Novak Djokovic admitted he played an "awful" match against Dan Evans at the Monte Carlo Masters as Rafael Nadal advanced with ease to the quarter-finals.

World number one Djokovic, playing in his first tournament since winning a ninth Australian Open in February, suffered his first defeat of 2021 on Thursday.

Evans, who had never before reached the last eight of a Masters 1000 tournament, won 6-4 7-5 with a performance that belied his relative lack of success on clay.

The 30-year-old Briton will now meet David Goffin, who surprised fifth seed Alexander Zverev 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

"To be honest, this has been probably one of the worst matches and performances from my side I can recall in the last years," said Djokovic. "I don't want to take anything away from his win, but from my side, I just felt awful on the court overall. Just nothing worked. It's one of those days."

Saying he felt "completely the opposite" to Wednesday's win over Jannik Sinner, Djokovic added: "Just was obviously very, very windy, tough to play in these kinds of conditions against a guy like Evans who makes you move. He's very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game."

Eleven-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal had no such problems in his match as he dismissed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-1 in 55 minutes.

Nadal, who boasts a 14-1 career record against the Bulgarian, did not face a break point in either set against his off-colour opponent.

Dimitrov started the match with three double faults in his opening service game and was 4-0 down in each set.

"[I am] sorry for him. He played a bad match. That is the truth," said Spaniard Nadal. "He made a lot of mistakes. I was there. I was doing the right thing, but it is true that today was more his fault than my good tennis."

Nadal will face Andrey Rublev after the Russian battled past Roberto Bautista-Agut 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-3.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Cristian Garin 6-3 6-4, will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina next, while Fabio Fognini's straight-sets win over Filip Krajinovic set up a meeting with Casper Ruud.

Rafael Nadal's bid to win a 12th Monte Carlo Masters title got off to an emphatic start as the Spaniard swept Federico Delbonis aside after Novak Djokovic had also booked his passage to the third round.

Nadal, 34, has won the competition more times than anyone else in its history and looked in good shape as he returned to the court for the first time since losing to Stefano Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-finals on February 17.

He needed just 81 minutes to get past the Argentinian qualifier 6-1 6-2 as he improved his record in the tournament to 72-5, breaking Delbonis' serve five times and only dropping his own once.

He is not getting carried away, however, with Grigor Dimitrov likely to provide a sterner test in the next round after beating Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

"It was solid match, I think. Of course, a very positive result. He's a good player on clay. [It was a] positive start for me," Nadal said in his post-match interview.

"I think I just really played a solid match. Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. Just a solid match, a positive start. I think I did what I had to do."

On Dimitrov, Nadal added: "We've had some great matches. In Melbourne, of course... we played another great match in Beijing, another one in Shanghai. He's a good friend, a good guy, and a great player. It's going to be a tough test in my second round.

"It's going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament."

A little earlier in the day, world number one Djokovic was in a similarly unforgiving mood as he overcame the potentially tricky obstacle of Jannik Sinner, the Serbian and two-time Monte Carlo champion winning 6-4 6-2.

Like Nadal, Djokovic was back in action for the first time since the Australian Open – which he won – and appeared fresh as he gave the promising young Italian something of a lesson in game management, reaching 10 matches unbeaten at the start of a season for the sixth time.

"It feels great [to be back and] also playing in Monaco, where I reside," Djokovic said. "I have used this club as a training base for almost 15 years, so it feels like playing at home."

Despite the rather commanding nature of his win, Djokovic was keen to pay tribute to the 19-year-old Sinner, adding: "It was a very good encounter. I thought it was a great first match [and] a big challenge for me. Jannik is in form. He played the final [in] Miami and has been playing well. I just hung in there today and managed to find the right shots and the right game at the right time.

"He has got a lot of talent and he has proven that he is the future of our sport. Actually, he is already the present of our sport. He played a final [in an] ATP Masters 1000 [tournament] already. He is making big strides in professional tennis."

Dan Evans awaits Djokovic after an impressive 6-4 6-1 win over Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz, while Alexander Zverez and Andrey Rublev – the fifth and sixth seeds – moved into the next round with respective straight-set victories over Lorenzo Sonego and Salvatore Caruso.

There were mixed fortunes for the other two top-10 seeds in action on Wednesday, as Pablo Carreno-Busta defeated Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-3, but Diego Schwartzman was sent packing by Casper Ruud, the Norwegian winning 6-3 6-3.

