Danillo Medvedev back on ATP Tour after Wimbledon ban

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GENEVA — Watching the recent news from Ukraine is “very upsetting,” No. 2- ranked tennis player Daniil Medvedev said of the war that led Wimbledon organizers to ban him and other Russians from their tournament.

The U.S. Open champion spoke at the Geneva Open where he returns to action after a five-week absence from the ATP Tour for surgery on a hernia injury.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev said when asked if he could monitor the conflict in Ukraine more closely while not playing.

Medvedev previously said in February after Russia invaded Ukraine that he was “all for peace.”

Though most Olympic sports banned Russian teams and athletes from international competitions, tennis allowed players to continue as individuals and not representatives of their country.

Wimbledon organizers went further, announcing three weeks ago with support from the U.K. government a decision to impose a ban and “limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.”

They said that could change “if circumstances change materially” in the war before the tournament begins June 27.

Medvedev said in Geneva “I don’t know if this decision is like 100% and it’s over” for him at Wimbledon where he reached the round of 16 last year.

“If I can play, I’m going to be happy to play at Wimbledon. I love this tournament,” he said.

Appearing relaxed and smiling often in a 16-minute news conference speaking in English and French, Medvedev explained his outlook when asked about support he got from other players.

“Me, personally in life, I try to respect every opinion because every human life is different,” he said. “You show a tennis ball to 100 people I’m sure some of them are going to say it’s green, and not yellow.

“I think it’s yellow. If somebody tells me it’s green I’m not going to, you know, get in conflict with this person.”

Medvedev is top-seeded at the Geneva clay-court tournament and has a bye into the second round to face Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

The tournament will be his main preparation for the French Open. Until last year’s run to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, the 26-year-old Medvedev never got past the first round.

“It’s never been easy for me on clay court to straight away start (well),” he said. “Even one tournament is going to be good to prepare. I’m feeling good physically.”

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Sorribes Tormo beats 2nd-seeded Trevisan at Parma Open

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PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.

Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.

Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.