Fritz, Isner, Keys lead U.S. contingent at Indian Wells

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Taylor Fritz defeated Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2) in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open, making him one of four American men still alive in the desert tournament.

Fritz reached the semifinals at Indian Wells last year, his career-best result in an ATP Masters 1000 event. The son of former WTA Tour pro Kathy May has been on an upward trajectory since, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open in January – his best showing yet in a Grand Slam event.

John Isner beat 14th-seeded Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 to reach the fourth round. The 6-foot-11 American capitalized on his 16-inch height advantage, blasting 13 aces and frustrating Schwartzman with clever drop shots. Isner didn’t even need any tiebreakers; 18 of his 30 sets played this year have ended in tiebreakers.

Two other Americans, Tommy Paul and wild-card Steve Johnson, got beat. Paul lost to 29th-seeded Alex de Minaur, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Johnson dropped a 7-6 (7), 6-3 decision to 11th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz.

“Tommy is really close to cracking into being seeded at slams,” Fritz said. “Reilly (Opelka) is consistently beating very, very good players. It’s not weird to see these guys beating really good players, having solid results.”

American Frances Tiafoe lost to No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4.

Two more Americans have big fourth-round matches. No. 17 seed Opelka plays 21-time major champion Rafael Nadal, while Jenson Brooksby takes on defending champion and 12th-seeded Cameron Norrie.

“For the first time in a while you can actually say American tennis on the men’s side is very promising,” Isner said. “We have a lot of players in the top 100. I do think getting two players in the top 10 sometime in the near future is very conceivable.”

In women’s fourth-round action, Madison Keys beat British qualifier Harriett Dart, 6-1, 6-4. Keys is the last American woman still in the tournament.

“I really just kind of buckled down,” Keys said. “If I got a second serve, I was going to be more aggressive. When I got the opportunity, I was going to go for it.”

No. 3 seed Iga Swiatek outlasted three-time major champion and former No. 1 player Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“I felt like she wanted to use her experience and kind of trick me,” Swiatek said. “I like that because it’s like a new experience for me. I’m pretty proud of myself that I could win against such a smart player.”

Defending champion Paula Badosa defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals.

Simona Halep, the 2015 champion, beat Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-4. The Romanians played for the first time in 12 years and have split their four meetings.

“I feel like I played perfect in the first set,” Halep said. “The second set was a little bit tougher because I started to miss. She started to play a little bit better. But I think it’s a strong victory for me.”

Petra Martic of Croatia beat No. 28 Liudmila Samsonova 7-6 (6), 6-4. No. 6 Maria Sakkari advanced when qualifier Daria Saville retired trailing 4-1 because of a left thigh injury.

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.”

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.