Novak Djokovic will tackle teenage rising star Jannik Sinner for the first time in a tantalising clash of tennis generations on Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters.

World number one Djokovic is returning to action this week, having taken time away from the tour since banking an 18th grand slam title by winning the Australian Open in February.

He received a first-round bye, but waiting for him in the last 32 is Sinner, who on Tuesday saw off 2017 Monte Carlo runner-up Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3 6-4, again illustrating the 19-year-old Italian's great potential.

World number 22 Sinner is the only teenager ranked inside the top 80 in the men's game and is coming off his first run to a Masters final, at the Miami Open.

The switch from hard courts to clay is one that Sinner is having to deal with, and seeing off a specialist on the surface in round one represents an impressive start, although facing two-time former champion Djokovic will be a step up.

"It's always good for me to see what I can do on clay," Sinner said, quoted on the ATP website. "Obviously, I am not in the best form on clay now for the first week.

"But I think today was a solid match from my side. It was not easy. He's not giving [away] one point, so you have to stay there the whole match. I think I played a good match from my side."

Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the last 16 with a 6-3 6-4 win over Russian Aslan Karatsev, but there was disappointment at the same stage for Italian eighth seed Matteo Berrettini, beaten 7-5 6-3 by Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Those were the only second-round matches of the day.

Surprise Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz made a winning start, battling to a 6-3 3-6 6-3 first-round success against Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano to reach round two.

Roberto Bautista Agut, Grigor Dimitrov, Pablo Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini each booked places in round two thanks to straight-sets wins.

Qualifier Federico Delbonis was a 7-5 6-1 victor over France's Adrian Mannarino, meaning the Argentinian faces the ultimate test in clay-court tennis next, a tussle with Rafael Nadal, the 11-time former champion in Monte Carlo.

Nadal has won all four of their previous matches, and their fifth encounter will immediately follow the Djokovic-Sinner match on Wednesday.

World number two Daniil Medvedev has pulled out of the Monte Carlo Masters after returning a positive coronavirus test.

The Russian, who was given a bye for the first round, went into isolation after returning a positive test on Monday.

"It's a big disappointment not to play in Monte Carlo," he said in a statement. "My focus is now on recovery and I look forward to getting back out on Tour as soon and as safely as possible."

Medvedev, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in January, had been practising with 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal on Monday.

The 25-year-old last played at the Miami Open at the end of March, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Roberto Bautista Agut.

David Goffin made an encouraging start to the Monte Carlo Masters as he beat Marin Cilic, though Jordan Thompson found things much harder against Benoit Paire.

World number 14 Goffin had lost his previous three matches heading to Monaco, but the Belgian delivered a sharp performance on Sunday, winning 6-4 3-6 6-0.

Open Sud de France champion Goffin did not start well, and had to come from 3-0 down in the first set, but Cilic made 52 unforced errors to help his opponent progress.

"It’s a good win. [This is my] first tournament on clay [in 2021]. Starting with a victory is good," said 2017 Monte Carlo semi-finalist Goffin, quoted on the ATP website.

"I did what I needed to do to win that match. I was playing better and better. In the first and second set, I had problems with the returns. In the third set, I was more consistent. It was a good match."

Goffin will face Marco Cecchinato or Dominik Koepfer in the second round, where he has been joined by Australian Jordan Thompson.

Thompson, the world number 62, needed three hours and two tie-breaks to beat Paire 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5), as the Frenchman's dismal string of results in 2021 continued.

Paire has now won just one of 10 matches this calendar year, while Thompson registered a fifth win of the season.

Pablo Carreno Busta won his first home ATP Tour title at the Andalucia Open on Sunday, while Lorenzo Sonego triumphed in Cagliari.

Hunting a fifth Tour title, top-seed Carreno Busta needed three sets to overcome compatriot Jaume Munar 6-1 2-6 6-4 in Marbella.

It is his 200th tour-level win, though it took him two hours and 21 minutes to claim his maiden Spanish title, and his first win since 2019.

Carreno Busta certainly had to work hard for it, with Munar having battled to 4-4 in the decider.

Yet a seventh break point of the ninth game was taken by Carreno Busta, whose powerful backhand return forced his 23-year-old opponent into an error.

Meanwhile, Sonego became the first Italian since Filippo Volandri in October 2006 to win an ATP Tour title on home soil as he overcame Laslo Djere in the Sardegna Open. 

