Rebeka Masarova Upsets Maria Sakkari in US Open First Round to Earn First Win Against Top 10 Player

Rebeka Masarova is celebrating an important win…

The 24-year-old Swiss-born Spanish tennis player picked up her first Top 10 win with a 6-4, 6-4 upset victory over Maria Sakkari in the first round of the US Open on Monday.

Rebeka Masarova

Masarova, ranked No. 71 in the world, had previously been 0-4 against Top 10 opponents, but took her chances by converting all three break points created to dispatch the No. 8 seed after 87 minutes.

The last time Masarova won an outdoor hard-court match in the main draw of a tour-level event? January 7, when she beat Ysaline Bonaventure to make her maiden WTA final in Auckland. Masarova’s US Open preparation saw her fall in the first round of Cincinnati qualifying before picking up a pair of wins at the WTA 125 in Chicago.

For Sakkari, her 2023 at the majors ends with three straight opening-round exits. One could understand her Roland Garros departure at the hands of eventual finalist Karolina Muchova, who had also won their encounter at the Paris major a year earlier. The same can’t be said for Wimbledon, where she bageled Marta Kostyuk in the first set only to lose 7-5 in a decider. Worth reminding that like Masarova, Kostyuk had never beaten a Top 10 opponent with a 0-14 mark going into that encounter.

Sakkari came into Flushing Meadows at No. 13 in the Race to the WTA Finals. A year after a run to the WTA 1000 Guadalajara title match clinched the final berth to the season finale (held in Fort Worth, Texas), the former world No. 3 will need an even bigger fourth quarter boost to get back to the prestigious year-end event.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Rallies to Beat Casper Ruud at the Canadian Open

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has pulled off a major upset… 

The 24-year-old Spanish professional tennis player earned his fifth Top 10 win on Thursday when he claimed a hard-fought 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(4) victory against World No. 5 Casper Ruud at the Canadian Open.

Alejandro Davidovich FokinaAfter Davidovich Fokina clinched the first set, play was suspended for one hour and 34 minutes due to rain. Ruud came out firing on the resumption and was two points away from victory, leading 5-3, 30/0 in the third set before the Spaniard came roaring back to clinch a thrilling victory after three hours and three minutes in Toronto.

Davidovich Fokina hit 58 winners and played aggressively in the late stages of the deciding set, advancing to his fourth ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

“I kept very focused on every point,” Davidovich Fokina said. “He had the serve to close out the match, but I was focused on every point to be there and not give up. It was very tough. We played long rallies, with a lot of pressure. When I broke for 4-5, it was a show of power to finish the match.”

With his first Top 10 win on a hard court, Davidovich Fokina improved to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Ruud, whose best result this year was a run to the final at Roland Garros.

The World No. 37 will meet Mackenzie McDonald in the quarterfinals.

Beatriz Haddad Maia Advances to Fourth Round at Wimbledon for First Time

Beatriz Haddad Maia has advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time at Wimbledon.

The 27-year-old Brazilian professional tennis player moved into the fourth round at the All England Club by besting Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2 on No. 3 Court on Saturday.

Beatriz Haddad MaiaHaddad Maia came into the match behind in the head-to-head, with Cirstea having won four of their five prior meetings.

But this time, Haddad Maia perfectly mixed powerful hitting with outrageous defense to earn the victory in exactly 90 minutes — mere seconds before a two-hour rain delay hit the grounds.

Haddad Maia, who cracked the Top 10 for two weeks last month, won 80 percent of her first-serve points on the day. She also dominated when returning the Cirstea second serve, winning 15 of those 21 points, and turning that into five service breaks.

After not passing the second round in her first 11 Grand Slam main draws, Haddad Maia has now reached the second week at two consecutive majors. She broke her second-round barrier with a historic semifinal appearance at Roland Garros last month, only falling to eventual French Open champion Iga Swiatek.

She’ll face defending champion Elena Rybakina in the Round of 16.

