Andrey Rublev maintained his magnificent form by beating Marton Fucsovics in straight sets to win the Rotterdam Open.

Rublev won Sunday's final 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to claim his fourth consecutive ATP 500 title.

The world number eight from Russia has now won 13 of his 14 matches this year, his only defeat coming against Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Rublev won 75 per cent of points on his first serve, winning the first set on a tie-break after saving four break points in the opening game.

Fucsovics was unable to turn it around in the second set, Rublev claiming his second win in three meetings with Fucsovics.

Just the one break in the opening game of the second set was enough for Rublev to add to his victories in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna last year.

 

 

Andrey Rublev continued his remarkable 2021 as he saw off Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to reach the final of the Rotterdam Open.

Tsitsipas has himself enjoyed a fine start to the year, reaching the semis of the Australian Open, but it was Rublev who progressed to the final in more routine fashion than might have been expected.

He prevailed 6-3 7-6 (7-2), marking his 12th win from 13 matches this season.

The victory also extended his winning streak in ATP 500 matches to 19. Only Roger Federer (28) and Andy Murray (21) have produced longer such runs.

"[I play tennis] to play at the best level, to play at the best tournaments, to try to compete, then to go deep and to try to win them," Rublev said in an on-court interview. "A final is always special, so I am going to try to do my best tomorrow [Sunday]."

Rublev is likely to require his best given the form Marton Fucsovics, his opponent, is in.

Fucsovics came through qualifying to reach the main draw and delivered a superb performance to stun world number 26 Borna Coric 6-4 6-1.

The final will be the third of Fucsovics' career and his first since February 2019, when he lost to Rublev's Russian compatriot Daniil Medvedev at the Sofia Open.

Three-time grand slam winner Andy Murray revealed he deleted his social media apps after being inspired by The Social Dilemma documentary, rather than constant abuse he receives about retiring.

The 33-year-old claimed his first ATP Tour victory in six months on Monday, winning 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 over fellow wildcard Robin Haase in just under two and a half hours at the Rotterdam Open.

The past few years for Murray, who missed last month's Australian Open after testing positive to COVID-19, have seen him battle hip issues, before getting a metal cap inserted to strengthen the area.

Since then, the Scot been unable to reach the levels that previously saw him win major titles and be world number one, leading to constant calls for him to retire, particularly on social media.

"Actually, I deleted it, I don't have Twitter on my phone and I deleted Instagram last week, not because of that [the retirement comments]," Murray said.

"You see those things on Instagram and social media if you're on it, obviously and if you have the app on your phone but I'd watched a while ago that Social Dilemma movie.

"I thought it was brilliant and then actually, a couple of days after my match last week I watched an interview with all the people that were responsible for making that and I was like, 'Yeah, I’m done'. I deleted that off my phone but yes, it's tough."

Murray admitted his return from his injury battles had been physically taxing, while the mental toll had not been easy to handle either.

However, he felt he performed well enough to offer him no genuine reason to want to retire from the Tour.

"Since I came back and started playing with the metal hip, I’ve beaten some pretty good players," he said.

"I beat Stan [Wawrinka], I beat [Matteo] Berrettini, I beat [Alex] Zverev. I served for the match against [Fabio] Fognini. These are top players that I was playing against and competing well against and physically now I'm in a better place than I was then.

"I've put in a lot of good physical work since then so why should I stop because I lost a match last week against someone [Egor Gerasimov] that people would expect me to win against.

"Everyone out there can play and because I'm not on the top of my game just now, and once I get there I believe I'll win matches more competitively.

"Why should I stop? Tell me a good reason for why I should stop playing. I can still compete with the best players in the world with one hip. I think that's quite amusing really."

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Rotterdam Open after being advised to give his troublesome back problem time to heal.

The world number two was scheduled to represent Spain in next week's tournament at Rotterdam Ahoy but has been replaced by Reilly Opelka of the United States.

Twenty-time grand slam winner Nadal has been struggling with a lower back injury and was also forced to pull out of Spain's ATP Cup ties this month.