Serbian Djere was on a nine-match winning streak in Italy, but Sonego – who won the doubles title on Saturday – succeeded 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Sonego is the first player since Feliciano Lopez at the 2019 Queen's Club Championships to win both the doubles and singles titles, and the first Italian to do so since Matteo Berrettini at the 2018 Swiss Open Gstaad.

It represents a second tour-level triumph for world number 34 Sonego, who previously won the 2019 Antalya Open.

Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta and fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar will meet in the Andalucia Open final on Sunday. 

Carreno Busta was pushed all the way by Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a pulsating semi-final, ultimately coming through 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5). 

"It was so close. I don't know what happened in the second set," Carreno said. "At the beginning of the match, I was very focussed on my game and being aggressive. 

"After that, Albert, of course, started to push [back] more and [I] started to lose my level a little bit. 

"I just kept fighting all the time, and I want to thank everyone [in the crowd] for their support. This is what we missed last year, the crowd. It's very important to play these kinds of very close matches with a crowd like this."

He will take on Munar after the 23-year-old edged past Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. 

Munar, who reached a final on the ATP Challenger Tour last week, said: "I feel happy and excited. I've been working a lot during the last [few] months. 

"It's a gift for me to be here in a final, and especially in Marbella which is one of my favourite places. I feel excited."

Elsewhere, Lorenzo Sonego is aiming to become the first Italian to win an ATP Tour clay-court title on home soil for 15 years when he takes on Laslo Djere in the final of the Sardegna Open on Sunday. 

Sonego, 25, overcame American Taylor Fritz 6-4 5-7 6-1 to give himself the opportunity to add to his Antalya Open title from 2019. 

Standing in his way is Serbian Djere, who cruised past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2 6-0 in just 52 minutes. 

Djere was in control from the outset and from 3-2 in the first set went on to win nine straight games, helping him to his third ATP Tour final.

Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta led a clean sweep for home players to head up an all-Spanish semi-final slate at the Andalucia Open, where teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz made history.

Carreno Busta demolished seventh seed Soonwoo Kwon 6-4 6-0, while Casper Ruud was stunned in straight sets by wildcard Alcaraz.

The 17-year-old backed up his victory over the veteran Feliciano Lopez in style, becoming the youngest ATP Tour semi-finalist since Alexander Zverev at Hamburg in 2014 with a 6-2 6-4 win.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas will face Carreno Busta after beating Norbert Gombos 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-4, while Alcarez is next on the agenda for compatriot Jaume Munar, who was taken the distance by Ilya Ivashka having overcome second seed Fabio Fognini on Thursday.

Taylor Fritz continued his solid form this season with a straight sets victory over Aljaz Bedene to reach the semi-finals of Sardegna Open.

Fritz is playing as the US number one for the first time in Cagliari this week and he made light work of Bedene, prevailing 6-3 6-4 to book a showdown with third seed Lorenzo Sonego, who beat Yannick Hanfmann 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 despite being 3-5 down in the second.

Seeded second and ranked 30 in the world, Fitz improved his 2021 record to 11-5 and will look to avenge a defeat in his only other meeting with Sonego on clay, when he lost at Roland Garros last year.

Lorenzo Musetti thrilled as he saved four match points to sink top seed Dan Evans on Thursday but bowed out after another epic, losing to Serbia's Laslo Djere 6-4 4-6 6-2 in two hours and 21 minutes.

Djere, who beat sixth seen John Millman en route to the quarter-finals, will face Nikoloz Basilashvili after the battle between seeds four and five ended 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the Georgian's favour.

The French Open will take place a week later than initially scheduled this year, a move aimed at increasing the possibility of spectators attending the event in Paris.

Action at Roland Garros was due to begin with qualifying on May 17, reverting back to a more traditional time in the tennis calendar after taking place last year in September and October.

That move was made due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, taking place after the US Open while Wimbledon was cancelled.

With France currently in a third nationwide lockdown as part of measures to slow the rise in COVID-19 cases, the ATP and WTA Tours released a joint statement on Thursday confirming the main draw at Roland Garros will now begin on May 30 instead.

"Tennis has required an agile approach to the calendar over the past 12 months in order to manage the challenges of the pandemic, and this continues to be the case," the statement read.

"The decision to delay the start of Roland Garros by one week has been made in the context of recently heightened COVID-19 restrictions in France, with the additional time improving the likelihood of enhanced conditions and ability to welcome fans at the event.

