Baseline: May 1 tennis report

Tennis: As Maria Sharapova returned to the court after a 15-month absence and Ilie Nastase sought to clean up his verbal mess, Rafael Nadal did what he almost always does in Barcelona.

By Andrea Leand, PSN analyst

>>Listen live to Prime Sports Tennis, Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET

NEWS WIRE

  • Ilie Nastase has finally apologized to Serena Williams for racist comments made during Romania’s Fed Cup match a week ago. Nastase posted on his Facebook page: “I know that nothing can really excuse my words, not a high-level match, not the nonconformist attitude I am now known for, not the unfortunate amplification of the situation,” he added. “My life remains dedicated to tennis and its public and I ask you to accept, as much as is possible, my apologies.”
  • Roger Federer delighted fans in Seattle and raised over $4 million for underprivileged children in his third Match for Africa exhibition. Federer, who developed the sold-out event in two months with Bill Gates, entertained crowds partnering with the billionaire financier in celebrity doubles and taking in John Isner in singles.
  • Federer, who skipped the claycourt season, confirmed that he is still planning to play the French Open.
  • French Open officials floated the possibility of giving Maria Sharapova a qualifying wild card instead of a main draw slotĀ  into the Grand Slam event. It will announce its decision on May 16.

BACKHANDS

ATP TOUR: Barcelona Open BancSabadell

Final: Rafael Nadal def. Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1

  • Nadal wins his unprecedented 10th title in Barcelona, continuing his claycourt dominance at No.5 in the world rankings.
  • Thiem, finding his form after a subpar start to the season, upset No.1 seed Andy Murray in the semifinals with superior shot execution and movement.

ATP TOUR: Gazprom Hungarian Open

Final: Lucas Pouille def. Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-1

  • Pouille outplayed the qualifier to pocket his third career title and rise to No. 14 in the rankings.
  • In an all-qualifier semifinal, Bedene edged 21-year-old Serb Lasio Djere, whose path featured upsets of No. 7 seed Victor Troicki in the second round and No. 4 seed Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals.

WTA TOUR: Porsche Grand Prix

Final: Laura Siegemund def. Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(5)

  • Germany’s Siegemund, a wild card entrant, delighted her hometown crowd in surprising No.6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova (second round), No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova (quarterfinals) and No.4 seed Simona Halep (semifinals) in taking her second career title. Siegemund, 29, reached last year’s final but had a disappointing 5-9 match record coming into this year’s event.
  • Mladenovic jumped to No.17 in the rankings with impressive performances over No.1 seed Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and former top player Maria Sharapova who was returning from a 15-month drug doping suspension.
  • Sharapova, who lost her ranking during her suspension, returns at No.262 in the rankings.

WTA TOUR: TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open

Final: Elina Svitolina def. Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-4

  • The 22-year-old Ukrainian used a superior baseline game to win her third title this year and move to No.12.

FOREHANDS

ATP TOUR: Millennium Estoril Open

  • Site: Estoril, Portugal
  • Top seed: Pablo Carreno Busta
  • Note: Nick Krygios withdrew after the death of his grandfather

ATP TOUR: BMW Open by FMU

  • Site: Munich, Germany
  • Top seed: Gael Monfils

ATP TOUR: TEB BNP Paribas Open Istanbul

  • Site: Istanbul, Turkey
  • Top seed: Milos Raonic

WTA TOUR: J&T Banka Prague Open

  • Site: J&T Banka Prague Open
  • Top seed: Karolina Pliskova
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