South Korean star out of Roland Garros

Hyeon Chung has revealed on social media that he will miss the upcoming French Open due to injury.

The South Korean turned heads during his superlative run at the Australian Open in January, where he knocked out top seeds Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic on his way to his maiden grand slam semi-final, where a several severe blisters forced him off the court.

Since, Ching has reached the quarter-finals of a number of events, including the Miami Open.

But now, the world number 20 revealed he has been struggling with an ankle injury for much of the clay court swing, where he has only featured in two events.

"Unfortunately I had to withdraw from Lyon yesterday and now Roland Garros," the 22-year-old revealed on twitter.

"I have been struggling with an ankle injury during the entire clay season. An MRI scan has revealed that I have build up of fluid in the ankle joint which might require a small procedure and then an extended period of rest."

Serena Williams unseeded for French Open return

Serena Williams' return to grand slam tennis was dealt a huge blow on Monday when Roland Garros organisers announced they will not give the three-time champion a seeding.

Williams, a 23-time major singles winner, is expected to play in her first grand slam tournament since giving birth to her daughter last September.

While Williams was eligible to enter Roland Garros under the WTA's protected or "special" ranking rule, it was down to the organisers of the tournament to give her a seed, something they ultimately neglected to do.

The French Tennis Federation said in a statement that: "This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking of the women's seeds based on the WTA ranking.”

"Consequently, (the seeds) will reflect this week's world ranking."

The decision comes despite several top-ranked players including Maria Sharapova, Elina Svitolina and world number one Simona Halep speaking out in support of giving Williams a seeding.

Williams was ranked number one when she left the WTA Tour last year after winning the 2017 Australian Open to give birth.

She is currently ranked 453.

Without being seeded, Williams is likely to come up against high-ranking players in the early rounds.

The WTA has been considering changing the rules to protect players returning from maternity leave, but the earliest any chances could come into effect is next year.

Nadal claims eighth title in Rome

Rafael Nadal kept his crown as the King of Clay following his stunning comeback win over Alexander Zverev at the Italian Open on Sunday.

The Spaniard defeated Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in a touch over two hours under the overcast skies of Rome to secure his eighth title in the Italian city.

It was an inauspicious start for Nadal, who dropped his opening service game. But the soon-to-be world number one bounced back in a big way. Nadal reeled off two games to love to go 2-1 up, after which he broke Zverev twice more to take the set.

But tennis can be strange game, as the second set proved. Those sultry Nadal forehands all of a sudden couldn’t find their mark and Zverev was quick to pounce, winning four games on the trot to force a deciding set.

Zverev took that form into the third, where he broke early and consolidated to go 3-1. The rain began to fall atouch harder as Nadal held and the the players went off the court, the momentum clearly with Zverev.

But the rain gods washed away all of Nadal’s poor form.

The 16-time grand slam winner turned on the class after the break, his accuracy second to none as he powered through five consecutive games in a row to snatch the championship away from a bemused Zverev.

The victory sees Nadal move to 32 Masters 1000 titles, extending his record at the top of that table. He will also return to the top of the ATP World Tour rankings, unseating Roger Federer, on Monday.

Del Potro a doubt for Roland Garros

World number six Juan Martin del Potro is a big doubt for next week’s French Open at Roland Garros after suffering a groin injury.

The Argentine, who has been in great form this season, pulled out of his Round-of-16 match against David Goffin at the Italian Open in Rome on Thursday after feeling pain in his left groin.

Del Potro was 2-6, 5-4 down at the time.

He underwent medical checks and then posted an update on his official twitter account late on Friday.

"After the medical examinations today, it has been determined that I have suffered a groin strain (grade 1) in Rome," the 29-year-old wrote.

"I have started to do rehab and will evaluate the situation in the upcoming days to decide whether I can play the French Open."

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the former US Open champion, who has been back to his best this year with recent tournament wins in Mexico and Indian Wells under his belt.

The year’s second grand slam is scheduled to start in Paris on May 27.

Halep victorious in epic Sharapova encounter

World No 1 Simona Halep made hard work of her semi-final victory over Maria Sharapova at the Italian Open on Saturday.

The Romanian looked totally out of sorts in the first set before managing to turn her form around in the second and third to secure a hard-fought 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.

The match started in highly unusual circumstances, with both players trading breaks seemingly at will for most of the first set.

