Internationaux de Strasbourg sixth seed Dayana Yastremska cruised past Pauline Parmentier to set up a second-round tie with Samantha Stosur.

Yastremska has struggled with illness and injury since winning the Thailand Open earlier in the season, but showed no signs of fatigue on Monday, 20 May 2019.

The 19-year-old made light work of Parmentier - a former Strasbourg semi-finalist - in the first set, though the Frenchwoman rallied in the second before Yastremska prevailed on her third match point.

Next up will be Stosur, who the Ukrainian defeated in straight sets at this year's Australian Open, after the 2011 US Open champion defeated Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-1.

Top seed Ashleigh Barty starts her tournament against Daria Gavrilova on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, there were surprise defeats for eighth seed Zhang Shuai, who lost 6-4 6-1 to Astra Sharma, and fifth seed Sofia Kenin, beaten in straight sets by Chloe Paquet.

Rain prevented play in all but one match at the Nuremberg Cup, with Mona Barthel overcoming Paula Ormaechea 6-3 3-6 6-2.

Seeds Matthew Ebden and Andreas Seppi both suffered surprise defeats at the Geneva Open on Monday.

Nicolas Jarry upset Australian Ebden 6-2 7-6 (7-4), while Seppi suffered a similar fate at the hands of Hugo Dellien, who won 6-1 3-6 6-4.

Their exits have opened up a potentially easier route to the latter stages for Grigor Dimitrov, whose match with Federico Delbonis was postponed due to rain.

Dimitrov accepted a wild card into qualifying and has looked sharp ahead of the French Open, with top seed and world number five Alexander Zverev also in action on Tuesday, against Ernests Gulbis.

Ugo Humbert was a standout performer at the Lyon Open, ending a three-match losing streak as he beat Cameron Norrie 6-1 6-3, hitting eight aces and converting six of nine break points.

There were no surprises elsewhere, though sixth seed Richard Gasquet had to come from behind to beat qualifier Maxime Janvier 6-7(5-7) 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

Meanwhile, Tristan Lamasine beat Jannik Sinner to set up a second-round clash with top seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Justine Henin believes Simona Halep has a "little advantage" over her rivals on clay as the Romanian prepares to defend her French Open title in Paris.

Halep claimed her maiden grand slam in the 2018 edition but has not won a tournament so far this year, including losing in the final of the Madrid Open to Kiki Bertens.

But Henin, who lifted the trophy on four occasions at Roland Garros in her playing career, believes that Halep's knowledge of how to play on the surface may prove to be crucial, despite the high level of competition.

"In the women's draw, so many players have won tournaments in the last two years, it's pretty amazing," Henin told Omnisport.

"But I'm interested in seeing how Halep defends her title. I still think that with all of the players I know on the tour, on the clay she has a little advantage, she knows how to use the surface, she is physically strong, she has these qualities. But a lot of other players push, a lot of young players.

"It's going to be interesting because [Naomi] Osaka has won the last two [slams]."

Among the rivals looking to claim Halep's crown will be Serena Williams, who has returned to training after recovering from a knee problem that forced her out of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome.

Williams is looking to win a slam for the first time since becoming a mother in September 2017, and Henin believes that is serving as extra motivation for the 37-year-old.

"I think it's to keep the passion and motivation. You need to keep sense to what you do, and to stay healthy also," Henin said of Williams.

"Because physically it [giving birth] is a big, big issue, you pushed your body a lot and you need to do a lot of rest and sometimes you need some breaks and Serena has done that already in the past.

"I admire her a lot that she still has the motivation, the passion. I think that now she has a daughter she wants to win grand slams being a mum.

"It's going to be hard because the time goes on and the young players are physically putting on a lot of pressure.

"In another way, when Serena wants something it is very hard to stop her, so we will see."

Rafael Nadal has now occupied a place in the world's top 10 for 735 consecutive weeks, passing Roger Federer for the second-longest streak in the history of the ATP rankings.

Nadal made a statement on Sunday ahead of defending his French Open title in Paris, despatching Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the Internazionali d'Italia final.

The victory ended his wait for a first tournament win in 2019, the Spaniard having underwhelmed on clay so far this year, losing semi-finals in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

But the 11-time Roland Garros champion made light work of the current world number one in Rome, even though he was taken to three sets.

There was further good news on Monday for Nadal, who has been ensconced inside the top 10 since April 25, 2005.

He has overtaken Federer on the all-time list when it comes to appearances in consecutive weeks, with only Jimmy Connors (789) left ahead of him on the all-time list.

Novak Djokovic believes Rafael Nadal is the clear favourite to win yet another French Open.

Nadal finally claimed his first title of the year on Sunday, crushing Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the Internazionali d'Italia final.

The Spaniard is a record 11-time champion at Roland Garros and Djokovic feels Nadal will be hard to stop as he bids for three in a row in Paris.

