Andrey Rublev doubled up to reach the final of the Qatar Open, where he will meet qualifier Corentin Moutet who also completed a highly impressive brace of victories on Friday.

Rain on Thursday in Doha complicated the schedule for the remaining players in the draw, but Rublev and Moutet were each able to win both their quarter-final and semi-final matches on the same day.

Rublev, one of the more promising young players on the ATP Tour, showed why he is so highly thought of, the second seed beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 6-3 before easing past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3 6-1.

While Rublev's strong performance may have been anticipated, few could have expected Moutet's extraordinary run this week.

The 20-year-old had never previously reached a Tour level final but, after stunning Milos Raonic in the round of 16, he came through successive three-setters with Fernando Verdasco and Stan Wawrinka.

He overcame Verdasco 6-4 4-6 6-4, and his meeting with top seed Wawrinka was similarly frenetic.

Wawrinka had earlier overcome Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-4 but, despite making a strong start to his semi-final, the three-time grand slam winner could not hold back Moutet.

The French youngster won the first three games of the third set, in which he did not face a break point as he closed out a 3-6 7-5 6-3 triumph.

Rafael Nadal made up for losing his singles rubber to David Goffin by helping Spain clinch a vital doubles victory over Belgium, ensuring they joined Novak Djokovic's Serbia in the ATP Cup semi-finals.

Spain took a 1-0 lead after Roberto Bautista Agut overcame Steve Darcis' replacement Kimmer Coppejans 6-1 6-4, but Nadal was unable to seal the deal against Goffin.

Goffin claimed just his second success over the 19-time major champion, producing an efficient attacking display to take a 6-4 7-6 (7-3) triumph.

Nadal returned to Ken Rosewall Arena for the decisive doubles match alongside Pablo Carreno Busta, but they failed to convert a set point before surrendering the opener to Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

Spain forced a match tie-break after a video review showed Vliegen struck the ball before it crossed the net and with momentum on their side, Nadal and Carreno Busta surged to victory.

Nadal found the corner with a tremendous forehand from the baseline for the first mini-break and a double fault from Gille gave them a second. A double fault from Vliegen sent Spain through to a showdown with Australia on Saturday.

"It was tough for us it was a big change from Perth to here with not much time to adapt and the conditions today were very heavy," said Nadal after the 6-7 (7-9) 7-5 10-7 success.

"They [Belgium] have been here for 10 days, for us it's the first day. Well done to them, a great level of tennis ... We are super happy to be in the semi-finals."

Dusan Lajovic got Serbia, who received raucous backing from the crowd in Sydney, off to a great start by claiming a 6-4 6-2 victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime in an hour and 39 minutes.

Canada were consequently relying on Denis Shapovalov beating Djokovic in the second singles rubber to remain in the competition and hopes were high when he took the opening set of a heated encounter.

The world number two had to save three break points to avoid falling behind early in the second set, but his hold of serve kick-started a run that saw him reel off five straight games to force a decider.

Shapovalov received a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after reacting to boos from the crowd by swearing, though chair umpire Carlos Bernardes later told spectators who continued to jeer the Canadian to "go home".

The 20-year-old showed tremendous character to fight back and take the match to a final-set tie-break after Djokovic jogged to the stands to provide an unwell fan with water while serving for the victory.

Djokovic raced into a 6-1 lead in the tie-break and got the job done at the fourth attempt, completing a 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4) triumph.

Serbia finished off a 3-0 victory when Nikola Cacic and Viktor Troicki defeated Peter Polansky and Adil Shamasdin 6-3 6-2 in just 58 minutes. They face Russia in the semi-finals.

A confident David Goffin shocked Rafael Nadal 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to set up a decisive doubles rubber between Belgium and Spain in the ATP Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

After Roberto Bautista Agut beat Steve Darcis' replacement Kimmer Coppejans 6-1 6-4 in the first singles match, a win for Nadal would have sent Spain through to the semi-finals in Sydney.

However, Goffin got the better of the 19-time major winner for only the second time in his career with a fine attacking display.

The Belgian was unable to consolidate his first break of the opening set but, after staving off a trio of break points in game eight, he did not fail at the second attempt.

Goffin continued that momentum with a break early in the second, before Nadal fought back to force a tie-break.

However, the world number one double faulted at 5-2 down to give Goffin four match points and he only needed two attempts to convert and take the tie the distance.

"I felt my tennis the other match against Grigor [Dimitrov]…the confidence came back and I was ready for the fight tonight," Goffin said on court.