By the end of the 48-minute opener, Sharapova had taken it 6-4 despite only holding her serve once. As for Halep, she could not even lay claim to that dubious distinction, having been broken five straight times.

But Halep appeared to snap out of whatver funk she was in at the start of the second set, dramatically lifting her first and second serve points won percentages, and reducing her error count.

She raced through the second set courtesy of three unanswered breaks, but would suffer another bout of nerves in the decider as her serve once again started to look shaky.

Luckily for Halep, she continued to cause Sharapova plenty of troubles of her own, and ultimately won the third set courtesy of four breaks to three to clinch victory after two hours and 26 minutes.

Awaiting her in Sunday's final is fourth seed Elina Svitolina, who needed just one hour and 15 minutes to dismiss Anna Kontaveit 6-4, 6-3 in the day's first semi-final.

Nadal battles past valiant Djokovic

Novak Djokovic could not topple Rafael Nadal on his favourite surface at the Italian Open on Saturday, but he did put up a great fight.

Nadal completed a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over Djokovic in Rome to advance to yet another clay court final, but for Djokovic there was still a lot to be encouraged about.

It was the first time the struggling Serb had made it to a ATP semi-final all year, and he was able to provide the King of Clay with a real challenge before going down in straight sets.

Djokovic was particularly competitive in the first set, which could easily have ended up going his way.

After forcing Nadal to save two break points in the opening game of the match, Djokovic gave away a break of his own in the sixth game to go 2-4 down. But he fought back superbly by breaking back as the Spaniard served for the set at 5-3.

It was left to a tie-break to decide the opener, and though both men looked shaky at times, giving away several mini-breaks each, ultimately Nadal was able to finish the stronger of the two and take the breaker 7-4.

Having worn Djokovic down in the first set, Nadal was able to take control in the second, wrapping up the victory with breaks in the third and ninth games to book his place in the final where he will take on the winner of this evening's match between Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev.

Regardless of his opponent, however, the record-busting Spaniard will be the odds-on favourite to collect an eighth Italian Open crown come Sunday.

Halep through while Sharapova surprises all

Simona Halep earned another routine win while Maria Sharapova surprised all to also reach the final four of the Italian Open on Friday.

The Romanian was ruthless against seventh seed Caroline Garcia, breaking her on seven occasions to defeat her 6-2, 6-3 under the lights in Rome to reach her fourth semi-final of the year.

The match started with a flurry of breaks as the pressure of the occasion seemed to be getting to both players before Halep would be the first to hold and go 4-2 up.

In the second set, a settled Halep would race to a 5-2 lead with some expansive play before closing out the match.

The victory sets up a tantalising semi-final with former world number one Maria Sharapova. The Russian superstar leads their head-to-head stat 7-1, with Halep winning their last encounter in Beijing in 2017.

Earlier in the day, Sharapova stunned fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko in a three set epic lasting over three hours. The diminutive Latvian saved two match points to level matters at 5-5 in the final set, but Sharapova would hold serve then break Ostapenko one last time for a watershed victory.

"It's always nice to have a battle with a few ups and downs, and to finish strong," said Sharapova afterwards.

"To get through a match like this against a really high-quality opponent and to end up winning it, I’m quite proud of the effort."

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina earned a sixth straight win over two-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber, easing past her 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final four.

Waiting for the defending champion in the semi-final is Anna Kontaveit, who upset second seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 in an entertaining match.

Djokovic back to his best in Rome

Djokovic played his best match of the year when he came back from set down to defeat Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Friday.

The Serb rallied to earn a fine 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over the world number 24 in a high quality match that featured a mammoth third set under the lights in Rome.

It was a poor start from the Serb, with a deadly accurate Nishikori breaking him in the opening service game and again mid-set to comfortably wrap up the opening salvo.

But the less than ideal start seemed to spur on Djokovic, who reeled off four games in quick succession on his way to forcing a deciding set.

It appeared the duo saved their best tennis for the marathon final set, which enthralled the crowd for over an hour. Both players were forced to clean lines just to hold serve as the match hung in the balance.

But it would be Djokovic who would persevere, breaking the Japanese star twice and winning the final three action-packed games via pure attritional tennis.

The victory earns the former world number one a semi-final date with old rival Rafael Nadal. Djokovic leads their head-to-head stat 26-24, with Nadal having won their last encounter at the Madrid Open in 2017. The match will mark Djokovic's first semi-final of 2018.

