Local hope Alex de Minaur withdrew from the Australian Open due to an abdominal injury.

De Minaur helped Australia into the ATP Cup semi-finals earlier this month, including pushing Rafael Nadal in the last-four loss to Spain.

But the 20-year-old will now miss the year's opening grand slam, where he reached the third round in 2019.

"Unfortunately Australian No.1 @alexdeminaur has withdrawn from #AusOpen 2020 with an abdominal injury," the tournament wrote on Twitter.

World number 21 De Minaur enjoyed a stellar 2019 with a 41-20 win-loss record and three titles.

Benoit Paire held off a fighting challenge from rising star Jannik Sinner to move into the second round of the Auckland Open, while top seed Alex de Minaur withdrew from the Adelaide International.

At the first edition of the ATP tournament in Adelaide, sixth seed Cristian Garin fell to Lloyd Harris, the South African qualifier winning 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-4.

Jeremy Chardy defeated fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon in straight sets, with Dan Evans, Sam Querrey and home hope James Duckworth the other players to progress.

The action came as top seed De Minaur pulled out of the event after aggravating an abdominal injury while representing Australia at the ATP Cup.

"I have seen the physios, I have seen the doctors and I will be continuing to do that for the whole of the week and hopefully I will be ready to play in Melbourne," De Minaur said ahead of the Australian Open.

In Auckland, Italian Sinner – winner of the Next Generation ATP Finals in November – took number five seed Paire to a final set but the Frenchman eventually prevailed 6-4 2-6 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes.

Defending champion Tennys Sandgren started his campaign with a routine 6-4 6-3 triumph over wildcard Michael Venus.

But last year's beaten finalist Cameron Norrie was knocked out in straight sets by qualifier Thiago Monteiro, with American Frances Tiafoe also being eliminated at the hands of qualifier Mikael Ymer.

Hubert Hurkacz and Ugo Humbert saw off Lorenzo Sonego and Casper Ruud respectively in Monday's other matches.

Serbia and Spain both prevailed in the ATP Cup to set up a dream final that could see Novak Djokovic face Rafael Nadal.

Having won all three matches of their quarter-final tie with Canada in the quarter-finals, Serbia again remained unbeaten versus Russia, while Spain dispatched hosts Australia with successive singles wins.

Reigning Australian Open champion Djokovic came through an engrossing three-setter with US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic had lost his last two meetings with Medvedev, who threatened a comeback in Sydney after he recovered from a hugely disappointing first set to force a decider.

The world number two struck the ultimately decisive break in the fifth game of the third. However, typically obdurate to the end, Medvedev had three break-back points before Djokovic finally took his second match point.

It finished, fittingly, with the type of lengthy baseline rally that defined a captivating contest, Medvedev firing a cross-court forehand into the net to give Serbia an unassailable 2-0 lead with a 6-1 5-7 6-4 victory.

Earlier Dusan Lajovic beat Karen Khachanov 7-5 7-6 (7-1), and Serbia also came through in the dead rubber doubles clash as Nikola Cacic and Viktor Troicki defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili and Konstantin Kravchuk.

Paying tribute to Medvedev, Djokovic said of the match: "[It was] exciting, exhausting, joyful, dreadful all at once. At one point we both refused to miss from the baseline, so it was a lot of rallies and it was very exhausting. A very physical battle, but also a mental battle.

"He showed why he's one of the best players in the world, why he's top five. This kind of consistency and this kind of solid game from back of the court, big serves, got him to where he is. He deserves to be there.

"[It was] definitely one of the most exciting matches I have played against him or any other top player in the last few years."

World number one Nadal was similarly tested by Alex de Minaur, whose energy and intensity had the home crowd in Sydney on their feet as he took the first set in his quest to level the tie after Roberto Bautista Agut easily beat Nick Kyrgios 6-1 6-4.

US Open champion Nadal did not have a break point until the 12th game of the second, but he took it to force a decider and subsequently raced away to claim a 4-6 7-5 6-1 success.

