Nadal out injured at least 1 month in lead-up to French Open

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MADRID — Rafael Nadal will be sidelined for four to six weeks because of a rib injury, putting in jeopardy his preparations for the French Open in two months.

Nadal said he underwent exams after arriving in Spain from the United States and results showed he has a stress fracture on one of his left ribs.

The injury was sustained in the semifinals at Indian Wells against Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal then lost in the final to Taylor Fritz in two sets.

“This is not good news and I didn’t expect it,” Nadal wrote on Twitter. “I’m devastated and sad because it comes after a great start to the season.”

Nadal was 20-0 to begin the season, including winning the Australian Open, before losing to Fritz 6-3, 7-6 (5) at the hard-court tournament in California. It was the third-best start to a season since 1990 on the ATP Tour. Nadal also won titles in Melbourne and Acapulco.

“I was getting to a very important part of the season feeling well and with good results,” Nadal said. “But well, I’ve always had this fighting spirit and what I’ll do is be patient and work hard after recovering.”

The 35-year-old Nadal was treated by a trainer during the final against Fritz and afterward said the problem began the night before during the semifinals against Alcaraz.

Nadal had said he was not sure what exactly caused the discomfort, saying it was “painful” and “very uncomfortable” when he tried to breathe.

Nadal’s winning streak to begin 2022 included his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.

The third-ranked Nadal will try to win a record-extending 14th French Open title at Roland Garros this year. He lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of last year’s tournament in Paris.

Nadal’s participation at the Madrid Open at the end of April will likely depend on how his recovery progresses. The Spaniard is a five-time champion in Madrid. He is not likely to play in the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open next month.

Nadal had already decided to skip this week’s tournament in Florida and head home to Spain to prepare for the clay-court season.

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

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The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.