Brady beats Gauff at Top Seed Open to reach first WTA final

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Jennifer Brady reached the first WTA final of her career by using a power-based game to beat 16-year-old Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday at the Top Seed Open, the first tennis tournament in the U.S. since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brady, a 25-year-old based in Florida, will face Jil Teichmann, a 23-year-old left-hander from Switzerland, in Sunday’s title match.

Neither finalist has dropped a set at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 31 in New York.

Brady has ceded a total of just 17 games through four matches and was broken only once – by Gauff. In their match, Brady hit eight aces and won 22 of 26 first-serve points.

“If I’m able to serve well, I’m able to start the point aggressive, start it in my favor, looking for forehands and be in control of the point from the very first shot,” Brady said.

Gauff eliminated the No. 2 and No. 8 seeds earlier in the tournament.

“I couldn’t ask for a better first week back,” Gauff said. “I mean, the whole goal is just to be in the prime for the U.S. Open, and these are good stepping stones.”

Teichmann reached the third final of her career – and first on a hard court – by eliminating Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-2 in the day’s opening semifinal.

The 116th-ranked Rogers, who is from South Carolina, was coming off a quarterfinal upset of Serena Williams on Friday.

Both of Teichmann’s previous WTA titles came on clay in 2019, at Palermo, Italy, and Prague.

“Everyone thinks I’m just a clay-court player. I think I’ve proven now that it’s not only this way,” Teichmann said. “I’ve been feeling great on hard courts since, let’s say, the beginning of the year.”

As for her 2-0 record in past WTA finals, Teichmann said: “That doesn’t mean anything, (but) for sure, I’m going to the final confident.”

She broke Rogers to open the second set Saturday and then faced one key moment while serving up 3-2. Teichmann was down love-40, but erased each of those three break points, held serve and didn’t cede another game.

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

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

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.”