Cilic overcomes Dzumhur at Kremlin Cup in match of ex-champs

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MOSCOW — Marin Cilic began his bid for a third Kremlin Cup trophy by beating another former champion Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

Cilic ended a three-match losing streak. He won in Moscow in 2014 and 2015.

Dzumhur won here in 2017. But this weekend he came through qualifying to play his first main draw match on tour since July.

Cilic earned his 19th tour-level title on Stuttgart grass in June and, at No. 6, was the only men’s seed in action on Monday. The leading seeds were all locals; Andry Rublev, champion of the last Kremlin Cup in 2019, Aslan Karatsev, and Karen Khachanov, the 2018 champ.

On the women’s side, Alja Tomljanovic of Australia spoiled the main draw debut of Liudmila Samsonova in her home event by winning 6-2, 6-4.

Tomljanovic set up a second-round match with top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, who received a wild card to play her first tournament since reaching the U.S. Open semifinals.

The Aussie has a win over Sabalenka in her past and brings some form to their fifth career matchup after downing Garbine Muguruza last week at Indian Wells. Muguruza is at the other end of the draw this week as the second seed.

Former champion and regular threat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had a bye as one of the top four seeds, and learned her second-round match will be against Bernarda Pera, the American who defeated Aliaksandra Krunic of Serbia 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Another Russian, Anna Kalinskaya, beat Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 7-6 (5), 6-4 and will meet fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari for the first time.

Mikael Ymer fined about $40K after default for hitting umpire stand with racket

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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.”

Debutant Stearns beats former champ Ostapenko to reach French Open 3rd round

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PARIS — French Open debutant Peyton Stearns produced the biggest win of her career by defeating former champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the third round at Roland Garros.

Stearns, a former player at the University of Texas, only turned professional in June last year.

Ostapenko won the 2017 French Open but has since failed to advance past the 3rd round. The 17th-seeded Latvian dropped her serve five times against Stearns and hit 28 unforced errors in her 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 loss.

The 21-year-old Stearns has been climbing the WTA rankings and entered the French Open at No. 69 on the back of an encouraging clay-court campaign.

Third-seeded Jessica Pegula also advanced after Camila Giorgi retired due to injury. The American led 6-2 when her Italian rival threw in the towel.

Only hours after husband Gael Monfils won a five-set thriller, Elina Svitolina rallied past qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

In the men’s bracket, former runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas ousted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2. The fifth-seeded Greek was a bit slow to find his range and was made to work hard for two sets but rolled on after he won the tiebreaker.

No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 3 Novak Djokovic are on court later. Alcaraz meets Taro Daniel on Court Philippe Chatrier, where Djokovic will follow against Martin Fucsovics in the night session.