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Wimbledon finalist Anderson skips French Open

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Two-time Grand Slam runner-up Kevin Anderson is skipping the clay-court swing this season because of a lingering right elbow injury.

Anderson announced Tuesday via a post on Twitter that he is withdrawing from the French Open, as well as tuneup tournaments in Estoril, Madrid and Rome.

The 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) South African, who is ranked No. 6, has been dealing with elbow issues for much of the year. He has played in only 10 matches in 2019, citing the elbow when pulling out of tournaments in New York, Delray Beach, Indian Wells and Acapulco.

“After discussing with my doctors and team, we thought the best decision is to rest and rehab my elbow injury for a few more weeks,” Anderson said. “I will keep working hard each day to get healthy again in time for grass.”

Anderson’s most recent appearance came at the Miami Open last month, when he made it to the fourth round before losing to Roger Federer.

The big-serving Anderson’s greatest successes have come on faster surfaces.

He reached the final at Wimbledon on grass last year before losing to Novak Djokovic and was the runner-up to Rafael Nadal on the hard courts of the U.S. Open in 2017.

At Wimbledon in 2018, Anderson edged John Isner in the semifinals by a 26-24 score in the fifth set. That match served as the impetus for Grand Slam tournaments to discuss adding tiebreakers for the final set.

At the All England Club this year, for example, a first-to-seven, win-by-two tiebreaker will be used when matches reach 12-all in the fifth set of men’s matches and the third set of women’s matches.

Anderson’s best showing on the slower clay of Roland Garros – where play begins on May 26 – has been making it to the fourth round. He lost at that stage four times, including each of the past two years.

He turns 33 next month.

His tweet on Tuesday called the choice to sit out the coming stretch of the tour calendar “the right decision for the long term in my career.”

Nadal gets his revenge over Tsitsipas to reach Rome final

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ROME (AP) After losing in the semifinals of three straight clay-court tournaments, Rafael Nadal looked more like his old, dominant self when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to reach the Italian Open final.

It was a measure of revenge for Nadal after losing to Tsitsipas in three sets at this stage in Madrid last week. The victory should also restore Nadal’s confidence as he seeks a record-extending 12th title at the French Open starting next weekend.

“I’m playing better every match, every weekend,” Nadal said.

Aiming for a ninth trophy in Rome, Nadal’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be either Novak Djokovic or Diego Schwartzman, who were playing later.

Nadal is in the middle of his longest title drought to begin a season since he came onto the scene in 2004. His last trophy came in Toronto last August.

The crowd attempted to encourage Tsitsipas with chants of “Tsi-Tsi-Tsi; Pas-Pas-Pas” but the 20-year-old Greek player couldn’t keep up with Nadal on the long rallies – even though he didn’t play a day earlier after Roger Federer withdrew from the quarterfinals.

Conditions were much slower than on the high-altitude court in Madrid, which favored Nadal and made it tougher for Tsitsipas to execute his attacking game.

Midway through the first set, Nadal produced an awesome forehand winner up the line on the run, drawing a loud roar from the packed Campo Centrale crowd.

Nadal broke Tsitsipas’ serve early in both sets.

In the women’s tournament, Johanna Konta rallied past sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in nearly three hours to reach the biggest clay-court final of her career.

Konta’s only previous final on clay came recently in Rabat, Morocco, where she lost the title match to Maria Sakkari.

Konta could get a rematch with Sakkari if the Greek qualifier beats fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the other semifinal.

Midway through the first set, Konta surprised Bertens with a drop shot winner during a baseline rally, causing Bertens to fall on her stomach to the clay as she rapidly changed directions. Then in the next game, Konta ran down a drop shot and produced an angled winner.

Bertens was coming off the Madrid Open title.

“She played really smart with the drop shots,” Bertens said. “I was all the time getting myself together and trying to push for more energy. But it was not there.”

The 42nd-ranked Konta served for the first set at 5-4 but was broken at love. But Bertens double faulted to let Konta serve for the second set and Konta got an early break in the third.

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Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf

John Isner out of French Open with injury

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PARIS — John Isner has pulled out of the French Open because of an injured left foot, ending his streak of 24 consecutive appearances at Grand Slam tournaments.

The 34-year-old Isner announced his withdrawal Friday on Twitter.

He is ranked No. 11, the top American man, but has not competed since hurting his foot during the Miami Open final March 31.

Isner was a Wimbledon semifinalist last year, his best Grand Slam performance. He hasn’t missed a major since the 2013 Australian Open.

He’s reached the fourth round at Roland Garros three times, including in 2018, and is one of only two men to push 11-time champion Rafael Nadal to a fifth set there.

Isner is best known for winning the longest match in tennis history, 70-68 in the fifth set against Nicolas Mahut in Wimbledon’s first round in 2010. The match lasted more than 11 hours over three days.