Wary of the obvious threat posed by Djokovic and Serbia in the final, Nadal said on court: "It's going to be a super tough final against Serbia.

"Novak likes to play here and Serbia has a great team and is playing very well. But Roberto played an amazing match this afternoon and we have a good team, so we are ready for it."

Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios sealed Australia's place in the ATP Cup semi-finals with an epic doubles win over Great Britain while Russia also marched into the last four on Thursday.

De Minaur and Kyrgios saved four match points before beating Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 3-6 6-3 18-16 in Sydney to seal a 2-1 victory for the hosts.

That decisive win came after Dan Evans kept Great Britain alive with a 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-2) defeat of De Minaur at Ken Rosewall Arena.

Kyrgios, who beat Cameron Norrie to put Australia in front, lifted his team-mate on his shoulders and paraded around the court after they set up a showdown with Spain or Belgium on Saturday.

"t was unreal. The adrenaline has kind of worn off and I'm exhausted after that match. It was awesome," Kyrgios said.

"Today was probably one of the best moments in my career, definitely. Just making it through to the semi-final, the first-ever ATP Cup in that type of fashion, was pretty special.

"We genuinely care for each other, and [our team-mates] were genuinely just so ecstatic to get through."

Russia remain unbeaten after Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov secured a 2-0 triumph over Argentina.

Khachanov put Russia ahead with a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win over Guido Pella and Medvedev delivered the victory by seeing off Diego Schwartzman 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Medvedev was given a point penalty for clattering the chair umpire's chair with his racket but regained his composure following a chat with captain Marat Safin.

Serbia or Canada stand in the way of Russia and a place in the final.

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.

An emotional Nick Kyrgios explained his motivations for donating to the effort fighting Australia's bushfires after helping his nation to victory over Germany at the ATP Cup.

Kyrgios beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in Brisbane, sending down 20 aces after his pledge to give 200 Australian dollars to the bushfires effort for each service winner he hits in January.

Alex de Minaur – Kyrgios' team-mate at the event, who impressively came from a set down to defeat an ill-tempered Alex Zverev 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 – followed suit after Kyrgios tweeted his intention to help, while stars from other sports have also joined in.

Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn struck three sixes as he top-scored in his team's win over Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League on Friday, with each maximum worth $250 to the recovery effort.

"I don't really care about the praise too much. I just think we've got the ability and platform to do something like that," Kyrgios told Amazon Prime when asked about the movement he inadvertently started.

"My home town is Canberra and we've got the most toxic air in the world at the moment, so it is pretty sad. It's tough."

Having appeared choked up at that point, Kyrgios added: "I just chucked up a tweet and everyone got behind it. It is bigger than tennis.

"It's going to all the families, firefighters, animals, everyone who is losing homes, losing families. It's a real thing.

Australia completed a 3-0 Group F win after Chris Guccione and John Peers beat German doubles pair Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 6-3 6-4.

In the section's other match, Canada were similarly emphatic against Greece, with Denis Shapovalov winning a pair of tie-breaks to best Stefanos Tsitsipas after Felix Auger-Aliassime demolished Michail Pervolarakis 6-1 6-3.

Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov then combined to win the doubles rubber against the same opponents, prevailing 6-2 6-3.

Great Britain and the United States both allowed leads to slip against Bulgaria and Norway respectively.

In Group C, Cameron Norrie beat world number 423 Dimitar Kuzmanov in three sets and Dan Evans made a fast start against Grigor Dimitrov to go a set up.

But Dimitrov prevailed 2-6 6-4 6-1 and he and Alexandar Lazarov triumphed after three tie-breaks against Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury in the small hours of the Sydney morning.

Taylor Fritz beat Viktor Durasovic 6-2 6-2 and John Isner had the USA in charge of the second singles rubber when he took the opening tie break versus Casper Ruud, only for two match points and a second breaker to go against him. He eventually lost, going down 7-5 in the deciding set.

Ruud and Durasovic then recovered from dropping the first set to beat Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram 10-5 in a match tie-break in Perth.

