Newlywed disagreement: Svitolina, Monfils differ on the draw

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Associated Press

Gael Monfils, of France, reacts after defeating Steve Johnson, of the United States, during the second round of the US Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK – The tennis newlyweds are having a disagreement.

Elina Svitolina, like many players, will only think about the match directly in front of her.

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Her husband, Gael Monfils, likes to look a few rounds further at his draw.

“But I try to tell him, it’s not a good sign. You have to be looking one match at a time,” Svitolina said with a laugh.

However they do it, things are working for both players, who were married in July.

The fifth-seeded Svitolina beat No. 25 Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-2 on Friday to set up a fourth-round matchup with No. 12 Simona Halep, a two-time Grand Slam champion.

Monfils, the No. 17 seed, faces 13th-seeded Jannik Sinner on Saturday. Svitolina probably already knew that, saying: “His draw, I’m looking even more probably than mine.”

Svitolina said she and Monfils are competitive and their performances serve as motivation for each other.

“I’m happy that we’re playing different days because then we can focus on one person, then the other one,” Svitolina said. “Definitely I’m very happy that Gael is playing well, as well, and winning.”


Hard to believe that Barbora Krejcikova is playing in the U.S. Open's singles main draw for the first time. She is, after all, a Grand Slam champion already.

Still, that success at the French Open in June — when she became the first woman in 21 years to win the singles and doubles trophies at Roland Garros — has not made her take any of what's happening now at Flushing Meadows for granted.

“I don't just take it as something ordinary,” the No. 8-seeded Krejcikova said Friday after getting to the fourth round in New York with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Kamilla Rakhimova. “I just think it's very special.”

The 25-year-old from the Czech Republic used the word “special” a few times while discussing what's been going on for her on the court this year.

“Amazing,”' too.

Consider: She entered 2021 with two Grand Slam trophies in doubles but just a trio of appearances at majors in singles. One problem was repeated failures to make it into the main draw via qualifying.

After her triumphs in Paris, Krejcikova followed that up by getting to the fourth round in her Wimbledon debut before losing to eventual champion Ash Barty. Now comes a matchup with two-time major champion Garbiñe Muguruza for a berth in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

“I’m just really happy that I don't have to go through the quallies anymore,” Krejcikova said. “I hope it's going to stay like this and I don't have to play the quallies anymore.”

At this rate, that won't be an issue.


Daniil Medvedev was once a target of boos at the U.S. Open and the fans cheered him just a few days later.

So there's hope the New Yorkers will learn to love Stefanos Tsitsipas.

But, Medvedev figures, the only way that will happen is if Tsitsipas stops doing the thing that is angering them in the first place.

“If you will remember 2019, I did a mistake. Well, I was not continuing to do it every other match, otherwise the crowd would not go behind me,” Medvedev said. “That’s the only advice I can give.”

That time, Medvedev was playing a third-round match at Louis Armstrong Stadium when he first snatched the towel from a ballperson, then tossed his racket in the direction of the chair umpire, and finally flashed his middle finger next to his forehead.

When he waved his arms to encourage more boos during his post-match interview, he seemed to be stamping himself as a U.S. Open villain. But he was contrite afterward and the crowd roared for Medvedev a week later when he pushed Rafael Nadal to a fifth set in the final.

The No. 2 seed was back on Armstrong on Friday and routed Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4, 6-3, hearing the cheers he continues to draw in Flushing Meadows.

Tsitsipas was hearing the other sound.

Andy Murray criticized the No. 3 seed for the eight-minute bathroom break he took between the fourth and fifth sets during their first-round match. Then Tsitsipas took another break that created a similarly long delay after dropping the third set against Adrian Mannarino, getting booed when he returned to win the fourth.

“What happened with him and Murray happened. He got booed. At least next match don’t go out for eight minutes, and that’s what he did,” Medvedev said.

Tsitsipas was cheered late Friday, but unfortunately for the Greek player, it was on his way off the court. He was upset by Spain's Carlos Alcaraz in a fifth-set tiebreaker.

Medvedev figured Tsitsipas would have figured things out on his own, anyway.

“I mean, he has his own life,” Medvedev said. “He probably won’t listen to my advice.”


AP Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.


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