to injury. The American led 6-2 when her Italian rival threw in the towel.

Only hours after husband Gael Monfils won a five-set thriller, Elina Svitolina rallied past qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

In the men’s bracket, former runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas ousted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2. The fifth-seeded Greek was a bit slow to find his range and was made to work hard for two sets but rolled on after he won the tiebreaker.

No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 3 Novak Djokovic are on court later. Alcaraz meets Taro Daniel on Court Philippe Chatrier, where Djokovic will follow against Martin Fucsovics in the night session.