Nick Kyrgios emerged triumphant in a dramatic five-set clash with Karen Khachanov despite struggling with a hamstring injury, booking a highly anticipated meeting with Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

After passing up match points in the third and fourth sets, home favourite Kyrgios came out on top in the longest match of his career by beating Khachanov 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) at a raucous Melbourne Arena in four hours, 26 minutes.

Top seed Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4 in one hour, 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, while US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-3 6-2 and will face Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.

The Swiss advanced after John Isner retired while 6-4 4-1 down, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Gael Monfils joining him in round round four.

 

CROCKED KYRGIOS CLINGS ON

Kyrgios started confidently against Khachanov and, despite taking a medical time-out at 5-2 up in the first set, managed to edge a second-set tie-break while continuing to grip at the back of his leg.

However, he was unable to repeat the trick at the second time of asking and became increasingly frustrated as the Russian wrested control of the match away from him.

Kyrgios appeared to be struggling for motivation at points and became increasingly vocal, but he hung in to take the victory to the delight of his fervent supporters.

The Australian has a strained relationship with Nadal, who he described as "salty" after their meeting at last year's Mexican Open and impersonated after being called for a time violation while serving against Gilles Simon in round two.

Asked about going up against the 19-time major champion in his on-court interview, Kyrgios said: "Whatever happened between us he's an amazing player. I'm not even thinking about that right now, I'm thinking about my legs and getting them in an ice bath and getting some food."

 

NO STOPPING NADAL

Nadal was at his imperious best against Carreno Busta, winning 87 per cent and 78 per cent of points behind his first and second serve respectively, while also smashing 41 winners – twice as many as his opponent.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt. Big difference between today and the previous days. I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand," said Nadal.

"Every day is a different story. But, of course, it's important to make steps forward. It's clear that today I made an important one."

Asked if he likes Kyrgios, Nadal said: "I don't know. I don't know him personally, honestly, to have a clear opinion."

 

RUBLEV ROLLS ON

Rublev started 2020 with titles at the Qatar Open and Brisbane International and has continued his fine form at Melbourne Park.

The world number 16's 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) triumph over David Goffin was his 15th match win in succession, four of which came in the Davis Cup Finals.

Rublev had wobbles after taking big leads in both tie-breaks, but Goffin made 27 unforced errors in the last two sets to help the Russian progress to a meeting with Zverev.

Seventh seed Zverev is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park after overcoming Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-2 6-4.

 

"IT'S A DISGRACE"

After beating qualifier Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 to set up a fourth-round meeting with Dominic Thiem – who overcame 29th seed Taylor Fritz 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 – Monfils refuted a report claiming excessively playing video games led to him suffering a hand injury.

"You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

"I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

"I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev booked their spots in the Australian Open third round, while Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka also progressed.

Nadal remained on track in his bid to win a 20th grand slam title despite wasting chances against Federico Delbonis in Melbourne on Thursday.

The seeds have been relatively untroubled in the opening rounds in Australia, and they are on a collision course heading into the end of the first week and into the second.

Medvedev, Zverev and Wawrinka were also among the winners in the top half of the draw.

 

NADAL BATTLES INTO ALL-SPANISH THIRD-ROUND CLASH

Nadal converted just three of 20 break points to overcome Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-1.

The Spanish star was wasteful before winning in two hours, 30 minutes, while he apologetically kissed a ball girl after striking her with a wayward forehand late in the victory.

Awaiting Nadal is Pablo Carreno Busta, the 27th seed having got past German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-4.

Nadal has won his previous four meetings with Carreno Busta.

 

MEDVEDEV, ZVEREV AND WAWRINKA ADVANCE

Runner-up to Nadal at last year's US Open, fourth seed Medvedev was too strong for Spain's Pedro Martinez as he won 7-5 6-1 6-3.

Another member of the 'Next Gen', Zverev got the job done against Egor Gerasimov, winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-5.

Zverev will meet Fernando Verdasco after the Spanish veteran upset 26th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets.

Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, was pushed hard by Andreas Seppi, but the Swiss made it 10 wins in 14 meetings with the Italian veteran, securing a 4-6 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory.

John Isner awaits Wawrinka after the American served 32 aces in a 6-4 6-3 6-3 win against Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo.

Dominic Thiem (fifth seed) and David Goffin (11th) were pushed to five sets before overcoming Alex Bolt and Pierre-Hugues Herbert respectively.

 

KYRGIOS, KHACHANOV SET UP CINCINNATI REMATCH

Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov were both tested before setting up a third-round clash.

