Andy Murray reaches 2nd round at Sydney Tennis Classic

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SYDNEY — Five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray advanced to the second round of the Sydney Tennis Classic by beating Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-1.

Murray entered the tournament with a wild card and has also been handed one for next week’s Australian Open. Since he last reached the Australian Open final in 2016, when he lost to Novak Djokovic, the 34-year-old Murray has only made it past the first round once at Melbourne Park.

Recurring hip injuries have meant he has played only one of the past four Australian Opens. The former No. 1-ranked player is now 135th.

The three-time Grand Slam champion forced Durasovic into numerous errors.

“I was hoping to get the matches in Melbourne,” Murray said, referring to a first-round loss last week. “That didn’t happen but thankfully Tennis Australia gave me the wild card to play here. I’m very grateful for that and hopefully I can be here for a few more days.”

Murray will next face 23rd-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili for a place in the quarterfinals.

Also in Sydney, U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu lost to ninth-seeded Elena Rybakina 6-0, 6-1. The 19-year-old Raducanu had delayed the start of her season, withdrawing from the Melbourne Summer Set last week following her bout with COVID-19.

Olympic champion Belinda Bencic made a successful but “wobbly” start to the 2022 season in her first match since being struck down by COVID-19. Bencic beat Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the second round in Sydney.

“I was struggling a little bit, getting to practice after COVID because the pulse was getting up and the fatigue was still there,” Bencic said. “I think I still have room to feel better and my fitness has to get better. I still feel a little bit wobbly.”

At the Adelaide International, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka lost another first-round match at an Australian Open tune-up tournament to a much lower-ranked opponent.

Sabalenka lost Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 5-7, 6-1, 7-5. Peterson came into the match ranked No. 395. Last week in the opening round of the first Adelaide International tournament, Sabalenka lost to 100th-ranked Kaja Juvan 7-6 (6), 6-1.

In other first-round matches in Adelaide, Madison Brengle beat Anastasia Potapova 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and fourth-seeded Tamara Zidansek defeated Heather Watson 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

At French Open, Francisco Cerundolo is mad at chair umpire over Holger Rune’s double-bounce

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
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PARIS – Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina was devastated about losing his French Open fourth-round match to Holger Rune of Denmark in a fifth-set tiebreaker Monday. He also was mad at chair umpire Kader Nouni for missing a double-bounce of the ball on a point that was awarded to Rune early in his 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) victory.

They were tied at a set apiece and on serve at 2-1 for the No. 6-seeded Rune early in the third at Court Suzanne Lenglen when the point of contention happened. Cerundolo, who was serving at deuce, hit a forehand that skidded low at the baseline and quickly bounced a second time – which normally would have meant that the point was his.

But Rune went ahead and got his racket on the ball, sending it back over the net. At about the same time, No. 23 seed Cerundolo was saying “sorry” to apologize for the odd way his forehand made the ball skim across the clay. Nouni was not immediately aware of the double-bounce, thought the ball was still in play and called Cerundolo for hindrance for talking during a point. That meant Rune got the point, and when he won the next one, too, he had a service break.

“It was unbelievable, because it was a clear double-bounce. I was mad at the umpire because he has to see it,” Cerundolo said. “It’s his fault.”

In tennis, electronic line-calling is used at many tournaments to make line calls, but replays are not used to check things like double-bounces or whether a point should be lost because a player touches the net, which is not allowed.

And while Cerundolo put the onus on the official, he also thought Rune could have ceded the point because of the double-bounce.

“For sure, I wish he would have done that, because it was a big moment,” Cerundolo said.

Rune, who moved into a matchup against No. 4 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, said he saw a replay after the following point, and “saw it was a double bounce. But the point already happened, and he called the score. So I felt sorry.”

But, Rune added: “This is tennis. This is sports. Some umpires, they make mistakes. Some for me; some for him. That’s life.”

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
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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.