Serena Williams loses in straight sets to Siniakova in Parma

Getty Images
3 Comments

PARMA, Italy — Serena Williams’ disappointing return to tennis continued when she lost in straight sets to 68th-ranked Katerina Siniakova in the second round of the Emilia-Romagna Open.

Top-seeded Williams, who accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma tournament after losing her opening match at the Italian Open last week, was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-2.

She had beaten teenage qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in the previous round for her first victory since defeating Simona Halep in the Australian Open quarterfinals in February. After some time off, Williams then lost in straight sets in Rome to Nadia Podoroska.

Williams is preparing for the French Open in Paris which starts on May 30.

“I didn’t do a lot of mistakes, and I think she felt it,” Siniakova said. “I think she was trying to go harder and doing a lot of mistakes, which helped me. I’m really happy I could keep my level all match.”

Siniakova saved a set point at 5-4 down in the opening set and that appeared to give the Czech player confidence as after securing the tiebreak she pulled away in the second to win 16 of the last 18 points.

The 39-year-old Williams racked up double faults under pressure and Siniakova sealed the result on her third match point when the American hit a forehand long. Williams had seven double faults for the match.

“It’s amazing, it means a lot to me,” Siniakova said after the sixth Top 10 victory of her career. “I played (an) amazing match. It shows me that I can play like this, I can play well. I just need to try be more focused every time and to stay calm and ready for every point. I will be really happy if I could keep it like this.”

Former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens reached the quarterfinals after rallying to beat fourth-seeded Daria Kasatkina 1-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Third-seeded Coco Gauff eliminated Kaia Kanepi 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7) in a first-round match. Second-seeded Petra Martic also got her Parma campaign off to a good start by beating Varvara Gracheva 6-4, 6-2.

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

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
0 Comments

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.”