Carlos Alcaraz Returns to No. 1 in ATP World Rankings, Expected to Earn No. 1 Seed at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz is officially back on top…

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis player has replaced Novak Djokovic at No. 1 in the ATP rankings, meaning he’s expected to have the top seeding at Wimbledon.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz, the reigning US Open champion, is coming off the first grass-court title of his career, which he won on Sunday by beating Alex De Minaur in the final at Queen’s Club in London, and that helped him rise one spot from No. 2.

Djokovic, who picked up his men’s-record 23rd Grand Slam title at the French Open this month, chose not to play any tune-up tournaments on grass ahead of Wimbledon and slid down one place.

It is the sixth time the No. 1 ranking has switched in 2023, the most since it happened seven times in 2018.

Play begins at Wimbledon on Monday, July 3.

The All England Club will announce the men’s and women’s seeds Wednesday and is expected to simply follow the ATP and WTA rankings for those 32 berths in each 128-player singles draw. That would put Alcaraz and the leading woman, Iga Swiatek, in the top line of each bracket.

Swiatek remained at No. 1 — as she has for every week since first climbing to that position in April 2022 — on Monday, a little more than two weeks after she won the French Open for the third time. Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka kept her hold on No. 2, and defending Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina is at No. 3. Jessica Pegula moved up to No. 4, switching with new No. 5 Caroline Garcia.

Wimbledon’s seedings used to be based on a formula that took into account players’ recent success there and at other events contested on grass courts. But with only the rankings mattering now, there is the unusual situation of even last year’s results at the All England Club not mattering — because the ATP and WTA chose to withhold all rankings points that would have been earned at Wimbledon in 2022 to protest the club’s decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine.

That war continues, but the club is allowing Russians and Belarusians to compete this time.

Djokovic has won Wimbledon each of the past four times it was held — in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022; the tournament was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic — and seven times in all.

“I mean, Novak is the main favorite to win Wimbledon. That’s obvious,” Alcaraz said. “But I will try to play at this level, to have chances to beat him or make the final at Wimbledon.”

If they are indeed seeded Nos. 1 and 2, Alcaraz and Djokovic could meet only in the championship match on July 16. At Roland Garros, Alcaraz was the No. 1 seed at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time; Djokovic was No. 3, and they were drawn to meet in the semifinals. The first two sets were terrific, but then Alcaraz faded because of full-body cramps he attributed, at least in part, to tension, and Djokovic took the last two sets 6-1, 6-1 on the way to the trophy.

There was no other major change in the men’s rankings Monday, with Daniil Medvedev still at No. 3, followed by Casper Ruud at No. 4 and Stefanos Tsitsipas at No. 5. Taylor Fritz, who is from California, and Frances Tiafoe, who is from Maryland, were at Nos. 9-10, remaining the first pair of American men in the top 10 in more than a decade.

Beatriz Haddad Maia Becomes First Brazilian Woman to Reach Top 10 of the WTA Rankings

Beatriz Haddad Maia’s French Open dream run may have fallen short of a title, but it still lead to a piece of history.

The 27-year-old Brazilian professional tennis player has become the first Brazilian woman to reach the top 10 of the WTA rankings after reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros.

Beatriz Haddad MaiaHaddad Maia beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals in Paris to become the first Brazilian woman in 55 years to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

She was beaten by eventual champion Iga Swiatek.

Brazilian women’s tennis has had precious little success since the days of Maria Bueno, who won seven Grand Slam titles between 1959 and 1966 — long before the WTA rankings were introduced in 1975.

Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten reached No. 1 in the men’s ATP rankings in 2000.

Haddad Maia will take a ranking of No. 10 into the grass-court season in which she impressed last year and will feature in this week’s Nottingham Open as buildup to Wimbledon begins.

Swiatek, who won her third career French Open title Saturday, and Aryna Sabalenka remained at Nos. 1-2 in the rankings, while Elena Rybakina and Caroline Garcia each moved up one spot to Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. American Jessica Pegula rounded out the top five.

Leylah Fernandez Reaches First-Ever Grand Slam Final in Doubles at French Open

Leylah Fernandez is thisclose to a first Grand Slam title…

The 20-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian professional tennis player and her women’s doubles partner Taylor Townsend, the No. 10 sends at the French Open, needed only 64 minutes to book their place in a first Grand Slam final together, defeating No. 2 seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula 6-0, 6-4 at Roland Garros.