"Nadal [is the] number one favourite, without a doubt," the Serbian told a news conference.

"And then everyone else."

Nadal secured his ninth Rome crown with an impressive performance against Djokovic, who was blown away early.

Djokovic was happy to push Nadal to a third set as he lamented some fatigue after his run to the final.

"I'm really glad I managed to get into the third set considering in the first set I was blown away from the court and obviously third set wasn't much different from the first," he said.

"But actually the first three or four games in the third set were quite close and maybe that's where I had a slight chance to build on the momentum that I had from winning the second set.

"I was running out of fuel a little bit, just kind of missed that half a step, especially on the backhand side, and he used it.

"He used it very well, he's been playing some terrific tennis throughout the entire week and he was just too strong."

The French Open begins on Sunday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga began his bid for a second Lyon Open title with a gutsy win over fifth seed Dusan Lajovic.

The 2017 champion has played his way back into the world's top 100 after an injury-hit 2018 saw him drop as low as 259 in the rankings.

In a tricky opener in France, Tsonga came through 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a match lasting one hour and 44 minutes.

A break apiece in the first set meant a tie-break was required, which Tsonga dominated, and a solitary dropped service game from Lajovic in the second proved costly.

Sunday's other match at the tournament saw John Millman hammer Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-3.

At the Geneva Open, Ernests Gulbis and Juan Ignacio Londero defeated Yoshihito Nishioka and 2017 runner-up Mischa Zverev respectively in straight sets to progress.

Aryna Sabalenka enjoyed a welcome confidence boost on clay ahead of the French Open, thrashing Zhu Lin 6-0 6-1 in round one of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Sabalenka came into Sunday's match having not won on the red dirt for more than a year, after respective first-round losses in Madrid and Rome to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alize Cornet.

However, the Belarusian needed just 47 minutes to prevail against China's Zhu, who was totally outclassed and won only 17 points.

Next up for Sabalenka - the second seed in Strasbourg - is a meeting with Laura Siegemund or Renata Zarazua.

Wang Qiang, Rebecca Peterson, Fiona Ferro and Zheng Saisai also progressed to round two on Sunday, the latter needing two tie-breaks to beat French wildcard Harmony Tan.

There were two retirements on day one of the Nuremberg Cup, with Vera Lapko and Dalila Jakupovic unable to complete their respective matches against Sara Sorribes Tormo and top seed Yulia Putintseva.

Evgeniya Rodina was the other player to bow out, the seventh seed losing 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to Madison Brengle.

Rafael Nadal made a major statement ahead of his French Open defence, thumping world number one Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the Internazionali d'Italia final to claim his ninth title in Rome.

The winner of an astonishing 11 men's singles crowns at Roland Garros, which will host the year's second grand slam from next Sunday, Nadal had endured an unusually underwhelming clay-court season prior to facing Djokovic, losing semi-finals in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

Djokovic, a four-time champion in Rome, has won each of the last three slams and dominated Nadal in the Australian Open final in January.

However, the boot was on the other foot on this occasion as the Spaniard registered the first bagel in 54 meetings between the illustrious pair and secured his first trophy of 2019 with a degree of comfort, despite a gutsy fightback from his rival.

Nadal now has 34 Masters 1000 titles to Djokovic's 33, having edged clear once again in their long-running battle for supremacy.

While the former cruised into the final, Djokovic had been forced to come through a series of demanding contests and that appeared to be a factor as he was clinically dismantled in a one-sided opening set.

The top seed appeared sluggish in his movement and had no answer to a series of sensational forehands from the other side of the net, most notably a winner down the line in the fifth game.

Although Djokovic raised his level after suffering the indignity of a bagel, Nadal still dictated play for the most part and looked likely to triumph in straight sets, only to then be surprisingly broken for only the second time in the tournament when he made back-to-back errors serving at 4-5.

Nadal quickly regained control with a break at the start of the decider, prompting a frustrated Djokovic to smash his racquet.

And there was to be no way back for the Serbian, who was guilty of a succession of poor drop shots throughout the match as he suffered a first defeat to a top-10 opponent this year.

Karolina Pliskova sealed her second title of the season by defeating Johanna Konta in straight sets in the final of the Internazionali d'Italia on Sunday.

Pliskova has been blighted by illness since she finished as runner-up at the Miami Open in March, but she was in fine form as she overcame Konta 6-3 6-4 to become the first Czech to win the women's singles in Rome since 1978.

The 27-year-old, who lost in the second round in Stuttgart and Madrid, will consequently move up to second in the rankings ahead of the French Open.

Pliskova dropped just two sets across the entire tournament, during which she did not have to face a single seed.

Konta was broken in her first service game when she found the net after a double fault and, although she saved a set point with a fine cross-court forehand, she missed a glorious chance to break back in the next.

