Benoit Paire has claimed he was given permission by doctors to compete at the European Open in Hamburg despite twice testing positive for coronavirus.

The world number 25 retired from his opening round match with Casper Ruud on Wednesday when a set and break down.

He was competing in his second tournament since withdrawing from the US Open with a positive COVID-19 test in August, having also fallen at the first hurdle at last week's Internazionali d'Italia.

Speaking after his exit in Germany, Paire revealed he had been self-isolating in his hotel room in the lead up to the match and was only allowed to practice for one hour but was still given the green light to compete.

"I spent 10 days in a hotel room during the US Open and again now," he said. "I am tired. I practiced for one hour and then went to the hotel room - it is impossible to do. I was tired and had to stop.

Asked to clarify if he tested positive again during his time in Hamburg, Paire replied: "Yes, I was positive here in Hamburg since I arrived. The only negative test I got was yesterday. 

"Before that, there was two in a row where I was positive. But the rules seem different here. The ATP has to explain what the rules are. In Paris right now, players are testing negative, but because the coach is positive, they cannot play. 

"Here in Germany, you test positive and can play. So again thank you to the tournament and the doctor here in Hamburg for letting me play. There are some rules I obviously don't understand too much.

"I was negative after the US Open, negative in France, negative in Rome and then positive in Hamburg. That's all I know. 

"It's tough for me to understand when I arrive here in Hamburg and they tell me to stay in my room again. I really don't understand. Honestly, it is not easy for me."

Paire is due to take part in the French Open, his home grand slam, which begins on Sunday.

Kristina Mladenovic hit out at her "atrocious" US Open conditions following an incredible second-round collapse, saying she felt like a prisoner or criminal after coming into contact with Benoit Paire.

Mladenovic had to enter what she described as "a bubble within the bubble" at Flushing Meadows after practicing and playing cards with compatriot men's star Paire, who tested positive for coronavirus.

The 27-year-old looked to have adjusted well to the strange setting as she beat Hailey Baptiste in the first round and then led Varvara Gracheva 6-1 5-1 in the second.

But Mladenovic was remarkably beaten 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-0, losing her way completely in the decider after allowing Gracheva to recover in the second set.

The 2015 US Open quarter-finalist pulled no punches after the match as she said she lost "partly because of the conditions" and revealed her regret at entering the tournament due to the way she felt she had been treated due to her association with Paire.

"The third set, I can't describe how I feel. It's distress, really," Mladenovic said. "We should sit down and make a list of what we are going through.

"It's not even acceptable what they do. The third set is a total collapse. I'm going to stop there, I don't know what to tell you.

"How can I tell you [the details]? Even to take a step to the right, they have to ask permission. We have no freedom of movement, no identity. I have the impression that we are prisoners, criminals.

"For any movement, they have to ask if we have the right to do it, even though we are tested every day and have had 30 negative tests. It's abominable, the conditions are atrocious.

"If I had known that playing cards for 40 minutes, with a mask, with a player who tested positive and then finally negative, would have these consequences, I would never have played this tournament."

Kristina Mladenovic revealed she has had to enter a "bubble bubble" at the US Open after coming into contact with Benoit Paire, who tested positive for coronavirus.

Paire was removed from the men's singles draw after the United States Tennis Association (USTA) on Sunday confirmed an unnamed player had returned a positive COVID-19 test.

As the grand slam got under way behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows on Monday, it was reported a number of French players had to abide by strict quarantine rules because they were in contact with compatriot Paire.

Mladenovic confirmed she must adhere to tighter regulations in New York after she beat Hailey Baptiste 7-5 6-2 on day one of the tournament.

Asked if she had been in contact with Paire, she said: "I did a one-hour training session with Benoît a few days ago, but we were on either side of the net, and that is not taken into account. 

"On the other hand, I also spent between half an hour and three quarters of an hour, in the hotel lobby, playing cards with different people. Benoit was there. 

"It was the fact of having passed that moment, even though we were all masked, that led to the continuation. It was hard for me to accept the situation because I am not part of his close entourage. And I'm sorry and sad for Benoit."

Quizzed how her situation has changed, Mladenovic replied: "I have the right to play my match, but I literally have the right to do nothing else. 

"I am not allowed to go to the gym, not to do anything that is public inside the bubble. I can only be completely alone with my brother, who coaches me. It's really a bubble within the bubble."

Mladenovic revealed she had returned two negative COVID-19 tests since it was revealed Paire had tested positive.

An unnamed player withdrawn from the US Open on the eve of the tournament after testing positive for coronavirus.

It was reported on Sunday that world number 22 Benoit Paire had returned a positive COVID-19 test at Flushing Meadows.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) confirmed one player would miss the grand slam after contracting the virus but did not reveal their identity.

"A player has tested positive for COVID-19 at the US Open and has been withdrawn from the tournament. The player is asymptomatic," a USTA statement said.

"The USTA, together with its medical advisors and infectious disease specialist from the Mount Sinai Health System, confirmed a positive test result for a player.

"In accordance with New York State Department of Health requirements, and in alignment with CDC guidelines and the tournament health and safety protocols, the player has been advised that they must isolate for at least 10 days.

