Zverev edges Sinner in Monte Carlo classic to reach semis

Alexander Zverev
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MONACO — Alexander Zverev prevailed against Jannik Sinner 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in a Monte Carlo Masters classic to reach the semifinals of the clay-court season opener.

Sinner overcame an early break to win the first set, and Zverev repaid the favor in the second. Zverev fought back twice from a break down in the third set and had to force the quarterfinal to a tiebreaker.

In a match with 10 service breaks, half of the tiebreaker points went against serve, and Zverev finally won after more than three hours when Sinner netted.

Second-seeded Zverev will meet defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals on Saturday.

Tsitispas overcame Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4. The fifth-ranked Greek breezed through the first set, but squandered a 5-2 lead in the second. He had to claw back from 4-0 down in the decider to serve out the match in just under three hours.

“I think I let go,” Tsitsipas said of the missed opportunity to win in straight sets.

“There was a moment in the match where I felt like what I was trying to do out on the court wasn’t really working. I wanted to stay as long as possible on court. I loosened up a little bit and focused on shot after shot … that worked out very well.”

Novak Djokovic’s conqueror, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain, knocked out Taylor Fritz of the U.S. 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Davidovich Fokina broke the 10th seed at 3-3 in the decider to line up his first semifinal in a masters event with Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

“I am enjoying every point,” Davidovich Fokina said. “I stayed focused and believed in myself.”

Dimitrov edged Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2). The unseeded Bulgarian dropped two match points in the deciding set before taking it in a tiebreaker.

“I didn’t really want to focus much on if I’m going to win or lose, because it’s not always the best thing,” Dimitrov said. “I was seeing quite a few cracks in the way he was attacking the ball, especially in the tiebreak.”

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.