"From the first point until the end it was not easy, I was up a set and a break and I had to hold my nerves until the end. I played a very good tie-break, some tough games towards the end of the second to hold my serve but at the end I'm so happy for Belgium to have a decisive doubles.

"I knew Rafa had to take the ball a little bit early, maybe to take some more risks because I was in the court trying to dictate all the time and he had to find a solution. He finds a solution most of the time so I had to stick to my line and continue to move forward."

Miomir Kecmanovic's fine start to 2020 continued before rain stopped play at the Qatar Open in Doha.

Having defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, Kecmanovic – who enjoyed a run to the semis at the Next Gen ATP Finals last year – cruised past Marton Fucsovics in 56 minutes on Thursday.

Kecmanovic's 6-2 6-0 triumph puts him into the last four, though he will not find out his fellow semi-finalists until Friday after the rain arrived.

Kecmanovic will face either Andrey Rublev or Pierre-Hugues Herbert, while Corentin Moutet faces Fernando Verdasco and Stan Wawrinka goes up against Aljaz Bedene.

Herbert and Rublev were locked at 1-1 in the opening set when rain stopped play.

Andrey Rublev saw off Mikhail Kukushkin to book a quarter-final clash against Pierre-Hugues Herbert on a day where other seeds struggled at the Qatar Open.

Second seed Rublev, a Doha finalist in 2018, eased to a 6-4 6-2 victory in 69 minutes on Wednesday.

They key moment of the match came late in the first set when he immediately broke Kukushkin back after the Kazakh had battled back to level the opening set at 4-4.

"I'm really happy that I could win in straight sets," Rublev said. "It was first match of the season, first match since two months, and, of course, I was a little bit nervous."

World number 23 Rublev will meet Herbert next after the Frenchman impressively knocked out number five seed Laslo Djere 6-1 6-3.

Miomir Kecmanovic defeated third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (11-9) 6-1, ending the Frenchman's hopes of repeating his 2012 title success.

Serbian Kecmanovic will next play Marton Fucsovics after the qualifier's straightforward win over wildcard Cem Ilkel.

Fernando Verdasco's three-set triumph over Filip Krajinovic means he will play Corentin Moutet, who recorded a straight sets victory against former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.

Number one seed Stan Wawrinka, a loser in the doubles with partner Frances Tiafoe, takes on Aljaz Bedene in the last eight on Thursday.

Argentina, Belgium and Canada claimed the last spots in the ATP Cup Final 8 with Croatia, Japan, South Africa and France among the teams to miss out on a dramatic day six.

The Group E winners were confirmed as Argentina after a 3-0 win over Croatia which saw Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman impressively defeat Marin Cilic and Borna Coric respectively in straight sets.

They joined Serbia, Spain, Great Britain, Russia and hosts Australia as the six group winners, leaving two spots for the best runners-up available to be claimed.

As it happened, results meant Belgium and Canada, the two teams who held the spots coming into Wednesday's action, were able to hold on to the positions without playing.

While Argentina were already through with a 2-0 lead over Croatia, the doubles win by Andres Molteni and Maximo Gonzalez over Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic ensured Canada, rather than Croatia, progressed as the second-best runner-up team.

The Final 8 stage begins with Australia v Great Britain and Argentina v Russia on Thursday, while Serbia will meet Canada as Belgium take on Spain a day later.

Canada could have also been denied by either France or South Africa, who needed a 3-0 clean sweep against the other to progress.

But after Gilles Simon defeated Lloyd Harris, Kevin Anderson fought back from a set down to defeat Benoit Paire 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-5) and end France's hopes.

Paire, standing in as France number one after Gael Monfils withdrew, was serving for the match at 5-4 up in the second and third sets but could not convert either of those opportunities, Anderson also saving a match point on his own serve.

South Africa then won the doubles to triumph 2-1 and narrowly miss out on progression.

Poland beat Austria 2-1, with Hubert Hurkacz winning a final set tie-break against Dominic Thiem, the world number four's second defeat of the week, as neither nation progressed to the knockout stage.

Georgia defeated Uruguay 2-1 in a tie between two other teams who will go no further, with Pablo Cuevas unhappy to receive a warning for a lack of effort during his defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Japan won their first two matches at the tournament but a 3-0 loss to Spain earlier on Wednesday had removed them from contention.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ensured they ended the group stages with 100 per cent winning records after victories on day six of the ATP Cup.

Spain and Serbia are safely into the Final 8 and are not among the nations fighting it out to be one of the two best runners-up who join the six group winners in the knockout stage, which will be played in Sydney.