Kyrgios got past Gilles Simon 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5, while Khachanov needed four hours, 34 minutes to edge Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8).

Khachanov won his previous meeting with Kyrgios in Cincinnati last year, but it was a clash best remembered for the Australian's outburst at umpire Fergus Murphy that resulted in a 16-week suspended ban and fine.

Gael Monfils, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz were among the other seeds to win through on Thursday.

Alexander Zverev says he will donate the full $2.83million Australian Open winner's prize fund to bushfire relief if he goes all the way to win the tournament.

Speaking after his 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 first-round win over Marco Cecchinato, the German pledged to donate $10,000 for every match he wins in Melbourne and "every cent" of the winner's cheque if he goes all the way.

Zverev also played in the Rally for Relief event with a host of other tennis stars prior to the Australian Open and has now made an individual gesture.

"I will donate $10,000 for every match I win here," Zverev said in his on-court interview after beating Italian Cecchinato.

"I know I'm not the favourite, but if I win this event I will donate every cent to the bushfires.

"Obviously Australia is a country that is home for us for over a month every year. We heard what is going on with the bushfires, with the animals and with people losing their homes. So thank you very much, I hope we get a lot of support."

Zverev had a dreadful performance at the ATP Cup as he lost all three of his matches, struggling with his serve in particular.

He had four double faults and dropped serve three times in the win over Cecchinato, while hitting eight aces as part of 35 winners in a match that lasted two hours and 23 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.

Seventh seed Zverev was optimistic over the improvement he showed, adding: "It was a great first-round match, a lot of high-level tennis, especially from the baseline.

"I hope maybe I can do better than the last few years. I'm a year older, not much wiser, but trying my best, practising hard and trying to do the right things."

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.

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.

Roger Federer joked he may never retire from tennis as he continues to focus on extending his career for as long as possible.

World number three Federer turned 38 in August and has just rounded off a hugely successful tour with Alexander Zverev.

The 20-time grand slam winner won four titles this season, while he missed out on glory at Wimbledon after losing in an epic final against Novak Djokovic.

Federer has recently invested in Swiss-based shoe company On Running, but he insists his business venture is not a sign he is set to stop playing the sport he loves. 

"I've been asked all week about how retirement is going to be and when it is going to come, I think they all needed to know," Federer said during his appearance on the Today Show.

"But no, this is not about retirement. On [the company] doesn't want me to retire, they want me to play as long as possible and that is my goal. I will never retire!"

Federer did acknowledge, however, that he is looking forward to the freedom his eventual retirement will bring, considering the impact tennis has on the rest of his life.

"I like my sweets, desserts, time off," he said. "I start my planning for the year around where I'm going to go on vacation with my family, and that's where I'll be in a couple of days, on the beach, so I can't wait.

"Actually, when I had my knee issues in 2016 and I was rehabbing for almost eight months, I felt like that could be my life after [retirement].

"Of course I was never as busy but it was just nice to be able to have schedules with friends – lunch on Wednesdays, dinners on Fridays, let's have a good time on the weekends together with another family. I’m really looking forward to that."

Federer's tour included matches against Zverev in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Ecuador. The pair were due to play in Colombia too, but a curfew in Bogota meant the exhibition was called off.

"It was absolutely crazy," Federer said of the tour. "We played in four cities, almost in front of 100,000 people and Mexico City, had 42,000 people, double of Arthur Ashe Stadium here in New York.

"Breaking those records, doing it with Zverev, it's not something I ever thought I would do."

Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev shattered the world record for attendance at a tennis match.

A crowd of 42,217 watched an exhibition match between Federer and Zverev at Plaza de Toros Mexico – the world's largest bullring – in Mexico City on Saturday.

Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters had previously set the record in their exhibition contest in 2010, which attracted 35,681 fans in Brussels.

But that figure was topped as 20-time grand slam champion Federer defeated Zverev 3-6 6-4 6-2 in the "The Greatest Match".

Afterwards, Federer tweeted: "I will never forget this magical evening in Mexico City with @AlexZverev 42,517 people came, We broke this record together! Viva Mexico."

Dominic Thiem will face Stefanos Tsitsipas for the ATP Finals title after dethroning Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

Thiem beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to reach the last four of the season-ending tournament for the first time and dispatched Zverev 7-5 6-3 at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.

Zverev was unable to break the fifth seed, who was more composed than the defending champion and broke once in each set to set up a showdown with Tsitsipas - conqueror of Federer earlier in the day.

