Alcaraz and Norrie into Rio semis, eye 2nd final in 2 weeks

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RIO DE JANEIRO – A rematch is in sight for Carlos Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie in the Rio Open final.

Both advanced to the semifinals of the clay-court tournament and could repeat last weekend’s Argentina Open decider, which the Spaniard won.

Defending Rio Open champion Alcaraz beat Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6 (0). He will take on Nicolas Jarry, who topped Sebastian Baez 6-3, 7-6 (3).

The Chilean was suspended for doping for 11 months in 2020 and is trying climb back in the rankings since February of last year. His best ranking was No. 38, but today he is now No. 139.

Once again, the 19-year-old Alcaraz did not play his best tennis in Brazil, as in his first two matches, but still prevailed. Unforced errors, difficulties with the first service and less energy than the usual were evident throughout the Spaniard’s match against Lajovic.

Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open for his first major, is playing his second tournament since a right leg injury that sidelined him for four months.

Alcaraz and Jarry have never played each other in a tour match.

“I feel I am at a great level physically, I am playing tough, demanding matches day after day,” Alcaraz said. “Last year I was at a great level, winning here, Miami, other tournaments. I can still improve what I am doing now, obviously.”

Second-seeded Norrie overcame Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. The British player will next take on Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who beat Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

“I had a very slow start, I didn’t make a lot of returns, which is pretty unlike me,” Norrie said. “I was fortunate to stay patient.”

At French Open, Francisco Cerundolo is mad at chair umpire over Holger Rune’s double-bounce

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PARIS – Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina was devastated about losing his French Open fourth-round match to Holger Rune of Denmark in a fifth-set tiebreaker Monday. He also was mad at chair umpire Kader Nouni for missing a double-bounce of the ball on a point that was awarded to Rune early in his 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) victory.

They were tied at a set apiece and on serve at 2-1 for the No. 6-seeded Rune early in the third at Court Suzanne Lenglen when the point of contention happened. Cerundolo, who was serving at deuce, hit a forehand that skidded low at the baseline and quickly bounced a second time – which normally would have meant that the point was his.

But Rune went ahead and got his racket on the ball, sending it back over the net. At about the same time, No. 23 seed Cerundolo was saying “sorry” to apologize for the odd way his forehand made the ball skim across the clay. Nouni was not immediately aware of the double-bounce, thought the ball was still in play and called Cerundolo for hindrance for talking during a point. That meant Rune got the point, and when he won the next one, too, he had a service break.

“It was unbelievable, because it was a clear double-bounce. I was mad at the umpire because he has to see it,” Cerundolo said. “It’s his fault.”

In tennis, electronic line-calling is used at many tournaments to make line calls, but replays are not used to check things like double-bounces or whether a point should be lost because a player touches the net, which is not allowed.

And while Cerundolo put the onus on the official, he also thought Rune could have ceded the point because of the double-bounce.

“For sure, I wish he would have done that, because it was a big moment,” Cerundolo said.

Rune, who moved into a matchup against No. 4 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, said he saw a replay after the following point, and “saw it was a double bounce. But the point already happened, and he called the score. So I felt sorry.”

But, Rune added: “This is tennis. This is sports. Some umpires, they make mistakes. Some for me; some for him. That’s life.”

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.