US top seed John Isner and French second seed Gael Monfils cruised into the third round of the Citi Open in Washington on Wednesday, but former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki dropped out due to injury while leading.
Flamboyant Monfils, who had lost three matches in a row after suffering a mystery illness, fired 10 aces and lost only two points on his first serves in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun.
“I played a very solid match,” Monfils said. “I was surprised I could play that good so soon and I want to keep it going for the next few matches.”
Next for Monfils is Croatian 16th seed Borna Coric, who downed Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 6-4. Isner is to meet Cypriot 15th seed Marcos Baghdatis, who ousted Australian John Millman 6-2, 6-4, for a quarter-final berth.
Isner, coming off heartbreaking Wimbledon and Davis Cup defeats, fired 14 aces and dropped only three points on his first serve in a 6-3, 6-4 romp over Australian qualifier James Duckworth.
“I am happy I got through my first match. I can get tripped up in those,” Isner said. “I am not looking past anyone.”
Isner and Monfils, who had first-round byes, have split eight career meetings and could play a third time in Washington in Sunday’s final. Isner won a 2007 semi-final, while Monfils won a 2011 semi-final rematch, both going to a third-set tiebreaker.
“I look forward to playing Johnny,” Monfils said. “Every time I come here, I play him.”
Neither has won the Washington hard-court crown. Monfils, ranked 17th, lost to Czech Radek Stepanek in the 2011 final. Isner, ranked 16th, lost in the final in 2007, 2013 and last year.
“To win here would be very special,” Isner said. “I have been very close before.”
Wozniacki, a two-time US Open runner-up from Denmark, was leading 7-5, 3-4, when a left-arm injury forced her to retire from her second-round match against Australian top seed Samantha Stosur, the 2011 US Open winner.
“It happened at five-all in the first set,” Wozniacki said. “I hit a backhand and I just felt the pain.”
Wozniacki, who has battled injuries all year, fought into the second set, but could not stand the pain. Ranked 58th, she is out of the world top 50 for the first time since 2008.
“I will take it and try to run with it as far as I can,” said Stosur, who is to face US wild-card Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals.
Australian third seed Bernard Tomic fired 12 aces in beating American Donald Young 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 to book a third-round date with Croatian 13th seed Ivo Karlovic, who blasted 19 aces in beating American Brian Baker 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
Ryan Harrison eliminated the 10th-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia 7-6 (7/4), 6-4. Next for Harrison is an all-American clash against fifth-seeded Steve Johnson, who beat Adrian Mannarino of France 6-3, 6-4.
Seventh-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany saved all five break points he faced and overwhelmed Taylor Fritz of the US 6-4, 6-2.
In women’s play, wild-card entry Jessica Pegula defeated Christina McHale 7-5, 6-2. Pegula, whose parents own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, reached the quarter-finals of a WTA tournament for the first time.
Additional reporting by AP
BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC
AFP, SAN FRANCISCO
Top seed Venus Williams fended off a spirited challenge in her opening match against world No. 87 Magda Linette at the Bank of the West Classic on Wednesday, as she needed three sets to advance.
Former two-time champion Williams defeated Linette 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the hard-court tournament at Stanford University.
The 36-year-old Williams is to next face either world No. 203 Catherine Bellis or Sachia Vickery, who is one spot back of Bellis in the world rankings.
“It would be very special to get No. 50 here, but I am just going to try to keep advancing,” said Williams, who has 49 career titles after winning in Kaohsiung earlier this year.
Williams blasted 11 aces and had four double faults against Linette, with the match lasting 2 hours, 14 minutes.
In other matches, fifth-seeded Misaki Doi showed no mercy against her Japanese doubles partner, Nao Hibino, winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in their second-round match.
Doi, who is ranked 36th in the world, is to next face either second seed Dominika Cibulkova or Urszula Radwanska of Poland.
Doi is hoping that a good run through the rest of the summer will help her earn a seeding spot for the upcoming US Open.
Doi defeated Karolina Pliskova in Wimbledon’s second round, forced Sam Stosur to play three sets in a first-round loss at the French Open, and gave Angelique Kerber a scare at the Australian Open earlier this year, taking the eventual champion to match point in the early rounds.
British No. 1 Johanna Konta beat Julia Boserup 6-3, 6-1 to book a quarter-final against China’s Zheng Saisai, who upset seventh-seeded Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-1.
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