"Both the ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement to optimise the calendar for players, tournaments and fans, in the lead-up to and following Roland Garros.

"Further updates will be communicated in due course."

Rafael Nadal is the defending men's champion, the Spaniard having secured the clay-court title for a 13th time in 2020. However, there was a new winner in the women's tournament, Iga Swiatek of Poland defeating Sofia Kenin in the final.

A statement released from the Grand Slam Board backed the move to postpone the French Open, while also announcing the grass-court season will be reduced by one week as a consequence.

"All four grand slam tournaments are united in their view on the importance of a meaningful build-up to every grand slam, to provide players of all competitive levels with appropriate opportunities to practice, prepare and compete on the relevant surface," a statement released via Wimbledon's official website read.

"It was for this reason that the grand slams, together with the Tours, were supportive of changes to the calendar to create an enhanced grass-court season of three weeks between Roland Garros and the Championships from 2015 onwards. It is widely agreed that this change has been very successfully received.

"However, given the considerable challenges ahead of the FFT in staging Roland Garros, and to avoid further impact on the rest of the calendar, the grass-court season will be reduced by one week in 2021."

Wimbledon will remain as planned, the main draw beginning on June 28 with qualifying taking place the week beforehand.

Pablo Carreno Busta got his quest to win a maiden ATP Tour title in his homeland under way with a straight-sets defeat of Mario Vilella Martinez in the Andalucia Open.

Top seed Carreno Busta needed an hour and 38 minutes to dispatch his fellow Spaniard 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 in Marbella on Wednesday.

Carreno Busta won 73 per cent of points on his first serve and saved the only two break points he faced to set up a quarter-final against Soonwoo Kwon, who beat Facundo Bagnis 6-1 6-3.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas was another home contender to progress, getting the better of Ricardas Berankis 6-3 4-6 6-3, while Norbert Gombos ousted eighth seed Federico Delbonis 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-1).

There were no surprises in the Sardegna Open, where all three seeds in action moved into the last eight.

Taylor Fritz, the second seed, saw the back of Andrej Martin 6-2 7-6 (7-4) to set up a meeting with Aljaz Bedene, who beat Egor Gerasimov 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

Fifth seed Jan-Lennard Struff needed only 81 minutes to defeat qualifier Liam Broady 6-4 6-2, while Nikoloz Basilashvili rallied from a set – and five match points – down to see off Jozef Kovalik 4-6 6-4 7-5.

Two teenagers lit up the ATP Tour on Tuesday as Lorenzo Musetti raced through at the Sardegna Open and Carlos Alcaraz advanced in Marbella.

Musetti, 19, produced arguably the standout result of the day as he dismantled Dennis Novak, wrapping up a 6-1 6-0 win in just 53 minutes.

"It was an incredible match," said Musetti, who has been in impressive form of late and moved to 6-2 for the year.

The Italian reached the last four in Acapulco, where ninth-ranked Diego Schwartzmann fell at his racket.

He added on Tuesday: "From the beginning, I felt so comfortable on the court and hitting the ball. I had really good feelings."

Musetti will face top seed Dan Evans next in Cagliari, where Jan-Lennard Struff had to save five match points before finally seeing off Joao Sousa.

None of the seeds followed Monday losers Guido Pella and Tommy Paul out of the tournament, as John Millman also triumphed. Gilles Simon shook off Stefano Travaglia.

At the Andalucia Open, 17-year-old Alcaraz insisted he still saw room for improvement despite setting up an exciting meeting with veteran compatriot Feliciano Lopez.

Sixth seed Lopez, who turns 40 in September and made his professional bow six years before Alcaraz was born, will be wary of the threat of the self-critical prospect, a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 winner against Nikola Milojevic.

"I have played a great match and above all I have been with a very high intensity from the beginning to the end," wildcard Alcaraz said, quoted on the ATP website.

"If I had to give myself a grade, it would be a nine [out of 10], because you can always play better."

Lopez defeated Taro Daniel, while number five seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came from behind to beat Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 6-2.

Next month's French Open could be postponed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to France's minister of sports.

France entered its third national lockdown on Saturday in a bid to halt another surge of COVID-19 cases, which had threatened to overwhelm hospitals across the country. 

Professional sporting events are largely exempt from the restrictions, but minister of sports Roxana Maracineanu has suggested the French Open could be put back from its scheduled May 23 start date.