Steve Darcis and David Goffin inspired Belgium to a 3-0 Group C win over Moldova, while Daniil Medvedev's 1-6 6-1-6-3 victory against Fabio Fognini helped clinch a 3-0 victory for Russia against Italy in Group D.

Nick Kyrgios has pledged to donate $200 for every ace he serves during the Australian summer for those affected by devastating bushfires in his homeland. 

At least 18 people have been killed as blazes ravage areas of New South Wales and Victoria.

A week-long state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales from Friday, with thousands of people told to evacuate the area between Batemans Bay and the border with the state of Victoria following the forecast of searing temperatures on Saturday.

Kyrgios proposed an exhibition match before the Australian Open and will use his powerful serve to help victims of the fires.

The world number 30 tweeted on Thursday: "I'm kicking off the support for those affected by the fires. I'll be donating $200 per ace that I hit across all the events I play this summer."

Kyrgios' compatriots Alex de Minaur and John Millman responded by vowing to donate $250 and $100 per ace respectively.

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley earlier posted on social media: "For weeks we've been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts.

"We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fundraising initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks."

Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil sent Australia packing as Alex de Minaur's singles victory proved fruitless in the first Davis Cup quarter-final.

With Pospisil defeating John Millman 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in the opening match, Australia relied on a comeback from De Minaur to haul themselves level.

Next Gen ATP Finals runner up De Minaur – Australia's star player in Thursday's tie with Nick Kyrgios sitting out – did it the hard way, coming from a set down to beat Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 7-5 and tee up a deciding doubles encounter.

But Canada were too good in the doubles – Pospisil picking up where he left off while Shapovalov bounced back from his loss in style via a 6-4 6-4 win.

A break of serve in the opening game against Australian counterparts Jordan Thompson and John Peers paved the way for the pair to claim the first set with ease.

Thompson and Peers looked set to take the match all the way when they earned a 3-0 lead in set two, only for Shapovalov and Pospisil to restore parity before pushing on to seal progression with their first match point.

Serbia play Russia, Argentina face Spain and Great Britain go up against Germany in the other quarter-final ties, which will be played on Friday.

Eighteen-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner claimed an incredible Next Gen Finals title with a 4-2 4-1 4-2 victory against top seed and world number 18 Alex De Minaur.

Sinner has burst onto the scene in Milan and was in no mood to let down an expectant crowd in the final on Saturday evening.

The teenager's power was simply too much for De Minaur, who could not turn early pressure in the first two sets into a breakthrough against his inexperienced opponent.

Sinner had to dig in for the first hold of the match, but the opener stayed on serve then until the sixth game.

Backed by raucous support, a stunning Sinner return teed up set point on De Minaur's serve, claimed in equally devastating fashion.

De Minaur went on the offensive again but once more found Sinner resolute, this time swift in offering a spectacular response with a second break to love of the contest in the next game as the Australian went long.

Sinner had to save break points in his subsequent two service games but saw out the set impressively, before going on the offensive again in the third.

The reeling De Minaur battled bravely but was broken in the third game as his second final defeat in two years, having lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas, moved ever closer.

More brutal Sinner serving got the job done in straight sets, and he accepted the acclaim of Italian fans revelling in this stunning sudden ascension.

Alex de Minaur and home favourite Jannik Sinner will meet to decide this year's champion at the Next Gen ATP Finals after respective semi-final triumphs over Frances Tiafoe and Miomir Kecmanovic.

Defeated by Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year's final, top seed De Minaur was on scintillating form against his good friend Tiafoe in a 4-2 4-1 0-4 4-2 victory.

The world number 18 – who has three singles titles to his name this season – hardly had to break a sweat as he took complete control in the first two sets.

Heeding the in-game advice of his coach, Tiafoe put in "unconditional effort" at 2-0 down, managing to haul himself back into contention with a supreme display in the third set.

However, De Minaur ultimately had too much firepower and, after a winner teed up match point, a stray shot into the net from Tiafoe handed the 20-year-old a second successive final appearance.

"It's difficult, but easier in some ways [to play a friend]," De Minaur said afterwards. 