Leylah Fernandez, Taylor TownsendFor Fernandez, the 2021 US Open runner-up in singles, the result marks her first Grand Slam final in doubles.

Townsend advances to her second major final, having been runner-up alongside Caty McNally at last year’s US Open to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. French Open

They will face unseeded Hsieh Su-Wei and Wang Xinyu for the title, after they upset No. 6 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez in the other semifinal, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

They will face unseeded Hsieh Su-Wei and Wang Xinyu for the title, after they upset No. 6 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez in the other semifinal, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

The Canadian-American duo first teamed up at Indian Wells in March, and their record together now stands at 14-4.

The defeat of Gauff and Pegula reverses the result of the Miami final, which the all-American team won 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Townsend also exacted a measure of revenge for last year’s Roland Garros semifinals, which – partnered with Madison Keys — she lost 6-4, 7-6(4) to Gauff and Pegula.

“I’m just honestly so proud of how we were able to play and perform,” Townsend said afterwards. “I told Leylah after the match, ‘This is what we have been building towards over the past couple of months.’ From where we started as a team and just figuring each other out to now, understanding each other so well and being able to play such great, consistent tennis/

“Especially I’m really proud of how we were able to kind of put our last result behind us. We lost to Jess and Coco in the finals in Miami, and we were able to learn from it, detach from the result, and then just understand and take what we learned in that match and apply it into this one. I’m so proud of like how we were able to stay focused and committed to what we were doing on our side of the net and not worry about what they were doing.

“I’m so proud, but, you know, work is not done. We’ve still got one more. You know, this match, I’m sure for Leylah, as well, this match has made me even more hungry to hold the winning trophy.”

Beatriz Haddad Maia Outlasts Ons Jabeur to Reach French Open Semifinals

Beatriz Haddad Maia is continuing her historic run at the French Open

The 27-year-old Brazilian tennis player notched another comeback win at Roland Garros, pulling off an upset win over Ons Jabeur 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 on Wednesday to become the first Brazilian woman since 1968 to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

Beatriz Haddad Maia The 14th-seeded Haddad Maia shook off a slow start against the seventh-seeded Jabeur on Court Philippe Chatrier and will next face Iga Swiatek in the semifinals.

After playing nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, Haddad Maia won only one service game in the first set. But she saved the only two break points she faced in the second set — both in the 11th game to go up 6-5 — and won the tiebreaker.

Haddad Maia started the deciding set with a double break and a 3-0 lead. A frustrated Jabeur flipped her racket in the air after sending an easy backhand wide on a break-point opportunity while down 4-1. Haddad Maia won the game and served out the match.

“I had to be patient and keep doing the shots because she is a pretty good player, one of the best in the world,” Haddad Maia said. “So I am proud of me and my team today because it is not easy playing her. You think you have another shot to play [in a rally] but then drop shot, winner. I always believed that the match is long.”

Haddad Maia, who in 2019 was provisionally suspended for failing a doping test, is the first Brazilian woman to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros in the Open era. Maria Bueno reached the last four at the 1966 French Open and made the 1968 US Open semifinals.

Haddad Maia’s fourth-round win over Sorribes Tormo, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5, was the longest WTA match of the year, clocking in at 3 hours, 51 minutes. She has dropped the first set in her past three matches and has played three sets in all but her first-round victory.

Entering the French Open, Haddad Maia was 1-11 in Grand Slams when losing the first set.

The last Brazilian player to win a singles title at the French Open was Gustavo Kuerten, who claimed his third championship at Roland Garros in 2001.

Beatriz Haddad Maia Becomes First Brazilian Woman in 55 Years to Reach Grand Slam Quarterfinals

Beatriz Haddad Maia has earned a place in Brazilian tennis history…

The 27-year-old Brazilian professional tennis player became the first Brazilian woman in 55 years to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam when she beat Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-7(3) 6-3 7-5 at the French Open on Monday.

Maria Bueno, who won seven singles titles at the slams, was the last Brazilian woman to reach the quarterfinals at a major in 1968, although Haddad Maia says she still cannot compare with the great “dancing tennis player”.