The fourth seed held from there to take the opener and Konta - who reached the final in Rabat this month - managed to save a break point to avoid immediately falling behind in the second.

Pliskova threw her racket in frustration after failing to convert a third break point in game seven, but a brilliant forehand saw her get the job done at the fifth time of asking in the set.

Konta staved off a pair of match points to get to deuce but buried a forehand into the net to give Pliskova the trophy.

Top seed and four-time champion Novak Djokovic survived a scare from Diego Schwartzman to set up an Internazionali d'Italia final against Rafael Nadal in Rome.

Having overcome Juan Martin del Potro in a gripping quarter-final, Djokovic had to get through another epic encounter in the last four of the ATP Masters 1000 event – the world number one prevailing 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 on Saturday.

After cruising in the first set, 15-time grand slam champion Djokovic – who is aiming for his fifth Rome title and third ATP triumph of 2019 – was pegged back in the second, Schwartzman coming out on top in a tie-breaker.

But Schwartzman's resistance was finally ended when Djokovic's quality came to the fore in the final set, and world number two Nadal – who the Serbian beat in January's Australian Open final – awaits on Sunday.

With eight-time winner Nadal breezing past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 to claim the first final spot, Djokovic started strongly, despatching some typically composed shots to wrap up the first set, capping it off with a wonderful drop-shot in the final game following a terrific rally.

Schwartzman – buoyed by his 6-4 6-2 victory over Kei Nishikori in the last eight – responded well, though, breaking serve twice to force, and subsequently win, the tie-break.

However, that second-set resilience took too much out of Schwartzman's sails, and Djokovic broke serve when the Argentinian sent a short hit into the net following a brilliant cross-court effort from the Serb.

And after an awkward moment when a stray shot hit a ball boy, Djokovic – through to back-to-back Masters finals – made sure to make no further mistakes, breaking serve once more before forcing another error from his opponent to secure a hard-fought victory.

Karolina Pliskova had no need to repeat her histrionics from a year ago as she defeated Maria Sakkari to set up an Internazionali d'Italia final against Johanna Konta, who defeated the in-form Kiki Bertens.

It was at the same tournament in Rome in 2018 that the usually placid Pliskova lost her cool in a round-two match with Sakkari over a disputed line call, leading to the Czech smashing her racket against the umpire's chair and ultimately receiving a fine.

But Pliskova was all smiles after Saturday's semi-final against her Greek opponent as the fourth seed ran out a 6-4 6-4 victor to reach Sunday's showpiece.

Sakkari claimed the first break to take a 2-1 lead that she consolidated, only for Pliskova to hit back after a short break for rain.

Pliskova made it four games in a row by breaking again to take the first set and both players had to save break points early in the second.

It looked as though the set may be headed for a breaker until Sakkari once again failed to hold at 5-4 down, with Pliskova clinically breaking to love.

Bertens was heavy favourite against Konta having won eight straight matches on clay, including winning the title in Madrid.

Konta scored a first top-five win in over two years, though, recording a 5-7 7-5 6-2 triumph in the Italian capital.

The Briton had the chance to serve out for the first set but lost three straight games to cede the advantage.

But a crucial break at 5-5 in the second set the tone for a final-set cruise and Konta is now into her biggest final since winning the Miami Open in 2017.

Rafael Nadal got revenge for last week's loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas, comprehensively defeating the Greek 6-3 6-4 to reach the Internazionali d'Italia final.

The Spaniard had been beaten in four consecutive semi-finals, including by Tsitsipas at the Madrid Open, but recorded an emphatic victory in one hour and 43 minutes on Saturday to move one match away from winning his first ATP Tour title in 2019.

Tsitsipas, who showed his frustration as he argued a line call with the umpire in the second set, had 27 unforced errors to just 17 winners and struggled to find a foothold in the match after making a poor start, with Nadal throwing in some spectacular shots at key moments.

Nadal, an eight-time champion at this tournament in Rome, will face either Novak Djokovic or Diego Schwartzman in Sunday's final, one week from the start of his attempt to win a record 12th French Open crown at Roland Garros.

The early games proved crucial in the first set, with Nadal taking a tightly contested opener, breaking with his first opportunity with a beautiful forehand down the line, before saving two break points to go 3-0 up.

There were no chances for either player from then on, and the world number two dug in while serving for the set, recovering from 0-30 down and needing only one set point to move in front thanks to an unreturned serve.

Nadal missed his first two chances to move ahead in game three of the second set, but made no mistake when another Tsitsipas error gave him a third break chance, with the Greek finding the net in reply to a thumping forehand.

Tsitsipas did at least hold three times from there to force Nadal to serve the match out, but the 32-year-old did exactly that without dropping a point as he converted the first of his three match points when his opponent sent a return long, reaching his 50th Masters 1000 final.