"It's easy because you know that no matter what happens on the court, you're still going to be the best of friends.

"In the same manner, you've got to remember that you are opponents, I've got to get in the zone, fired up and motivated, but it worked out."

Facing the Australian in Saturday's title decider will be a favourite of the Milan crowd – 18-year-old wild card Sinner, who rallied from a set down to defeat Kecmanovic 2-4 4-1 4-2 4-2.

Some nervy shots from the world number 95 allowed his Serbian opponent to take a foothold, but Sinner – buoyed on by voracious supporters – soon regained his composure.

Successive breaks of serve across the end of set two and start of set three gave Sinner an advantage he did not relinquish and although Kecmanovic clawed back three match points in the final set, he sent a forehand return out of play to seal the Italian's progression. 

Frances Tiafoe and Miomir Kecmanovic sealed their places in the last four of the Next Gen ATP Finals with straight-sets victories on Thursday.

Tiafoe joined Jannik Sinner in progressing from Group B in Milan with a 4-2 4-2 4-2 defeat of Mikael Ymer.

Second seed Tiafoe missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the season-ending event last year when he was beaten by Jaume Munar, but was not to be denied on this occasion.

The American will face top seed Alex de Minaur, who made it three wins out of three in Group A with an emphatic 4-1 4-0 4-2 beating of Casper Ruud.

Tiafoe went on a five-game streak from 2-1 down in the first set against the Swede at Allianz Cloud and never looked back.

The 21-year-old said: "I'm pretty stoked. I needed this. The second half of this season has been rough for me, so every match is an opportunity for me.

"I love this event and I want to stay. The more you win, the longer you can stay, so I'm happy to be in the semis."

Kecmanovic advanced by seeing off Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-1 4-1 4-3 (8-6) in just under an hour.

The Serb will take on Sinner, who went down 4-3 (7-5) 3-4 (3-7) 4-2 4-2 to Ugo Humbert in the final round-robin match.

Alex de Minaur made it two wins from two Next Generation ATP Finals matches as he defeated Miomir Kecmanovic on Wednesday, with Jannik Sinner booking a last-four spot.

Australian De Minaur, the highest-ranked player at the event, secured a 4-1 4-3 (7-3) 1-4 4-0 victory to follow up on his opening Group A win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Having been made to work hard for his triumph in Milan, particularly during the second and third sets, the 2018 runner-up was pleased with his powers of recovery.

"This is what you expect in these conditions," said the world number 18, referencing the shorter format. "A match can turn quickly. I didn't play badly, he just played well in the important moments.

"I just had to regroup and stick to my game."

The impressive Sinner was a 4-0 4-2 4-1 winner over Mikael Ymer to ensure he will progress from Group B.

Casper Ruud, who lost his opener to Kecmanovic, inflicted a second consecutive defeat on Davidovich Fokina.

Davidovich Fokina took the first set and went the distance but came up short in a 3-4 (2-7) 4-3 (7-2) 4-2 3-4 (2-7) 4-1 loss to the Norwegian.

In the other Group B clash, Frances Tiafoe recovered from his defeat to Sinner by beating Ugo Humbert, who has now suffered back-to-back reverses.

The American boosted his qualification hopes with a 4-2 4-3 (7-5) 3-4 (4-7) 4-1 success.

Alex de Minaur made it two wins from two Next Generation ATP Finals matches as he defeated Miomir Kecmanovic on Wednesday.

The Australian, the highest-ranked player at the event, secured a 4-1 4-3 (7-3) 1-4 4-0 victory to follow up on his opening Group A win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Having been made to work hard for his triumph in Milan, particularly during the second and third sets, the 2018 runner-up was pleased with his powers of recovery.

"This is what you expect in these conditions," said the world number 18, referencing the shorter format. "A match can turn quickly. I didn't play badly, he just played well in the important moments.

"I just had to regroup and stick to my game."

Casper Ruud, who lost his opener to Kecmanovic, inflicted a second consecutive defeat on Davidovich Fokina.