Nadal and Cilic into Rome final four

World number two Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic reached the semi-finals of the Italian Open after their victories on Friday.

Nadal survived a scare from fiery local Fabio Fognini, coming back from dropping the first set to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 on the clay courts of Rome.

While it was Nadal who broke early in the opening set, Fognini fed off the boisterous home crowd, coming back from 4-1 down to win the set in stunning fashion.

But Nadal issued swift retribution, running through the second set in just 32 minutes with two breaks. With the wind out of Fognini’s sails, the King of Clay resumed his powerful baseline play in the third set, without so much as facing a breakpoint.

"I believe [in the] first set, I think it started well with both of us playing well," said the 31-year-old afterwards.

"I think I had an opportunity on return at 4-1, but he played some great shots in that game… He played great tennis, hit a lot of winners, taking the ball very early.

"When I'm playing these kind of matches, I need to be aggressive. And that was an important change for me… It's important to be able to change the dynamic of the match in the middle of the match."

The result will see him take away the number one ranking from Roger Federer when they are released on Monday.

Also through to his first ever Masters 1000 semi-final on clay is fourth seed Cilic, who was nearly flawless in his 6-3, 6-3 win over Pablo Carreno-Busta.

The Croat was superb on serve, firing five aces and never facing a break point the entire match.

Djokovic delighted with first quarter-final of 2018

Novak Djokovic admitted he was hugely encouraged by his form in Rome this week, after playing his way into a first quarter-final of the season.

The Serbian looked very impressive as he ousted 2017 Monte-Carlo finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 7-5, and he clearly feels like he's starting to make strides.

Could Djokovic be starting to rediscover the player he once was?

"I'm happy. I haven't had too many matches of this quality of my tennis in the past 12 months," he said.

"I think this was probably one of the three matches that I played this way in the past 12 months. So, it felt good. And it came at the right time in the place where I love to play, where I get a lot of support.

"I feel like each match is getting better. So, hopefully, it's going to continue in this direction."

Standing between Djokovic and the semi-finals is a formidable foe in Japanese star Kei Nishikori, who advanced after dispatching German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-2 in 64 minutes.

The two met in the first round in Madrid recently, where Djokovic secured one of the biggest wins since his comeback from injury.

Like Djokovic, he is also on the comeback trail from an injury lay-off, and has been making some impressive strides of his own.

"It was strange playing Kei in the first round in Madrid. But, it was a very close match," Djokovic said. "I expect the same tomorrow. I expect a big fight from both of us."

WTA big names through in Rome

It was a good day for the top seeds in Rome as Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina all enjoyed victories at the Italian Open.

Top seed Halep advanced to the quarter-finals of the clay court event without hitting a ball after Madison Keys was forced to withdraw due to a rib injury.

"I am really sorry I have to withdraw from this year’s Internazionali BNL d'Italia," read the American’s statement.

"I felt my rib in my match yesterday and after trying to warm up this morning it will still painful. I look forward to returning to this great event next year and seeing all my fans in Rome."

Halep will face Caroline Garcia in the last wight. The seventh seed battled past the talented Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-6(7), grabbing the win on her second match point.

Second seed Wozniacki was forced to work hard for her 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win over Anastasija Sevastova. Up 5-4 in the second set, the Australian Open champion looked certain to wrap things up, but the Latvian battled back to win three games in row and force a final set.

Meanwhile, former world number one Maria Sharapova continued to impress on clay, beating Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-4. The victory sees the Russian reach her first WTA Premier Mandatory quarter-final since 2015, where she faces the powerful Jelena Ostapenko.

Earlier in the day, the fifth seed fought back from a set down to defeat Johanna Konta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Similarly, fourth seed Elina Svitolina bounced back from a disastrous opening set to overcome Daria Kasatkina 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 and keep her title defence alive.

Djokovic sets up Nishikori clash

Former world number one Novak Djokovic reached his first Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season following a straight set win on Thursday.

The Serb showed snippets of his past form, regularly whipping his two-handed backhand down the line as he cruised to a 6-1, 7-5 win over clay court supremo Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Djokovic was on point from the get go, reeling off the first three games in quick succession on his way to dominating the opening set.

The Spaniard bounced back in the second, breaking Djokovic to level matters at 5-5. But as often the case with Djokovic, he shone in the big moment and won the last two games conceding just two points, closing the match out with an ace.

