Tennis: Ilie Nastase displays flashes of his old (non playing) form, Serena Williams is about to become a mom and the U.S. Fed Cup team is one step from ending a 17-year drought.
By Andrea Leand, PSN analyst
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- Romanian Fed Cup captain and former world No.1 Ilie Nastase was thrown out of his team’s Fed Cup match against Britain after verbal abuse toward British No.1 Johanna Konta and captain Anne Keothavong. That followed Nastase’s off-color comments at the opening ceremony, including his soliciting a married and 18-weeks pregnant Keothavong and racist comments about Serena Williams’ unborn baby, placed him under ITF investigation. Within 24 hours, Nastase was provisionally suspended from all ITF events.
- Days earlier, Williams had announced she is 20 weeks pregnant with her first child, meaning she won the Australian Open while eight weeks along. She plans to take the rest of 2017 off on a lengthy maternity leave with fiancé Alexis Ohanian.
- Roger Federer announced he may skip the French Open to focus on Wimbledon. Federer is scheduled to play a Match for Africa charity exhibition with John Isner and celebrity doubles with Bill Gates on April 29 in Seattle, benefiting the Roger Federer Foundation.
- The French Open will announce its decision by May 15 regarding Maria Sharapova’s request for a wild card into the main draw.
ATP TOUR: Monte Carlo Rolex Masters
Final: Rafael Nadal def. Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-3
- Defending champion Nadal broke serve four times and served equally well – 81 percent on his first serves and winning 70 percent of his second-serve points – to dominate the 15th-seeded Spaniard for a record-setting 10th title in Monte Carlo.
- Other notables for Nadal stemming from the victory: First man since the Open Era began in 1968 to win 10 titles at a tournament; surpassing Guillermo Vilas as the first man to win 50 claycourt crowns; his 70th tour-level title, No.5 all-time; his 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, No.2 all-time.
- Ramos-Vinolas overcame a 4-0, third-set deficit to upset No.1 Andy Murray in the third round and beat No. 5 Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals to ultimately reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final. He moves to No. 19 in the world.
- No.10 seed David Goffin upended nemesis No. 6 seed Dominique Thiem (third round) and survived a 4-2 third-set deficit to score the week’s biggest surprise over No.2 seed Novak Djokovic in thequarterfinals. He lost to Nadal in a semifinal marred by controversial officiating and Goffin’s refusal to shake hands with the umpire.
- Frenchman Lucas Pouille, 23, delighted hometown crowds by bashing his way to his fourth ATP Masters semifinal and a world ranking of No. 14.
United States 3, Czech Republic 2
CoCo Vandeweghe scored all three wins, including doubles with Bethanie Mattek Sands, to lead the United States past a young Czech team devoid of its top stars and into next fall’s final. The last U.S. title in the event came in 2000 behind Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles.
Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova, Barbara Strycova and Lucie Safarova – all in the top 30 of the world rankings – didn’t make the trip to Saddlebrook Resort in Florida.
Belarus 3, Switzerland 2
Without top star Vika Azarenka (maternity leave), Belarus got two singles wins from Aliaksandra Sasnovich – upsetting 22nd-ranked Timea Bacsinszky – and teenage rookie Alyna Sabalenka sealed the win by beating Switzerland’s Viktorja Golubic.
ATP TOUR: Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
- Site: Barcelona, Spain
- Top seed: Andy Murray
- Note: Murray accepted a wild card. No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori re-injured his wrist and withdrew from the event.
ATP TOUR: Gazprom Hungarian Open
- Site: Budapest, Hungary
- Top seed: Lucas Pouille
WTA TOUR: Porsche Grand Prix
- Site: Stuttgart, Germany
- Top seed: Angelique Kerber
- Note: Maria Sharapova faces Italy’s Roberta Vinci in her first match back from a 15-month drug suspension.
WTA TOUR: TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open
- Site: Istanbul, Turkey
- Top seed: Elina Svitolina