"In addition, contact tracing has been initiated to determine if anyone must quarantine for 14 days."

The vast majority of players are staying in a bubble at the famous New York venue for the first major since the tennis season ground to a halt in March due to the pandemic.

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Benoit Paire in his first match in the 2020 Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

The event in France, created by Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou, is aimed at attracting new fans to the sport and is one of the first tennis tournaments to take place since the coronavirus pandemic struck Europe.

The event is played in a league format, with each match consisting of four quarters and a sudden-death fifth if the scores are level.

On Sunday, world number six Tsitsipas defeated Paire 3-1, hitting more than 30 winners en route to victory.

Gasquet beat David Goffin 3-2 after sudden death, with Feliciano Lopez overcoming Lucas Pouille by the same scoreline.

The UTS' first match was won by Alexei Popyrin against Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit, while Matteo Berrettini also claimed a 3-1 victory over Dustin Brown.

Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a defeat of Pablo Carreno Busta and Benoit Paire gained revenge over Marin Cilic on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas claimed his first title of the season by retaining his Open 13 Marseille on Sunday and saw off Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 two days later.

The second seed put the Spaniard under pressure with rasping returns and was broken just the once to set up a meeting with Alexander Bublik.

Paire saved four match points in a 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1) win over 2014 US Open champion Cilic and will face compatriot Richard Gasquet in round two.

Cilic knocked the Frenchman out of the Australian Open in the second round last month, but fell at the first hurdle in the United Arab Emirates.

Paire had lost five consecutive matches against the powerful Croatian, including a five-set battle at Melbourne Park, yet he fended off two match points in the second set and as many in third before bossing a decisive tie-break.

World number 37 Dan Evans claimed the scalp of fourth seed Fabio Fognini, winning 3-6 6-4 7-5 on day two of the tournament.

Fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut was another to suffer a surpise exit as he went down 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 to Jan-Lennard Struff.

Yasutaka Uchiyama, Filip Krajinovic, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nikoloz Basilashvili were also first-round winners.

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas started the defence of his Open 13 Marseille title with a straight-sets victory over Mikael Ymer to reach the quarter-finals.

Tsitsipas has made a disappointing start to the season, but took just 71 minutes to dispatch Ymer 6-1 6-3 on Wednesday.

The ATP Finals champion lost just three points on his first serve and did not face a solitary break point in an emphatic win.

Second seed Tsitsipas will face Vasek Pospisil in the last eight following the Canadian's 6-3 6-4 defeat of eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz.

Sixth seed Benoit Paire made a surprise exit in his homeland, going down 3-6 6-4 6-4 to Alexander Bublik in the second round.

It was anything but plain sailing for Felix Auger-Aliassime, who saved two match points before getting past Stefano Travaglia 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Auger-Aliassime's second-round opponent will be Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 victor in his match against Mikhail Kukushkin. 

Egor Gerasimov also reached round two by knocking out fellow qualifier Dennis Novak.

Sixth seed Benoit Paire secured safe passage through to the last 16 of the Open 13 Marseille in one of three main-draw matches on Monday.

Paire was drawn against compatriot Gregoire Barrere in a battle of two home hopefuls, but the more established player triumphed in straight sets.

The 20th-ranked star broke in the third game of the opener and protected his advantage in straightforward fashion.

There were no breaks in the second, but Paire dominated the tie-break to claim a 6-4 7-6 (7-1) victory.

Barrere was not the only Frenchman to exit the competition, as former world number seven Richard Gasquet went down 6-3 3-6 7-5 to Mikael Ymer.

Ymer will now meet Stefanos Tsitsipas, the defending champion and number two seed, who was granted a first-round bye.

In the final match of the day, Alexander Bublik defeated Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-5.

David Goffin saved five set points and negotiated an underarm serve before defeating Alexander Bublik 6-3 7-6 (9-7) at the Open Sud de France.

World number 10 Goffin has started the season in impressive form and remains on course for a first ATP Tour title since Tokyo in 2017.

The second seed bested Bublik's varied strokeplay over the course of one hour and 47 minutes, with the 22-year-old even serving underarm in a bid to deceive Goffin as a gripping second-set tie break slipped away.

Goffin will face Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the quarter-finals after the home favourite claimed an impressive 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 triumph against Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Herbert was a finalist in Montpellier last year, while countryman Richard Gasquet remained in contention for his fourth win at the event by beating Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-2.

Vasek Pospisil, a winner in the all-Canadian clash with Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday, is up next for Gasquet, who retained his place in a draw stacked with French hopes.

Gael Monfils came from a set down to beat compatriot Adrian Mannarino 4-6 6-1 6-4, joining Gregoire Barrere – a shock winner over Grigor Dimitrov a day ago - in the last eight.

Filip Krajinovic will be Barrere's next opponent after demolishing qualifier Mikael Ymer 6-1 6-1, with Norbert Gombos also seeing off Emil Ruusuvuori in straight sets.