The victory earns Djokovic a date with world number 24 Kei Nishikori. The Japanese star was too good for Philipp Kohlschreiber, rolling over the German 6-1, 6-1 in just 64 minutes.

Djokovic leads their head-to-head stat 12-2, with Nishikori’s last victory coming at the US Open semi-final in 2014.

Nadal ruthless in Rome, reaches last eight

World number two Rafael Nadal reached the quarter-finals of the Italian Open following a routine win on Thursday.

The King of Clay was taking no prisoners on the red stuff in Rome, needing just 71 minutes to roll over Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-1 without even facing a breakpoint.

Shapovalov showed steely resolve early on, defending no less than eight break points in his opening two service games. But Nadal’s power game would eventually earn another opportunity, which he converted before he went on to consolidate the break and serve out the set.

The wheels came off for the Canadian in the second set, eventually notching up 19 unforced errors as Nadal broke him three times and closed out the final set in 29 minutes.

The victory books Nadal a date with fiery local Fabio Fognini, who continues to impress in Rome. The Italian knocked out sixth seed Dominic Thiem earlier this week and will now feature in his fourth Masters 1000 quarter-final after defeating Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro retired hurt while 6-4, 5-4 down against ninth seed David Goffin, while Marin Cilic eased past Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic and Nadal sail into third round in Rome

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both secured straight sets victories at the Italian Open on Wednesday.

Nadal was at his ruthless best against Damir Dzumhur, converting five of eight break points on the way to a dominant 6-1, 6-0 victory.

Dzumhur wasn't able to earn a single break point of his own, and the match was all over in 62 minutes.

Djokovic was up against Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili and settled down after a nervy start to wrap up a 6-4, 6-2 victory after one hour and 18 minutes.

The former World No 1 needed to save four break points during a marathon seventh game but clinched a break of his own a couple of games later to go one set up. He then broke twice more during a dominant second set performance to complete the routine win.

Nadal is aiming for an eighth title in the Italian capital this week, while Djokovic will hoping for a solid performance after suffering six defeats in his 12 tour matches this year.

Nadal will retake the World No 1 spot he lost to Roger Federer last week if he clinches the trophy.

Also through to the third round on Wednesday was Japan's Kei Nishikori, who faced a tough challenge in Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov but fought back superbly to send the third seed packing.

Nishikori dropped the first set but mounted an impressive comeback to secure a hard-fought 6-7, (4-7), 7-5, 6-4 victory.

Other winners on the day included Fabio Fognini, Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro.

Halep in cruise control in Rome

World number one Simona Halep took advantage of an out of sorts Naomi Osaka to reach the third round of the Italian Open on Wednesday.

The diminutive Romanian needed just one hour to ease past Osaka 6-1 6-0 on the clay courts of Rome. Halep took the opportunities that came her way, converting 6/7 breakpoints.

Meanwhile, Osaka, who was trying to overpower Halep, would notch up 29 unforced errors in a misdirected power game. Halep is hunting down her second title of 2018.

The victory earns the top seed a third round date with Madison Keys, who she leads 5-1 in their head-to-head stat. Later in the day, the 13th seed battled past Donna Vekic 7-6(2), 7-6(0) in a tense affair.

In an upset, world number 42 Maria Sakkari of Greece came back from a set down to knock out sixth seed Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Elsewhere, seventh seed Caroline Garcia defeated Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.

Thiem gearing up for Nadal rematch

World number eight Dominic Thiem is preparing to face the mercurial Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at the Italian Open once again.

The talented Thiem brought Nadal’s record-setting run to end at the Madrid Open last week, surprising all by knocking out the then world number one in straight sets.

Now, as the clay court swing stops off in Rome, the Austrian finds himself in the same quarter of the draw as Nadal once again. But Thiem is ready for round two with the King of Clay.

"I went in with the attitude that I can beat him," the 24-year-old told atpworldtour.com.

"It was very important I went in with a positive attitude, with an attitude to win. Like this I should go in every match against him.

"I played a very good tournament in Madrid. Here in Rome, again, not the best draw, I would say. A little bit unlucky again. But I have to see. Last year, I did really well. The change from Madrid to here, it's very different. I hope I can do it again here."

However, Thiem still has to overcome the first hurdle in Rome, which is fiery local Fabio Fognini. While Thiem has not lost a set to the veteran in two meetings, anything is possible when Fognini is in front of his home crowd.

"Normally, you don't really know what to expect from him," conceded Thiem, who faces him on Wednesday.

