Berrettini beats Ruud to advance Italy at United Cup

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SYDNEY — Matteo Berrettini beat world No. 3 Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-4 to lead Italy past Norway and into the Brisbane City Final of the United Cup.

Berrettini’s win gave Italy and unassailable 3-0 lead over Norway and ensured it will finish atop Group E at the mixed teams tournament and will face either Poland or Switzerland.

Ruud had twice beaten Berrettini in 2022, in the final at Gstaad and in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, winning five straight sets against the Italian. Berrettini turned the tables at the Pat Rafter Arena, coming out strong and winning the match in 1 hour, 26 minutes.

“The goal is to have the longest run possible,” Berrettini said. “It’s super nice to play with my teammates. We know each other since a really young age. It’s crazy and now we’re representing Italy. It’s such an honor for us.”

Ruud showed good form on hard courts in 2022, reaching an ATP 1000 final and the championship match at the ATP Finals. But Berrettini was the more aggressive player in hot conditions in Brisbane.

Berrettini faced two break points at 2-3 in the first set and if Ruud had converted, he might have taken control of the match. But the Norwegian wasn’t able to put a return in court on either point as Berrettini met the challenge with two booming services. He finished with 10 aces and won 88% of first serve points.

“Casper, he’s a super-solid player,” Berrettini said. “He improved so much in the past year so I knew that I had to serve my best.”

In Perth, Maria Sakkari earned Greece a Perth City Final place with a 6-1, 7-5 defeat of Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

Greece required only two points from the final tie of Group A to advance and Sakkari’s win backed up compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas’ defeat of David Goffin.

“It was a very solid match from my side,” Sakkari said. “Obviously I was nervous in the beginning because I knew my match was crucial, but I managed to play a good game, even though in some moments it wasn’t pretty. I’m very happy I was able to get us through the group stages.”

In Sydney, the United States completed a 5-0 win over Germany with wins by Jessica Pegula against Laura Siegemund and Frances Tiafoe over Oscar Otte. Pegula and Taylor Fritz then combined to beat Julia Lohoff and Fabian Fallert in the mixed doubles as the United States topped Group C.

The U.S. will play Britain in the Sydney City Final.

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

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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.

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.”