Svitolina, Monfils among top seeds tumble at indoor events

Published by AP / Reuters / Tennismash

No.1 seed Elina Svitolina lost in her opening match at the WTA Kremlin Cup in Moscow (Getty Images)
Elina Svitolina fell in Moscow, Gael Monfils lost in Antwerp, Fabio Fognini crashed out in Stockholm and Elise Mertens departed Luxembourg in a day of upsets in Europe.

Top-seeded Elina Svitolina squandered her opening match at the Kremlin Cup after having been a break up in the deciding set.

Veronika Kudermetova beat the fourth-ranked Svitolina, who had a first-round bye, 6-2 1-6 7-5 in their second-round match to set up a quarterfinal with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat wildcard entry Varvara Gracheva.

Second-seeded Kiki Bertens, meanwhile, continued her push to reach the season-ending WTA Finals by beating Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-3 7-5.

Both Bertens and Belinda Bencic can take the last WTA Finals spot from Serena Williams if they reach the final in Moscow, where they are in the same half of the draw.

Monfils defeat in Antwerp

Svitolina’s boyfriend Gael Monfils, seeded No.1 in at the European Open in Antwerp, was the victim of one of the game’s most exciting rising stars.

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner completed the biggest win of his career by beating world No.13 Monfils 6-3 6-2 to reach his first ATP Tour quarterfinal.

The 18-year-old wildcard, ranked 119 in the world, set up a first career meeting with American Frances Tiafoe who defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4.

In another result, Andy Murray produced the most solid performance in his comeback from hip surgery, dismissing eighth seeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-3 to storm into the quarterfinals.

The former world No.1, who is easing his way back to full match fitness after a career-saving resurfacing procedure in January, saved all four break points he faced and dropped only six points on his first serve.

The three-time Grand Slam winner covered all corners of the court with ease and looked dangerous when he approached the net before sealing his seventh ATP Tour singles win of the season with his 12th ace.

Murray next takes on big-serving Romanian qualifier Marius Copil, who fired 13 aces in a stunning 6-4 5-7 7-6(9-7) win over third seed Diego Schwartzman.

Fognini routed in Stockholm

Italian No.1 seed Fabio Fognini went down 6-1 6-1 to former top-10 player Janko Tipsarevic on Thursday at the Stockholm Open.

Fognini, who received an opening-round bye at the ATP 250 event, fell to the 35-year-old Tipsarevic in just 61 minutes.

Tipsarevic is currently ranked No.251 and used a protected ranking to enter the draw.

The Serb next faces lucky loser Yuichi Sugita for a place in the semifinals.

Denis Shapovalov, the fourth seed, is the highest seed remaining in the draw — and only one of two remaining at all — after his straight-sets win over Alexei Popyrin on Thursday.

Mertens dismissed in Luxembourg

Top-seeded Elise Mertens was eliminated on Thursday at the Luxembourg Open, losing 4-6 6-2 6-2 to resurgent Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, overpowered the Belgian with 26 winners to progress to her second straight WTA quarterfinal.

There she will meet Antonia Lottner, who advanced when fellow German Andrea Petkovic retired after losing the first set 6-1.

In other results, defending champion Julia Goerges of Germany came from a set down to beat Sorana Cirstea in the second round.

The second-seeded Goerges double-faulted to be broken in the final game of the first set but then broke for a 4-3 lead in the second before levelling the match.

In the decider, it was Cirstea’s turn to double-fault on break point to hand Goerges a 5-4 lead.

The German then saved two break points in the next game before converting her second match point.

In the quarterfinals, Goerges will face Olympic champion Monica Puig, after the Puerto Rican outlasted Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(6).

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