"But I think in Rome it's a little bit different. He's at home here. Amazing fans are here, and the atmosphere is really good for him. He's always played well here, last year beat Murray and also in the past had very good results."

Shapovalov through, Cilic delayed

Canadian teen sensation Denis Shapovalov fought back to beat Tomas Berdych at the Italian Open on Tuesday, a victory that elevates him to Canadian number one.

The 19-year old, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week, had to dig deep against Berdych, recovering from a poor first set to eventually triumph 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-5).

The world number 29’s comeback win sets up a second round match against Robin Haase of the Netherlands, but more importantly it took him past compatriot Milos Raonic in the ATP rankings.

“I'm a little bit in shock,” said Shapovalov after finding out about his achievement. “It's definitely happened extremely quickly. I've worked hard to try to achieve this a long time in my career. It's crazy that it's come so early... It's a reason to keep working, keep staying motivated and hopefully I can keep going.”

Meanwhile, number four seed Marin Cilic will have to come back on Wednesday to finish his match with Ryan Harrison of the United States after it was suspended due to rain with the duo tied at 6-6 in the first set.

Other seeds in action on Tuesday included David Goffin, the ninth seed going through after defeating Italian Marco Cecchinato 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, while 14th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina defeated Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-1.

America’s Jack Sock (13) went out after a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur will play seven-time winner in Rome Rafael Nadal in the second round after he defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-3, 6-1.

Svitolina and Kerber advance in Italy

WTA stars Elina Svitolina and Angelique Kerber both enjoyed a successful day at the Italian Open on Tuesday.

Svitolina reached the third round of the clay court event following a routine 6-1, 6-2 win in just one hour over Petra Martic on the red stuff in Rome.

The fourth seed was near error-free, saving both break points she faced while claiming Martic’s serve four times in a clinical display. The defending champion fired 24 winners and was accurate on serve, winning 79% of her first service points.

Meanwhile, two-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber survived a tense second set tiebreaker to defeat Zarina Diyas 6-2, 7-6(6) to reach the second round.

The German has been on the sidelines with injury since WTA Stuttgart in April and was happy with her comeback performance.

"I'm really happy to be on court again and after the practices, and the treatments I had, I'm quite happy about the performance today," Kerber added.

"For me, it would be good to have as many matches as I can...before going to Paris. I'm just looking match-to-match, and I don't have too big of expectations for this tournament."

Elsewhere, former world number one Maria Sharapova continued to impress on clay, knocking out 16th seed Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in two and half hours. The Russian is coming off a quarter-final appearance in Madrid.

Injury forces Tsonga out of French Open

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been forced to withdraw from next week's Lyon Open and the French Open, starting on 21 May in Paris, due to a knee injury.

The 33-year-old Tsonga, who had surgery to his troublesome knee in April and is the defending champion in Lyon, took to his Twitter account to confirm the news that we would be unavailable to play in the events.

"I'm obviously very disappointed, but I still want to come to Lyon as an ambassador and to Roland Garros as a spectator," he said.

Tsonga injured his knee in February at the Montpellier International and has not played since.

A crowd favourite, Tsonga, will be missed at the Roland Garros showpiece where he reached the semi-finals in 2013 and 2015, losing to Spain's David Ferrer and Swiss Stan Wawrinka respectively.

Williams back ‘to win’ at Roland Garros

Serena Williams will be ready for Roland Garros later this month, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou has promised.

The 23-time grand slam winner will make a second return to competitive tennis in Paris despite not having played a clay-court tournament this season.

Speaking to WTATennis.com, Mouratoglou said he was "confident" Williams will be ready on May 27 and that she has a chance of winning.

Williams withdrew from Madrid and Rome after suffering two early losses on her comeback in March, when she lost to sister Venus in the third round of Indian Wells and Naomi Osaka in the first round of the Miami Open.

"Serena will play the French Open to win it," Mouratoglou said. "Can she do it? Serena can achieve anything. After being her coach for six years, I'm even more sure of that statement."

He also admitted that perhaps Williams had come back a little too early to the tour following the birth of her daughter last September.

"Serena clearly came back too early," he said. "She was not ready yet but needed to feel the competition, so she decided to play even though she was far from being at 100 percent. It was a good experience as she realized all the work that needed to be done in order for her to be really ready."

Mouratoglou said Williams, who will be participating in her first grand slam since winning the 2017 Australian Open, has been preparing at his academy since late April.