Thiem has won five titles in a stellar season and the two-time French Open runner-up will claim the biggest of his career if he gets the better of Tsitsipas on Sunday, having struck 21 winners in his sixth victory in eight meetings with Zverev.

The first break point came for Zverev, but Thiem denied his close friend to level at 2-2 after unleashing one of a number of blistering backhands.

Zverev saw another break point pass him by and it was his opponent - wearing exactly the same attire - who got the decisive break of a tight opening set. 

A couple of sloppy errors from Zverev gave Thiem two set points and the German thrashed his racket into the ground after returning to his chair following a costly double fault.

Zverev headed off court after watching his racket fly up in the air when he drilled it against the hard court in fury and the seventh seed was a break down at 4-2 in the second following a string of unforced errors.

Thiem got himself out of trouble when Zverev forced two break points in the next game and sealed victory with a forehand winner.

Alexander Zverev defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to progress at the ATP Finals and end Rafael Nadal's hopes of glory in London.

The reigning champion prevailed 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to set up a semi-final showdown with Dominic Thiem, while the other last-four clash will see Stefanos Tsitsipas face Roger Federer.

Nadal briefly kept alive his qualification hopes in Friday's first match at the O2, valiantly battling back from a set down to beat the already qualified Tsitsipas.

However, the world number one, who is certain to finish the year on top of the rankings, failed to get the favour he needed from Medvedev, the Russian subsiding to a third straight loss at this year's season-ending tournament.

The final contest in the round-robin stage was an exhibition of serving. Zverev claimed the only break in the opening game, an advantage he retained throughout a 34-minute first set to move ahead.

They continued to set a frantic pace in the second set - the opening four games spanned just 11 minutes - but too many errors, particularly on his forehand side, prevented Medvedev from putting his rival under pressure.

He managed to save a break point in the ninth game courtesy of a booming first serve, though a double fault at a crucial moment in the tie-break gave his opponent a 5-3 lead.

Zverev sealed the win in style with an ace, the German prevailing after one hour and 18 minutes on court.

"Probably this arena at the O2 is the most special to me - it's where I play my best tennis," he told the crowd during an on-court interview.

"The atmosphere here is something that we don’t play in at all, anywhere else in the world. This is so special to us."

Stefanos Tsitsipas made light work of defending ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev to book his place in the last four in London with a 6-3 6-2 victory.

Zverev outdid world number one Rafael Nadal on Monday but could not match the speed, power and precision shown by Tsitsipas, who has made the semi-finals on his first appearance in the season-ending tournament.

A break on Zverev's final serve of the opener put the 21-year-old in control, with another concession of serve from the world number seven following at the start of set two.

With victory firmly in his sights, Tsitsipas did not let up as he charged on to serve out a dominant triumph in just 75 minutes.

"I was really surprised by my performance," Tsitsipas said. "I did everything right. I just played my game. I had a clear picture on the court."

After an even start, it was Tsitsipas who made the breakthrough.

Having played two excellent drop shots in succession to hold serve, the Greek broke with an exquisite return onto Zverev's toes to lead 5-3.

Tsitsipas took the 39-minute set at the first time of asking – Zverev sending a lob just beyond the baseline.

The German survived two break points at the start of set two, with a fine backhand pass at the culmination of a long rally forcing deuce.

But Tsitsipas could smell blood and, after squandering another chance to break, did so at the fourth time of asking with a combination of superb backhand efforts.

Tsitsipas failed to take another break point at 3-1 up, sending a makeable passing stroke out of play, but made no mistake at the next time of asking with a perfectly constructed attack.

Zverev challenged well to stay in the match, but it merely stalled the inevitable as Tsitsipas – who faces Nadal in his final group match – went on to secure a fourth straight win over his opponent with a sweetly struck ace.

Rafael Nadal succumbed to defending ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev as the world number seven put in a clinical display to triumph 6-2 6-4.

Heading into this year's season finale with concerns over an abdominal problem, Nadal showed no signs of struggling with injury, but the world number one could still not handle Zverev on Monday.

While Novak Djokovic - who Nadal ousted at the top of the rankings last week - started in dominant fashion against Matteo Berrettini, Nadal suffered a similar fate to that of Roger Federer, who went down to Dominic Thiem in his opening match.

Three successive breaks ultimately did the damage for Zverev, as the 22-year-old claimed a maiden win over Nadal to make a statement of intent in London.

"It's great, everyone knows how much I've been struggling this season," Zverev, who will also face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in Group Andre Agassi said. "This means so much, playing here again after winning my biggest title here last year."