“She’s a person who inspired us for a lot of years. I think she’s a very powerful woman,” 14th seed Haddad Maia told a press conference after winning the longest women’s match at this year’s tournament.

“I have a picture with her in Wimbledon. That was a lucky day. Also, I met her a few times in Sao Paulo. Unfortunately, she passed away (in 2018) but we chatted a few times.

“I’m very proud to represent Brazil. But for sure I don’t compare myself with her, because for me, she’s on another level, like Guga (Kuerten).”

Haddad Maia, the tournament’s No. 14 seed, will next face No. 7 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.

Tomas Martin Etcheverry Defeats Yoshihito Nishioka to Reach First-Ever Grand Slam Quarterfinal Round at French Open

Tomas Martin Etcheverry’s dream run at the French Open continues…

The 23-year-old Argentinian tennis player moved into the last eight at Roland Garros after defeating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, the No 27 seed, 7-6 (8), 6-0, 6-1 in Paris on Monday evening.

Tomas Martin EtcheverryEtcheverry, ranked No 49, is the big surprise of all quarterfinalists in the field. In fact, this will be his first-ever appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

He took the best spot in the lower part of the draw opened by Daniil Medvedev’s early loss.

He’ll next play Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the No 22 seed.

“I just can’t believe it, it’s a dream come true”, said Etcheverry in his on-court interview. “It’s important to share this moment with my family and with the crowd. I will recover tonight and be ready for the next battle”

Etcheverry, who was a runner-up early this year in Santiago and Houston, has defeated three seeds on his road to the quarters.

He beat Jack Draper (6-4, 1-0 ret.), Alex De Minaur, the No 18 seed (6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3) and Borna Coric, the No 15 seed (6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-2) before Nishioka.\

Nishioka, ranked No 33, probably paid his time spent on the court. He had to call for the physio during the third set after three five-sets battles during the previous rounds against J.J. Wolf (1-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3), Max Purcell (4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4) and Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild (3-6, 7-6 (8), 2-6, 6-4, 6-0).

Francisco Cerundolo Defeats Taylor Fritz to Reach Fourth Round at French Open

Francisco Cerundolo is having a moment…

After entering the French Open without a main-draw win at the event, the 24-year-old Argentine professional tennis player has secured his best Grand Slam result by reaching the fourth round in Paris.

Francisco CerundoloCerundolo, the No. 23 seed, defeated ninth seed Taylor Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday evening to continue his run, improving to 6-7 against Top 10 opponents with the victory.

Cerundolo was without a win in four Grand Slam main-draw appearances prior to 2023, but reached the third round at the Australian Open before his success at Roland Garros.

His Paris campaign will continue with a showdown against sixth seed Holger Rune on Monday.

Cerundolo, who has moved up three places from his current career-high to No. 20 this week in the ATP Live Rankings, frustrated Fritz with his big forehand to earn the victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen after two hours and 50 minutes.

After surrendering an early break advantage in a dramatic fourth set, Cerundolo saved a set point on serve at 4-5 with a majestic topspin lob and ultimately won the final three games of the match behind his baseline brilliance.

The back-and-forth match saw a combined 10 breaks of serve, with Cerundolo converting on six of 21 break chances and Fritz claiming four of his 15 break points. Fritz, whose defeat means that five of the Top 10 seeds are out after three rounds at Roland Garros, fired nine aces to Cerundolo’s one. But the American was second-best in many of the neutral rallies as Cerundolo moved him from side to side with power and width.

Cerundolo, a quarterfinalist at the ATP Masters 1000s in Miami and Rome this season, was one of three Argentines in action on Saturday. While Rune breezed past Genaro Alberto Olivieri, Tomas Martin Etcheverry upset 15th seed Borna Coric 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-2 earlier in the day. With the victory, the 23-year-old Etcheverry — who reached his first two ATP Tour finals this season in Santiago and Houston — extended his best major run.

Etcheverry owned just one Grand Slam main-draw win prior to Roland Garros, his victory coming earlier this season at the Australian Open.

Next up for the unseeded Argentine is a fourth-round meeting with 27th seed Yoshihito Nishioka, a 3-6, 7-6(8), 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 winner against Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild on Saturday.