Top-seed Pegula, past champ Keys advance in Charleston Open

charleston open
Michele Eve Sandberg/Getty Images

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Top-seeded Jessica Pegula and past champion Madison Keys easily won second-round matches at the Charleston Open.

Pegula, the American ranked third in the world, needed less than 65 minutes to beat Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-2, 6-0.

Keys, an American who took this title in 2019, worked a couple of minutes more (69) to oust countrywoman Hailey Baptiste 6-1, 6-2 in the season’s opening clay-court tournament.

Defending champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland ran past Canadian Katherine Sebov 6-0, 6-3.

Pegula said the tournament at the Credit One Tennis Center feels familiar to her since she used to train at the facility when she grew up on Hilton Head Island, about two hours south of Charleston.

“It was a fun kind of period of my life, like maturing and growing into my career, and, yeah, figuring things out,” she said. “So it was a great time, and I loved everyone here.”

Pegula used a strong service game and steady groundstrokes to win the first four games of the match. She finished winning more than 71% of her first serves and did not have a double fault.

“I guess that’s how you want to play first match on clay and with a quick turnaround coming off the hard court,” Pegula said. “So just glad I got a good win.”

Keys put on a dominant show as well, winning all six break points Baptiste had against her.

In other matches, No. 3 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia topped Madison Brengle of the United States, 6-2, 6-1; seventh-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia defeated countrywoman Yulia Putintseva, 6-1, 6-3; eighth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland needed three sets to get past Varvara Gracheva of Russia, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4; 12th-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 7-5, 7-6 (6); and 15th-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania defeated American Sofia Kenin, 6-1, 6-4.

Fifth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia fell to countrywoman Diana Shnaider, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

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

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

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

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

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.