The 34-year-old was cleared to take part in the Australian Open, where he did not drop a set before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.

However, Nadal has still not fully recovered from the issue and will now miss another event.

Organisers of the ATP 500 tournament confirmed the news on Thursday and Nadal later took to Twitter to explain the decision.

"It is with great sadness that I have to forfeit from Rotterdam," he said. "As most of the fans know, I suffered some back problems in Australia that started in Adelaide and continued during Melbourne. 

"We found a temporary solution that allowed me to play without pain in the second week of the tournament. Once I got back to Spain I visited my doctor and together with my team they've advised not to play this upcoming week. 

"I was really looking forward to coming back to Rotterdam and The Netherlands since it's been a while I played there this was the perfect year for my calendar. 

"I hope to come back and play there soon. All the best to the tournament, always a top-class event."

World number three Daniil Medvedev will replace Nadal as the top seed in the Rotterdam tournament, which runs from March 1-7.

Gael Monfils followed up last week's third Open Sud de France title by defending his Rotterdam Open crown, dealing teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime further ATP Tour final agony.

In-form world number nine Monfils triumphed at the Montpellier championship the previous Sunday and made it nine straight Tour wins with a 6-2 6-4 success this time.

Canada's Auger-Aliassime, on the other hand, is still waiting for his first senior career title and was never really in the contest as Monfils ended the week without dropping a set.

Playing his fourth Tour final after a trio of 2019 defeats, the 19-year-old made a nervous start and was required to rescue three break points in just the third game after some wayward initial work with the forehand.

Auger-Aliassime merely delayed the setback until his next service game, though, Monfils coming out on top for a 3-2 lead as the pair did battle at the net.

Following a brief Monfils scare, Auger-Aliassime went long when defending a third break opportunity next time out and slipped further behind, allowing the third seed to serve out the opener.

There was no improvement from the Canadian when the match resumed, the second set beginning with a series of errors and a crushing break to love.

Monfils stylishly got the better of an apparently defeated Auger-Aliassime at the net to tee up another three openings, taking the last of them.

The Frenchman stuttered badly when serving for the championship and lost one of his breaks as Auger-Aliassime belatedly rallied, but the victory was eventually sealed.

Felix Auger-Aliassime will meet in-form defending champion Gael Monfils in the Rotterdam Open final after both players won their last-four encounters in straight sets.

Canadian teenager Auger-Aliassime will be seeking his first ATP Tour title after losing all three of his showpiece matches in his breakout campaign last year.

He sealed his place in the final with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in a contest lasting one hour and 49 minutes on Saturday.

Unseeded Auger-Aliassime sent down 16 aces, one of which came on match point, and lost only three of his 48 points on first serve, saving all of the four break points he faced in an impressive outing.

"I was serving the best I've ever served in that first set and then played a solid tie-break," he said after reaching his first final on a hard court.

"In the second set, things got interesting with that long third game [when Auger-Aliassime broke]. I was thinking, 'If this goes my way, it might be tough for him'. So, I really pushed to get through."

Monfils is eyeing back-to-back triumphs, having come into this tournament after winning the Open Sud de France on home soil last week.

He defeated Filip Krajinovic in the semi-finals there and repeated the trick against the Serbian this time, winning 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in a display that saw him hit 35 winners.

"It would be great [to win this title again]," said the Frenchman, who like Auger-Aliassime sealed his victory with an ace.

"It would be unbelievable. It would be the first time to win two titles in a row and actually even the first time to win two titles in the same season, so it would be huge for me."

Monfils, who only gave up one break point against Krajinovic, has never played Auger-Aliassime before.

"Felix is a great guy, a humble guy," said Monfils.

"He is very strong, very talented guy. Definitely, I expect a tough match, but a cool match because I think we might see him for a long time in this stage of tournaments."

Defending champion Gael Monfils continued his hot-streak with a convincing 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory over Dan Evans in the Rotterdam Open quarter-finals.

