Goffin and Thompson reach 2nd round at Monte Carlo Masters

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MONACO — David Goffin beat an erratic Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 to reach the second round of the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.

Although the 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic had 10 aces and led the match 3-0, he made 52 unforced errors and also dropped serve six times against the 11th-seeded Belgian.

It was the ninth meeting between them. Goffin leads 5-4.

“In the first and second set, I had problems with the returns,” the 30-year-old Goffin said. “In the third set, I was more consistent. It was a good match.”

The day’s only other match lasted three hours as Australian player Jordan Thompson overcame Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5) in an error-strewn match with 17 service breaks.

Thompson has won his two career matches against Paire, with both on clay.

Rafael Nadal seeks a record-extending 12th title here and the 20-time Grand Slam champion could meet top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the Australian Open champion, in next Sunday’s final.

Djokovic beat Nadal in the 2013 final and won the tournament again in 2015, while Nadal’s 11th title came in 2018.

Nadal was convincingly beaten by Fabio Fognini in the semifinals in 2019, and the tournament was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Unseeded Parks beats top-seeded Garcia for her 1st title

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LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.

“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.

Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.

The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.

“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.

The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.

“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”

Zhu beats Tsurenko to win Thailand Open

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.

In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.

The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.

Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.

The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.

Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.