Davidovich Fokina took the first set and went the distance but came up short in a 3-4 (2-7) 4-3 (7-2) 4-2 3-4 (2-7) 4-1 loss to the Norwegian.

In Group B, Frances Tiafoe recovered from his defeat to Jannik Sinner by beating Ugo Humbert, who has now suffered back-to-back reverses.

The American boosted his qualification hopes with a 4-2 4-3 (7-5) 3-4 (4-7) 4-1 success, while the impressive Sinner thrashed Mikael Ymer 4-0 4-2 4-1.

Next Generation ATP Finals favourite Alex de Minaur started his 2019 campaign with a victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Milan.

De Minaur lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year's final and is the highest-ranked player competing this time around.

The Australian needed four sets to overcome Alejandro Davidovich 4-2 3-4 (5-7) 4-1 4-1 in Group A.

De Minaur, ranked 18th and a three-time winner on the ATP Tour this year, won eight of the final nine games to wrap up the match in style. 

"I just had to get in my head that I played a good second set," said De Minaur. "He just came up with big shots in big moments.

"I had to move on and remember what I was doing well the whole match. I felt a lot more comfortable as soon as I got the break [in the third set]."

In the same pool, Miomir Kecmanovic claimed a straight-sets victory over Casper Ruud.

There was only one break of serve in the whole contest, which the Serbian won 4-3 (7-5) 4-3 (7-5) 4-2.

In Group B, Swede Mikael Ymer sealed a 4-3 (7-2) 1-4 4-2 4-1 triumph over Ugo Humbert, and Jannik Sinner closed Tuesday's play by coming from a set down to beat Frances Tiafoe 3-4 (4-7) 4-2 4-2 4-2.

Alexander Zverev qualified for the ATP Finals when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Matteo Berrettini, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached the third round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

Zverev will return to London to defend his title next month and Berrettini is in danger of missing out after he was beaten 6-4 6-3 by home favourite Tsonga.

Tsonga's compatriot Gael Monfils remained in contention for the eighth and final place in the season-ending showpiece by winning an all-French encounter with Benoit Paire 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman can no longer qualify for the tournament at the O2 Arena after they bowed out in the French capital on day three.

Djokovic and Nadal, vying to end the year at the top of the rankings, beat Corentin Moutet and Adrian Mannarino respectively in straight sets.

 

 

FOUR STILL STANDING IN HUNT FOR FINAL LONDON SPOT

Berrettini, Monfils, Stan Wawrinka and Alex de Minaur are the remaining contenders to join Zverev in London.

Italian Berrettini's fate is out of his hands following his exit, with Monfils, Wawrinka and De Minaur able to overtake him by winning the title this weekend.

Monfils will meet Radu Albot in the third round, while Wawrinka faces a huge battle with Nadal following a straight-sets win over Marin Cilic and De Minaur dumped out Bautista Agut, setting up a showdown with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

NADAL SERVE LAYS FOUNDATION FOR WINNING RETURN

Second seed Nadal did not face a break point in his first main-draw match since winning the US Open.

The 19-time time major champion, who will end the season as world number one if he wins the tournament for the first time, was pleased with his return to action 10 days after marrying long-time girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello

"[I'm very happy with the way that I served." said the Spaniard, who beat Mannarino 7-5 6-4. "I didn't face a break point during the whole match, and against a player who returns well. So that means a lot. Feelings are good. To be back in this court is always special."

 

DJOKOVIC CONTENT TO 'FIND A WAY'

Djokovic knows he slipped below his usual high standards in a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over lucky loser Moutet but was simply happy to progress given he has not been feeling at his best.

"I didn't feel health-wise 100 per cent in the last couple of days, but it is what it is. It's not the first time I didn't play at a really high level. Lots of errors, especially in the first set," said the Serb, who saved two set points in the opening set and will face Kyle Edmund in the third round.

"First time against a young player who is talented, very quick. Returns a lot of balls back that usually other guys wouldn't get, he gets it. And he was pumped, and I respect his fighting spirit. It was a good match in the end, and I found a way to win, which in [these] circumstances... when you're not feeling your best, is important."

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