Nadal overcame his toughest test yet with a battling 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Yoshihito Nishioka, following up singles wins in earlier ties against Nikoloz Basilashvili and Pablo Cuevas.

The world number one, playing in the heat of the day session for the first time in Perth, was not at his best and made 36 unforced errors.

But Nadal claimed the first set in a tie-break as he recovered from being broken twice, before improving slightly in the second where a solitary strike on Nishioka's serve in game nine proved decisive.

Nadal then played doubles for the first time in the tournament, teaming up with Pablo Carreno Busta in a 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 10-6 win over Ben McLachlan and Go Soeda.

Soeda had earlier lost to Roberto Bautista Agut as Spain, who also won the Davis Cup in November, won their third consecutive tie by a 3-0 scoreline.

"It was the first experience with the heat here in Australia, so we played under heavy conditions and it was tough," said Nadal.

"I played against a player who has started the season on fire, so it was an important victory for me and the team."

Djokovic also made it three wins out of three in singles play with a 6-3 6-3 win over Chile's Cristian Garin in Brisbane.

Serbia won the tie 2-1 and Djokovic, who also beat Kevin Anderson and Gael Monfils earlier in the event as well as winning a doubles encounter against France, will lead his side against one of the best two runners-up in the Final 8.

Djokovic insisted he relished having to play against so many other top players at an early stage of the season.

"I've never minded to face tough adversity from the blocks and have high-intensity matches from day one," he said with the defence of his Australian Open title ahead later this month.

"I had Kevin Anderson who was playing some extraordinary tennis. I thought it was the toughest match I've played here in Brisbane.

"And again against Monfils, even though it was straight sets, it was still a lot of rallies and it was quite long and exhausting.

"I am really happy with the challenges that I've had in the last six, seven days here, and hopefully that can allow me to build my form for Sydney and Melbourne later."

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley insisted the year's first grand slam would go ahead "as scheduled", but the air quality in Melbourne will be monitored.

Bushfires have ravaged Australia in recent months, leading to a smoky haze covering Victoria's capital on certain days.

But Tiley expects the year's opening major to go ahead as planned, beginning on January 20, while organisers keep an eye on air quality.

"Everything is going ahead as scheduled," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"We will continue to work closely with not only the Bureau of Meteorology but also medical experts to ensure what we've always said – that the safety of the players, our fans and our staff are of the utmost importance and our primary objective each time.

"The one thing I will remind everyone is we do have three stadium roofs where we have a controlled environment so play will always continue.

"It will come under our extreme heat policy approach and what will be new is we'll also have some real-time monitoring on-site.

"You currently can get air quality monitoring just generally over a 24-hour period just by going to a website, but we'll be more detailed with it and bring it on site."

Tennis stars have rallied to raise funds for those impacted by the bushfires, while an exhibition event will be held in Melbourne on January 15.

Tiley revealed Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams were among those who had agreed to play at the event.

"Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Nick Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas have all agreed to participate on Wednesday night," he said.

"We will be, over the course of the coming days, announcing additional players. We're going to try and get more out onto the court and for about two and a half hours we're going to be showcasing the game but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort."

Stan Wawrinka claimed a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Jeremy Chardy to reach the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open on Tuesday.

In his first match of 2020, top seed Wawrinka saved six of the seven break points he faced and came from 0-3 down in the second set to book a meeting with Aljaz Bedene, who overcame Alexander Bublik 6-3 7-5.

Laslo Djere defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 3-6 6-2 and Mikhail Kukushkin downed Malek Jaziri 6-0 6-3, earning a clash with second seed Andrey Rublev in round two.

Wawrinka's doubles partner Frances Tiafoe – seeded eighth in the singles – lost 6-4 4-6 6-4 to Marton Fucsovics, while Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Cem Ilkel also progressed.

Stefanos Tsitsipas joked he is set to be grounded by his parents after injuring his father Apostolos during his defeat to Nick Kyrgios at the ATP Cup.

The Greece player lost his cool after dropping the first set to Kyrgios, angrily swiping his racket and inadvertently hitting his father in the process. 

A shocked Apostolos was left with a bruised arm and walked away from his son at the courtside area, prompting Tsitsipas' mother, who was seated nearby, to come and give her son a public telling off.

Tsitsipas received a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct and then received a second early in the second set, leading to a points penalty, for hitting the ball away in frustration after losing a point.

Asked if he would receive a punishment at home, Tsitsipas told reporters: "Maybe, yeah, maybe I'll stay in my room for three days grounded by my father."

The world number six conceded he had lost control but insisted he had swiftly moved on from the incident.