World number one Novak Djokovic "never lost faith" after saving two match points in his epic quarter-final victory over Juan Martin del Potro at the Internazionali d'Italia.

Djokovic was pushed to the limit by Del Potro but the 15-time grand slam champion survived an almighty scare to prevail 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in Rome on Friday.

After erasing a 5-2 deficit, Del Potro had a pair of chances to book a semi-final berth at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament, however, Djokovic fended off both in the second-set tie-break.

"I never lost faith I could come back to the match. One break of serve, mini break in the tie-break when he was 6-4, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that's all it took for me to come back," Djokovic said. 

"[He] missed a couple crucial points in the tie-break. Also break point third set, quite easy forehand. That's what happens. That's sport. I'm just really pleased to overcome."

Top seed and four-time Rome champion Djokovic will face Argentina's Diego Schwartzman for a spot in back-to-back Masters finals, having reigned supreme at the Madrid Open.

"I lost probably the positioning of the court over him. Towards the end of the first, he just started hitting the ball really well from both corners, also backhand side, backhand down the line. He was playing really well, gave me a lot of trouble," Djokovic said.

Novak Djokovic survived two match points to triumph in a three-set epic against Juan Martin del Potro and book his spot in the semi-finals of the ATP Internazionali d'Italia.

Four-time champion Djokovic was staring down the barrel in Rome when Del Potro had two chances for victory in a second-set tie-break on Friday.

But the world number one, who had won his previous two encounters with Del Potro in Rome in straight sets, dug deep to stave off those threats and went on to record a 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 triumph in the Italian capital.

Earlier in the day, defending champion Rafael Nadal outclassed Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-0 to set up a rematch with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who benefitted from Roger Federer's withdrawal.


DJOKOVIC DENIES DOGGED DEL POTRO

The saying goes 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do' and Djokovic and Del Potro put on a show worthy of any amphitheatre.

Djokovic appeared to have Del Potro's number early doors but three break-point chances went begging and the Argentinian clinically broke for a 4-3 lead.

After saving three more break points to see out the opener, Del Potro broke back in the second set to force a breaker that he wrested control of when Djokovic went long when trailing 5-4.

But two match points went due to a wild forehand and an exquisite Djokovic drop shot, and the Serbian rebounded to level the match. 

A third set of the highest quality included a warm clap of the hands at the net after a stunning Del Potro drop-shot, but Djokovic made the crucial break in game five.

Djokovic will now face Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals after the latter outclassed sixth seed Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-2.


REVENGE IN MIND FOR RAFA?

It was a sluggish start for Nadal, who survived a break-point chance that would have put Verdasco 3-0 ahead early in the first set.

But from there it was textbook stuff as the former world number one won 12 of the final 14 games, with Nadal having now earned a bagel in three straight matches.

Next up is Tsitsipas, a familiar foe for Nadal. The Greek triumphed just a week ago when the two met in the semi-final in Madrid.

Federer's retirement due to a right-leg injury means Tsitsipas should be fresh for a renewed challenge.

Naomi Osaka's withdrawal preceded a fine birthday present for Johanna Konta, while there were three-set quarter-final wins for Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sakkari at the Internazionali d'Italia.

Top seed Osaka was forced to pull out in Rome ahead of her last-eight clash with Kiki Bertens due to a hand injury, opening up the draw for the remaining players.

Konta celebrated turning 28 in style by winning a three-setter with Marketa Vondrousova, while Pliskova also lasted the distance against Victoria Azarenka to seal a landmark win.

And Sakkari roared back against Kristina Mladenovic to maintain her hopes of triumphing at the WTA Premier event.

 

HAPPY BIRTH-CLAY, JO…

Konta is enjoying a career resurgence. The Briton reached a first final in almost 12 months in Rabat a fortnight ago, while she is now in her biggest semi since Wimbledon in 2017.

It was a back-and-forth match against Vondrousova, but ultimately Konta ran out a 6-3 3-6 6-1 victor.

Before this year, Konta had never managed to win three main-draw matches on clay in a given season but she now faces Bertens for a place in the final.

500 NOT OUT FOR PLISKOVA

In a battle between two former world number ones, Pliskova ousted Azarenka 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 for her 500th career victory.

Pliskova, this season's leader in three-set wins, was beaten by the same opponent in Stuttgart last month but has now levelled their head-to-head meetings at 4-4.

"I think the last couple years I know I'm playing a lot of three-setters," said Pliskova. 

"I'm not panicking if I lose first set or even the second. I'm just there. I keep fighting. I feel quite confident coming to the third set, because I know I won quite a lot in last couple of years."

Mladenovic seemed destined for the semis after taking the first set against Sakkari, but the Greek roared back to triumph 5-7 6-3 6-0.

Page 1 of 107
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.