Any concerns over Nadal's fitness were cast aside with the first serve of the match - a venomous 126mph effort at the start of a game the 33-year-old claimed with relative ease.

But having made Nadal work far harder to hold his next serve, Zverev, who utilised the speed of the court to his advantage throughout, made the first of three straight breaks to take control.

Last year's winner stepped up another level in game seven, using a challenge well after a fantastic down-the-line forehand had been called out as Nadal conceded serve once more.

Having served out a 35-minute first set, Zverev needed no second invitation to take a third break point and - after rallying back from two double faults - held a 2-0 lead in set two.

Nadal finally regained his composure, and after holding to end his losing streak, the 19-time grand slam champion sent a sublime backhand pass to spark the O2 crowd into life.

A backhand into the net saw Zverev squander a break point for the first time - Nadal taking advantage to hold serve and keep himself in contention.

Yet Zverev had victory in his sights, though he lost some control on his first serve to hand Nadal hope of a break.

An impeccable, ripping forehand put him on the cusp, however, with the German duly serving out a first win over his Spanish counterpart in six attempts.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will meet in the group stage of the ATP Finals after being drawn together on Tuesday.

The pair have won 36 grand slams between them and triumphed at the season-ending tournament a collective 11 times, with Federer leading that head-to-head tally by one.

Joining the Swiss maestro and Djokovic in Bjorn Borg Group will be Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini.

Andre Agassi Group consists of world number one Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and reigning champion Alexander Zverev.

Nadal had been a doubt for the event after withdrawing ahead of the Paris Masters semi-final with an abdominal injury. 

The year-end number-one spot is up for grabs in London, with Nadal in the driving seat but Djokovic – the winner in Paris – ready to pounce.

Nadal has never won the ATP Finals, while Djokovic's last victory came in 2015 and Federer has endured an eight-year drought. 

Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Berrettini will each compete in the tournament for the first time, with the action scheduled to start on Sunday. 

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."

Jeremy Chardy upset the in-form Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the ATP Paris Masters and defending champion Karen Khachanov's reign was ended by Jan-Lennard Struff on Tuesday

Medvedev arrived in Paris looking for a third successive title, but the world number four's winning run was halted at nine matches by a shock 4-6 6-2 6-4 defeat to qualifier Chardy.

The 65-ranked Chardy saved nine break points in the final set to reach the third round of the tournament in his homeland for the first time, consigning Russian Medvedev to a first loss since facing Rafael Nadal in the US Open final.

Medvedev's compatriot Khachanov also made an unexpected exit and has no chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals after he went down 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-5 to Struff.

Alexander Zverev, vying for one of the two remaining places in the season-ending tournament in London, accounted for Fernando Verdasco 6-1 6-3 and Radu Albot was the fourth second-round winner on day two.

Corentin Moutet will face world number one Novak Djokovic in the second round after the French lucky loser got past Dusan Lajovic 6-4 1-6 6-3, while Kyle Edmund ended his eight-match losing streak with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Ricardas Berankis.

 

CHARDY ENDS MEDVEDEV PURPLE PATCH

Medvedev had reached six consecutive finals, winning the Shanghai Masters last time out on the back of his St. Petersburg Open triumph.

The 23-year-old was brought back down to earth by the experienced Chardy, who saved 14 of 15 break points – one of which coming when he served for the match.

Medvedev had nine break-point opportunities in the final set and was made to pay for not being able to take his chances.

Chardy had not beaten a top-10 player in his previous 10 attempts but can look forward to facing John Isner or Cristian Garin in the third round.

 

INSPIRED STRUFF DETHRONES KHACHANOV

Khachanov beat Djokovic in the final last year, but was second best in his first match of the tournament this time around.

World number 36 Struff will come up against ATP Finals contender Matteo Berrettini or home wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last 16 after hitting 43 winners in an impressive performance.

Struff and eighth seed Khachanov served 17 aces a piece, while the Warstein native won 84 per cent of points on his first serve and broke twice in the second set to ensure there will be a new champion this weekend. 

 

ZVEREV BACK IN BUSINESS AFTER BASEL FAILURE

Zverev was beaten by Taylor Fritz in his first match at the Swiss Indoors Basel last week after Medvedev denied him the title in Shanghai.

The world number six, who will be guaranteed the opportunity to defend his ATP Finals title if he reaches the decider this weekend, took just 56 minutes to send Verdasco packing.

Zverev lost just five points on serve – and only one in the second set – and will next face either Denis Shapovalov or Fabio Fognini.

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