NEW YORK — Aryna Sabalenka returned to the U.S. Open semifinals with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over Karolina Pliskova.
Sabalenka is the only player still alive in either draw who reached the final four in Flushing Meadows last year. She lost to runner-up Leylah Fernandez in the semifinals.
The No. 6 seed from Belarus will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek or No. 8 Jessica Pegula for a spot in her first Grand Slam final.
“I’m ready for it,” Sabalenka said. “I’m ready for another fight.”
She reached her only other major semifinal last year at Wimbledon, where Pliskova beat her before falling to Ash Barty.
Sabalenka quickly showed this matchup would be much different, racing to a 4-0 lead against the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up and wrapping up the first set in 28 minutes.
Frances Tiafoe, coming off his upset of No. 2 Rafael Nadal, faced No. 9 Andrey Rublev in one men’s quarterfinal. No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 11 Jannik Sinner were to meet in the late match.
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.
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.”