ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Aryna Sabalenka reached the final of the Abu Dhabi Open on Tuesday after winning her 14th straight match and will face Veronika Kudermetova for the first WTA title of the year.
Sabalenka had eight aces in her 6-3, 6-2 victory over Maria Sakkari. Kudermetova defeated 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (8), 6-4.
“I’m really looking forward to this final,” Sabalenka said. “I’m just focusing on the right things. This helps me to, first of all, not think about all these wins, and secondly, to keep winning.”
Sabalenka finished last season with wins at the indoor tournaments in Ostrava and Linz and has won her first five matches of the new season in Abu Dhabi. The Belarusian is 8-4 in career tour finals and has won her last five.
Sabalenka will rise to seventh in the rankings if she wins the title on Wednesday.
“She gave me zero chances to come back,” Sakkari said of the match against Sabalenka. “I just couldn’t find a way. From the baseline she was dictating and playing really big.”
Kudermetova reached her first tour final after saving a set point in the tiebreaker against Kostyuk.
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.
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.”