Ons Jabeur beats Jessica Pegula in Chicago

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CHICAGO — Ons Jabeur was hardly thrilled about needing to wake up at 5:30 a.m. ahead of her 9 a.m. match and got off to a slow start before reaching the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic quarterfinals by coming back to beat Jessica Pegula 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The sixth-seeded Jabeur advanced to face No. 1 seed Elina Svitolina, who defeated Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 6-3.

“Last time I woke up at 5:30 was probably for preseason (training) or to take a flight, not to play a match,” said Jabeur, a 27-year-old Tunisian who is ranked a career-best No. 16 this week. “But I can’t complain much.”

She said she tried to do everything an hour or so earlier than usual, such as eating and going to bed; she was ready to sleep at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

“Starting against Jessica is not easy, anyway – 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. is never easy,” Jabeur said. “So I’m glad that I got the rhythm later.”

Her 42 tour wins in 2021 are second only to No. 2-ranked Aryna Sabalenka’s 43.

Other seeded women reaching the quarterfinals at the hard-court tournament included No. 2 Garbine Muguruza – the two-time Grand Slam champion moved on when two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka pulled out before their match was supposed to begin – No. 3 Belinda Bencic, No. 5 Elena Rybakina and No. 10 Danielle Collins. But No. 16 Jil Teichmann lost 6-4, 6-3 to unseeded Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 French Open runner-up.

No reason was immediately given for Azarenka’s withdrawal from the tournament. Muguruza next meets qualifier Mai Hontama, a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 winner against Shelby Rogers

Bencic beat Tereza Martincova 6-2, 7-6 (5), Rybakina got past No. 12 Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (4), 7-5, and Collins defeated No. 7 Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-4. Mertens had her upper left leg wrapped by a trainer after taking a medical timeout early in the second set.

Bencic faces Rybakina, while Collins takes on Vondrousova.

Jabeur entered Thursday’s match with a 0-2 career record against the ninth-seeded Pegula. That included a loss at Montreal in August when Jabeur served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, got broken and ended up losing in three.

That match was on Jabeur’s mind this time, including when she served for the victory at 5-3 in the third set. She went up 40-love but got too defensive, Jabeur acknowledged afterward, and the first three match points disappeared, two on forehand winners by Pegula.

Jabeur then needed to save a pair of break points before closing things out with an ace and a service winner to reach her sixth quarterfinal of the season, including at Wimbledon in July.

“I am happy,” Jabeur said, “that the same scenario that happened in Montreal did not repeat itself today.”

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

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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.”