"We are in discussions with them [the French Tennis Federation] to see if we should change the date to coincide with a possible resumption of all sports and major events," she told radio station France Info.

"Today, although high-level sport has been preserved, we try to limit the risks of clusters, of spreading the virus within professional sports."

Rafael Nadal won last year's French Open, which was postponed by four months, to pull level with Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam titles.

Jannik Sinner followed in the footsteps of three all-time tennis greats as he became the fourth teenager in history to reach a men's singles final at the Miami Open.

The 19-year-old Italian hit three huge backhand winners to break serve in the final game as he pulled off a 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in their last-four clash.

It means Sinner matches Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - players who went on to be ranked number one in the world - in becoming a finalist at the Masters 1000 tournament while still in his teens.

The hotly tipped world number 31 will contest a final at this level for the first time in his career on Sunday, awaiting the winner of the second semi-final between Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz.

Sinner said of his feat: "It sounds incredible. I'm very, very happy about today because obviously being the first semi-final it's not easy to play, especially on a Masters event, and playing against a very, very solid player in Roberto.

"We had a tough battle two weeks ago, and coming out as a winner today it means a lot to me."

Sinner also won that previous match, another tight three-setter, in Dubai.

Speaking on Amazon Prime, he explained how he recovered from a slow start to win the Miami tussle.

"In the beginning I think we were both a little bit tight and then we both played a little bit better," Sinner said.

"Today was not easy, it was a little bit windy, and in the end I tried to serve better and try to move him a little bit more, try to mix it up a little bit, and that was the key today.

"He was serving a few second serves in the last game and I just tried to go for it and even if I lost the game I was 5-5, so I was up in the score and it was the right decision."

Agassi, in 1990, and Djokovic, in 2007, were both teenage champions at the event, beating Stefan Edberg and Guillermo Canas respectively in the title matches.

Nadal lost to Roger Federer in the 2005 final, with the Swiss coming from two sets down to win what was then a five-set finale to the tournament. It has since gone back to being a best-of-three match.

Sinner may have benefited from Nadal, Djokovic and Federer electing to skip this year's tournament, but many believe he has the potential to follow them to the very top of the game.

Former women's world number five Daniela Hantuchova hailed Sinner's "braveness and calmness", adding: "When it really mattered, he stepped it up big time and to be able to do that at such a young age, we are looking at something very, very special here."

Greg Rusedski, runner-up at the 1997 US Open, added on Amazon's broadcast: "Rafa was the youngest to be in the Miami finals. Mentally they have a lot in common. Different styles but just bold and brave."

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has blown a strong position to be knocked out of the Miami Open by world number 37 Hubert Hurkacz in three sets on Thursday night.

The Polish 26th seed lost the first set and trailed 0-2 in the second with Tsitsipas having two break points, before fighting back for an outstanding 2-6 6-3 6-4 triumph.

The victory seals Hurkacz's place in his first-ever Masters 1000 semi-final where he will face Russian fourth seed Andrey Rublev.

On Thursday night, Rublev won 7-5 7-6 (9-7) over Sebastian Korda, ending the young American's exceptional run in Miami.

Tsitsipas's demise was the major story on Thursday, having only dropped one set in his previous three matches in Miami.

The Greek world number five was in form, having made February's Australian Open semi-finals and last week's Mexican Open final.

Tsitsipas was in control until Hurkacz dialed up his aggression in the second, producing a brilliant flick after the Greek's volley to take advantage at 2-2.

Hurkacz got the crucial break at 2-2 in the third when the Greek coughed up a mistake by missing a routine smash.

The 24-year-old Pole also sent down 15 aces in a breakthrough win.

"It is so big," Hurkacz said in his on-court interview about reaching his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final.

"I was trying to keep fighting and that’s what I did. [I am] super pumped and happy that I was able to turn this match around.

"He was returning very well and I had to play a lot of rallies. At the beginning of the match, I tried to go for too much, so then I was trying to adapt my game a little bit."

Rublev claimed his 20th ATP Tour win for the calendar year, the most of any player ahead of Daniil Medvedev and Tsitsipas with 17, to book his semi-final spot against Hurkacz.

The defeat ended 20-year-old Florida resident Korda's superb run, where he claimed his first top 20 win against Fabio Fognini and first top 10 victory against Diego Schwartzman.

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