The Frenchman, winner of the Open sud de France last week, made it seven wins in a row by overcoming Evans in one hour and 52 minutes.

Next up in the last four is Filip Krajinovic, who upset the form book to overcome Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. 

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Aljaz Bedene and will face Pablo Carreno Busta, who needed three sets to see off Jannik Sinner, in the other semi-final.

Stefanos Tsitsipas became the latest seed to crash out of the Rotterdam Open as Jannik Sinner claimed his first top-10 win on Thursday.

After top seed Daniil Medvedev departed the competition a day earlier, Tsitsipas and David Goffin - seeded second and fourth respectively - each suffered upsets to blow the bottom half of the draw wide open.

Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene recorded the biggest win of his career as he cut down Tsitsipas in straight sets, his second triumph over a top-10 player clinched by a 7-5 6-4 scoreline.

"I tried to stay focused, and I delivered," Bedene said shortly after a stunning winner down the line saw him successfully serve out for the match.

"I actually served really well when it was important and kept my cool really, because I was feeling that he [Tsitsipas] was pressuring sometimes.

"I had to stay focused and cool and play my shots, and I delivered. I'm happy with that."

The world number 52 saved five break points in the opener before claiming his first opportunity, and he conceded: "I think he [Tsitsipas] was probably the better player for most of the first set.

"He was serving really well, and I didn't play my game - especially on his service points. I stayed tough, which I had to do, otherwise it would go the other way. I guess the break gave me a boost of confidence."

Bedene will play Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, with the winner potentially meeting NextGen champion Sinner - matched with Pablo Carreno Busta - in the last four.

Sinner, still just 18, came up with 27 winners to see off 10th-ranked Goffin 7-6 (9-7) 7-5.

"I feel great, especially now in this moment," the Italian said, according to quotes on the ATP Tour website. "It was not easy playing against him. He is very solid, so you sometimes go for a winner or change the rhythm.

"It feels like a normal victory, but sometimes you play better than others. It's all about improving and testing where you are."

Reigning champion Gael Monfils prolonged his title defence, beating countryman Gilles Simon 6-4 6-1.

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev also advanced, while Vasek Pospisil could not build on his shock defeat of Medvedev, going down 6-4 7-6 (9-7) to Filip Krajinovic.

Top seed Daniil Medvedev exited the Rotterdam Open with a first-round defeat to Vasek Pospisil that headlined a day of shocks.

Medvedev – the 2019 US Open finalist – was playing his first match since a five-set defeat to Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open but was unable to find the same level he produced in that thriller.

Instead, Medvedev converted just one of his six break point opportunities as Pospisil claimed a 6-4 6-3 victory on Wednesday.

Sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut was also on the receiving end of a surprise result, compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta winning 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-4) in the second round.

With Medvedev and Bautista Agut out of the draw, Felix Auger-Aliassime can afford to harbour greater hope of winning his first ATP singles title after he saw off Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2.

Though Auger-Aliassime is a place higher in the rankings than Dimitrov at 21st in the world, some may have expected the Bulgarian's greater experience to win out.

However, it was the 19-year-old Canadian who controlled matters, enjoying great success against the second serve of Dimitrov, who committed 27 unforced errors as Auger-Aliassime progressed to the quarter-finals.

Daniel Evans will join him in the last eight after the Briton defied the odds to come from a set down and defeat Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Gael Monfils, David Goffin and Gilles Simon all sealed first-round wins, though the latter pair did so in unconvincing fashion.

While third seed Monfils eased past Joao Sousa 6-3 6-2, fourth seed Goffin had to come from behind to knock out Robin Haase 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 and Simon survived a second-set blip in a 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 win over Mikhail Kukushkin.

Jannik Sinner is also through to round two, the 18-year-old given a walkover after Radu Albot withdrew with a shoulder injury.

Stefanos Tsitsipas fought back impressively to progress at the Rotterdam Open, but fellow seed Fabio Fognini tumbled out of the tournament on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas lost the opening set to Hubert Hurkacz and also slipped 2-0 behind in the second, yet he dropped only two further games as he progressed 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-1.

