Nadal beats Norrie in Acapulco for his 91st career title

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ACAPULCO, Mexico — Rafael Nadal said earlier in the week that he wasn’t aware of his career statistics. Now, he might want to have a look at them.

The 35-year-old Spaniard defeated Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 to win the Mexican Open and extend his career-best start for a season to 15-0 as he won his 91st ATP title.

Nadal, who won his third title in 2022, including the Australian Open for his record 21st Grand Slam singles title, is three victories from tying Ivan Lendl’s total of 94 for third place for most championships in the Open Era. Jimmy Connors leads with 109 and Roger Federer has 103.

“At the end of the day I’ve always said that this kind of records needs to be measured once your career is over,” said Nadal. “Today the most important thing is that I have won a prestigious tournament.”

The Mexican Open is an ATP 500-level tournament played on hard courts and this year four of the top-five players in the world started in the draw – Daniil Medvedev (2), Alexander Zverev (3), Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) and Nadal (5).

Medvedev, who will rise to No. 1 in the rankings on Monday, lost to Nadal in the semifinals. Zverev was thrown out of the tournament for violently smashing his racket on the umpire’s chair moments after losing a doubles match, while Tsitsipas lost to Norrie in the other semifinal.

“(Acapulco) is a tournament that started with five of the top six players in the world, it was complicated, and I ended up taking the victory,” added Nadal. “Looking back, a few weeks ago this would have looked impossible, it’s amazing how things can change in such a short span, from not being able to practice and now to be where I am today.”

The Spaniard won for the fourth time in Acapulco (2005, 2013 and 2020) where he is a fan favorite.

He won his first title in Mexico when he was 18 and holds the record for the youngest winner in tournament history as well as the oldest at 35.

“It’s been a long career, the first time I came here everything was new for me and after all these years you start to appreciate more each victory than when you were an 18-year-old boy,” said Nadal.

The Spaniard said that his body is holding up well and is eager to play at Indian Wells, California, in a couple of weeks.

Norrie, who was on an eight-game winning streak, was trying to become the first British man to win the Mexican Open in its 29-year history.

“I played against him before, so I had an idea on how to play him, but I gave him a couple of easy points and he gave me nothing,” said Norrie. “It was little bit of lack of concentration, and I gave him the match.”

At the start of the match, Nadal had a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and went on to win the first set in 51 minutes.

In the second set, Nadal had a break in the first game, but Norrie returned it and appeared to be back into the match, but the Spaniard added breaks in the fifth and seventh games to take home the trophy.

In the doubles final, Feliciano Lopez and Tsitsipas defeated Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-5, 6-4.

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
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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.”