Tsitsipas added: "It happened accidentally. I didn't mean to do it and straight away forgot about it and moved on from there. 

"It happens. I wasn't aiming to do that. It's just it went out of control, unfortunately."

Greece lost all three of their ties at the tournament, with Tsitsipas going 1-2 in his singles matches - a disappointment as he looked to build on his ATP Finals win ahead of the Australian Open.

Kyrgios' 7-6 (9-7) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5) win helped to ensure hosts Australia, who face Great Britain in the quarter-finals, ended the group stage with a third straight 3-0 victory.

He was reluctant to judge Tsitsipas for his outburst, saying: "I didn't see it.

"I don't think he meant it as well. I don't think you guys should be giving it too much attention or looking too far into it, to be honest. 

"I've done some stupid things as well in the heat of the moment. It was obviously an accident."

Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas suffered frustration on day five of the ATP Cup, as Russia and Great Britain joined Australia and Serbia in the quarter-finals.

Germany were eliminated after a 2-1 defeat to Canada where a troubled Zverev lost his third consecutive match of the tournament.

He went down 6-2 6-2 to Denis Shapovalov in 70 minutes after also suffering defeats to Alex de Minaur and Tsitsipas in his country's first two ties.

Jan-Lennard Struff had beaten Felix Auger-Aliassime, but the Canadian later teamed up with fellow youngster Shapovalov to win the decisive doubles against Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies in straight sets.

Australia had already won Group F, so Canada will wait for the results on day six to see if they will progress as one of the two best runners-up.

"I'm really happy to get the win and hopefully we can go through," said Shapovalov.

"I feel like we're definitely one of the top teams and I feel like we definitely deserve to go to Sydney. Hopefully, if we do get that chance, we can do some really big damage."

Zverev's serving woes continued as he won only 29 per cent of points on his second serve and had seven double faults, taking his weekly total to 31 in three matches.

The world number seven said: "There's a lot of things that I still need to improve, but it's the start of the season."

Hosts Australia kept up the momentum by winning their third straight tie against Greece, as Tsitsipas fell to defeat.

With De Minaur rested, Nick Kyrgios took over number one duties and won a tense encounter 7-6 (9-7) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5).

Tsitsipas inadvertently injured his father Apostolos when smashing his racket in the team zone after losing the opening set tie-break and Greece ended the week without winning a tie.

But the ATP Finals champion was in a reflective mood afterwards, saying: "We had a difficult draw here in Brisbane.

"Canada, Australia … Germany, one of the strongest nations in the game, playing against a small, tiny little nation like Greece, which has no history in tennis at all? 

"You've got to feel proud. We fought very hard and we wanted to prove to the rest of the world that we can play tennis anywhere."

Russia booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Norway, Daniil Medvedev handing Casper Ruud his first singles defeat of the week.

Italy were victorious against the United States but cannot reach the next stage despite winning two of their three Group D ties.

Great Britain won 3-0 against Moldova and Belgium's 2-1 win over Bulgaria meant Tim Henman's team progressed as Group C winners and will face Australia in Sydney on Thursday.

Belgium, like Canada, face a nervous wait for Wednesday's results with Spain, Croatia, Japan, Austria, South Africa, France and Argentina the other countries vying to fill the four remaining spots.

Jeremy Chardy beat Gregoire Barrere in three sets on Monday to set up a meeting with top seed Stan Wawrinka in the second round of the Qatar Open.

Chardy saved six set points before being taken do a decider by Barrere, who passed up six chances to break his opponent and succumbed to a 6-3 3-6 6-3 defeat.

Seventh seed Adrian Mannarino exited after a 6-3 6-4 loss to Alexander Bublik, while Filip Krajinovic – seeded sixth – came from a set down to beat Kyle Edmund 4-6 6-3 6-3.

There were also wins for Fernando Verdasco, Aljaz Bedene, Corentin Moutet and Miomir Kecmanovic.

Novak Djokovic inspired a comeback for Serbia as they defeated France 2-1 to seal a place in the ATP Cup quarter-finals.

Djokovic's compatriot Dusan Lajovic lost the opening singles rubber in Brisbane, but the world number two ensured Serbia will progress from Group A.

Motivated and frustrated by a passionate crowd in Serbia's opening tie with South Africa, Djokovic thrived in front of passionate support and made light work of Gael Monfils to level matters, dispatching him 6-3 6-2 to improve his record in their head to head to 16-0.

He and Viktor Troicki then required a match tie-break to see off Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 10-3 and seal victory, delighting fans that stayed into the early hours in Brisbane.