The world number six, who had failed to register a victory in his previous appearances at the tournament, moves on to face Aljaz Bedene, a 6-2 6-4 winner against Benoit Paire.

Andrey Rublev, the seventh seed aiming to win a third title already in 2020, wasted little time in reaching the last 16, dismissing Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2 6-3 in under an hour. 

Next up for Rublev will be Alexander Bublik, who came through a tense three-set battle against French qualifier Gregoire Barrere.

Fognini, meanwhile, lost in straight sets to Karen Khachanov, the Russian converting four of the seven break-point opportunities that came his way against the fifth-seeded Italian.

Felix Auger-Aliassime lost five straight games in the second set against Jan-Lennard Struff but eventually prevailed in a decider, his 6-3 1-6 6-3 victory booking a clash with 2018 runner-up Grigor Dimitrov. 

In the final match of the day, Filip Krajinovic defeated home wildcard Tallon Griekspoor 6-4 6-1.

Grigor Dimitrov consigned Denis Shapovalov to another early exit with a straight-sets victory in the first round of the Rotterdam Open.

Shapovalov was beaten by fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil in his opening match at the Oden Sud de France last week after falling at the first hurdle at the Australian Open.

The world number 16 suffered another setback on Monday, going down 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to the unseeded Dimitrov.

Dimitrov was beaten by outsider Gregoire Barrere in his first match in Montpellier last week but claimed a fourth tour-level victory of the year after saving all three break points he faced against the eighth seed.

The former world number three could face another Canadian in the form of Felix Auger-Aliassime or German Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round.

Roberto Bautista Agut, the sixth seed, came from a set down to defeat Marton Fucsovics, while fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta downed Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 6-4.

Dan Evans advanced in the final match of the opening day of the tournament, seeing off qualifier Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-5.

Daniil Medvedev sees plenty of positives from his start to the 2020 season despite a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open.

Medvedev reached the US Open final last year but could not reproduce that run on the hard courts in Melbourne.

He was knocked out in the last 16 in a thrilling five-set match with Stan Wawrinka, having also fallen short in an absorbing three-set contest with Novak Djokovic in the ATP Cup semi-final.

Not dispirited by those defeats, Medvedev was in upbeat mood ahead of the Rotterdam Open, where he will be the top seed.

Speaking to the ATP Tour, Medvedev said of his year so far: "I think I have played some good tennis.

"I lost two really strong matches I would say, and of course I always want to win and show better results, but I am just trying to do my thing, stay in there and spend hours on the practice court.

"Try to show the best I can in the tournament, the best during the matches and as I say regarding the results, of course I want something better all the time, but if we talk about my tennis and the wins I had, they were quite good."

Asked about how he motivates himself, Medvedev explained: "To be honest there are a lot of days like this, really a lot.

"It's our job, it's not for fun, it's our job and for me the best motivation that has always pushed me, no matter what ranking I had, was to [be] better, I wanted to win more tournaments whether it was ATP Challengers before and now ATPs, grand slams.

"If I allow myself some days to text my coach and say, 'I don't want to practice today, can we practice tomorrow?' I can do that, tennis is an individual sport, but I just know that it's not going to make a good impact on my results and that's what I'm here for and that's why I push myself."

Andy Murray has further delayed his return from a pelvic injury, opting to skip tournaments in Montpellier and Rotterdam next month.

The three-time grand slam champion withdrew from the Australian Open after suffering the injury during last year's Davis Cup Finals.

Murray, 32, was expected to play at the Open Sud de France and Rotterdam Open next month, but announced on Thursday he would not be ready to return.

"The bone bruising is taking longer to heal than first thought," former world number one Murray told UK media.

"So I won't be playing in Montpellier or Rotterdam in February.

"I don't want to rush anything or put a timeline on my recovery, I'm going to listen to my body and step back on the court to compete when the time is right."

After a hip injury threatened to end his career, Murray returned in the second half of last year and won the ATP Tour title in Antwerp in October.

 

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