"We love playing for our country," Djokovic said in his on-court interview. "Thanks to the people for staying to almost 1am to support us. You guys are true tennis fans."

US Open champion Rafael Nadal was not required for double duty in Spain's tie with Uruguay in Perth, which saw him hammer Pablo Cuevas 6-2 6-1 to give his country an unassailable lead.

Earlier Roberto Bautista Agut hammered Franco Roncadelli, with Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez rounding off the tie with a dead rubber doubles win over Ariel Behar and Juan Martin Fumeaux.

Dominic Thiem defeated Diego Schwartzman in straight sets as Austria beat Argentina 3-0 to claim their first win of the inaugural tournament, while Croatia and Japan remain undefeated after 2-1 victories over Poland and Georgia respectively.

South Africa got off the mark with a 3-0 beating of Chile, Kevin Anderson claiming his first win since Wimbledon following a long lay-off with a knee injury as he eased to a 6-0 6-3 triumph against Cristian Garin.

 

Novak Djokovic matched Maria Sharapova's donation of $25,000 to help those affected by bushfires in Australia.

Bushfires have ravaged large parts of the country in recent months, with New South Wales and Victoria hugely impacted.

Sportspeople have rallied to raise funds for victims and Sharapova and Djokovic offered their help as the duo prepare for the upcoming Australian Open.

"The month of January in Australia has been my [home emoji] for the past 15 years," Sharapova wrote on Twitter.

"Watching the fires destroy the lands, its beautiful families and communities of animals is deeply [heartbreak emoji].

"I would like to begin my donation at 25K. @DjokerNole, would you match my donation? #letsallcometogether."

Djokovic responded on Monday, writing: "Yes, @MariaSharapova I would like to match your $25k donation to double the aid sent to these communities. We stand by you, #Australia."

World number two Djokovic will be aiming for an eighth Australian Open title and 17th major when the grand slam starts on January 20 in Melbourne.

Stefanos Tsitsipas delivered a fresh early-season blow to Alexander Zverev at the ATP Cup but ended the day disappointed as Greece lost to Germany in Brisbane.

ATP Finals champion Tsitsipas lost out in two tie-breaks to Denis Shapovalov when Greece were beaten by Canada on Friday, but on Sunday he had too much for another star of tennis' new generation.

This time Tsitsipas had it largely all his own way, trouncing an out-of-sorts Zverev 6-1 6-4 in the first meeting of two top-10 players at this inaugural event, which is in its round-robin stage.

Zverev certainly did not help himself, and it was a familiar failing that left him powerless to make an impression, serving 10 double faults and landing only 45% of his first serves as he lost to Tsitsipas for the fifth time in six career meetings.

"My serving isn't back yet. Simple as that," Zverev said on the ATP website.

"I'm doing double faults. I'm serving 120 kilometres an hour, that's not really going to cut it."

His win levelled the Group F tie after Jan-Lennard Struff's earlier win over Michail Pervolarakis, yet Tsitsipas and Greece would end the day dejected, with Tsitsipas and Pervolarakis losing a doubles epic 3-6 6-3 17-15, the marathon match tie-break going the way of Germany's Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, who saved six match points.

Tsitsipas said: "I'm proud of my singles. Doubles went good as well. I'm very proud of myself the way I played and at the same time I feel disappointed. I came so close and, obviously, we're not the favourites, but we could have been the ones that made the surprise today and we didn't, which is such a shame."

Shapovalov could not follow up his Friday win over Tsitsipas with another triumph over a fellow young prospect, edged out 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 by Australia's Alex de Minaur in a 3-0 defeat for Canada against the hosts in Brisbane.

De Minaur also beat Zverev on Friday and is making a sharp start to the year.

All eyes are on the pretenders to the sport's top prizes ahead of the Australian Open, and US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev rolled to an impressive 6-3 6-1 victory over American John Isner in Russia's 2-1 triumph over USA in Perth. Medvedev even prevailed 6-4 on the aces count against one of the biggest servers in the game.

Also in Perth, Italy were 2-1 winners over Norway, despite Casper Ruud's eye-catching 6-2 6-2 win over world number 12 Fabio Fognini.

Bulgaria followed up Friday's victory over Great Britain by felling Moldova 2-1 in Sydney, while the British team recovered from their loss to Grigor Dimitrov and co by notching a notable 2-1 win against Belgium.

Cameron Norrie lost to Steve Darcis in the opener, but Dan Evans scored an impressive 6-4 6-4 success against 11th-ranked David Goffin, before Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury landed a 6-3 7-6 (9-7) doubles win against Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

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