At the Pune Open, top seed Benoit Paire was dumped out in straight sets by Roberto Marcora – the Italian qualifier prevailing 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, seeds Ricardas Berankis, Kwon Soon-woo, Yuichi Sugita, James Duckworth and Egor Gerasimov emerged unscathed to reach the quarter-finals.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were untroubled, but Grigor Dimitrov was among five seeds to fall at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Federer produced an excellent performance in a straight-sets thrashing of Filip Krajinovic on Rod Laver Arena.

The Swiss great had received good news before even going on court after three seeds fell in his quarter of the draw, with Fabio Fognini only narrowly avoiding that fate.

Earlier, Djokovic dropped just seven games on his way to a thrashing of Tatsuma Ito in Melbourne.

 

FEDERER, DJOKOVIC EASE THROUGH

Having lost a set in the opening-round victory over Jan-Lennard Struff, Djokovic suffered no such setback against Ito, winning 6-1 6-4 6-2.

A record seven-time champion in Melbourne and 16-time grand slam winner, Djokovic brushed past Ito on the back of 31 winners.

Federer was even more impressive later in the day, crushing Djokovic's Serbian compatriot Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1.

The 20-time grand slam champion looked in fabulous form with 42 winners and just 14 unforced errors, reaching the third round in Melbourne for the 21st straight year.

Federer will next face John Millman, who upset 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 7-5 6-3. The Australian stunned Federer at the US Open in 2018.

 

DIMITROV AMONG SEEDS TO CRASH OUT

Dimitrov, a semi-finalist in 2017, bowed out in a surprise 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (10-3) loss to Tommy Paul.

The Bulgarian 18th seed went up by a break twice in the final set, but lost seven consecutive points from 3-3 in the match tie-break.

Matteo Berrettini, the eighth seed who reached the US Open semi-finals, was edged out by Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 4-6 2-6 7-5.

Sandgren reached the quarter-finals in 2018 and will face Sam Querrey in an all-American third-round clash.

British 30th seed Dan Evans also made a second-round exit, losing to Djokovic's next opponent, Yoshihito Nishioka, 6-4 6-3 6-4.

 

CILIC, RAONIC ADVANCE AS TSITSIPAS GETS FREE PASS

Marin Cilic, runner-up in 2018, eliminated 21st seed Benoit Paire in a thriller.

The Croatian needed three hours, 33 minutes to overcome Paire 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-1 7-6 (10-3).

Next up for Cilic is a man he has lost to twice at the Australian Open in Roberto Bautista Agut, the Spanish ninth seed too good for Michael Mmoh 5-7 6-2 6-4 6-1.

Milos Raonic has reached at least the Australian Open quarter-finals four times and the Canadian has shown impressive form early on this year.

The 29-year-old served 19 aces in a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Cristian Garin on Wednesday and next faces 2019 semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas advanced without hitting a ball after Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to a muscle strain.

 

FOGNINI TAKEN THE DISTANCE BY THOMPSON

It is proving to be an arduous campaign for Fognini, who surrendered a two-set lead before holding his nerve in a decisive tie-break with home hope Jordan Thompson.

The Italian was taken the distance in his first-round meeting with Reilly Opelka after losing the first two sets, and this time it was the 12th seed who almost choked on a healthy lead.

Fognini hurt himself when punching his racket in frustration and was called for a foot-fault in the fifth-set breaker, but he got the job done in a memorable 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-6 (10-4) triumph that took more than four hours to complete. 

Novak Djokovic vowed to "enjoy every moment" after reaching the second round of the Australian Open on an opening day that saw seeds Denis Shapovalov and Borna Coric crash out.

Djokovic started the defence of his title with a battling 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff at Melbourne Park on Monday.

Losing his serve three times while dropping the third set and having to edge a close tie-break in the opener meant Djokovic spent longer than he would have hoped on court, but he relished the two-hour-and-16-minute encounter.

Asked about winning his 900th Tour-level match, the second seed said: "I'm obviously very proud of all the achievements, but at the same time I try to remind myself how grateful I am to be playing this sport at a high level at this stage of my career. 

"I can't take things for granted, I'm trying to enjoy every moment. It's a New Year resolution, to enjoy more. It's easier said than done when you're on the court.

"Especially in my position, I'm expected to win all my matches, there's a lot of pressure and emotions involved. But I try to really enjoy it, the two and half hours spent on court were a lot of fun."


SHAPOVALOV AND CORIC FALL AT FIRST HURDLE

The biggest shock of the day saw number 13 seed Shapovalov fall to a four-set defeat against Hungarian world number 67 Marton Fucsovics.

Fucsovics won 7-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 7-6 (7-3) in three hours and 13 minutes as the highly-rated Canadian crashed out.

Shapovalov lost his temper with the umpire when he was giving a code violation for racket abuse despite it not being damaged.

"I think that's a terrible call from the [umpire]," Shapovalov said. "The rule [according to] what I know is that if I break my racket, yeah you can code me, but you can't code me for slamming it.

"I'm not doing anything and it didn't impact anyone and the racket was still intact. He gave me a warning because I did it two or three times and I think that's not the way it works."

Number 25 seed Coric was eliminated in straight sets by Sam Querrey. 

The American won 6-3 6-4 6-4 as a dreadful run for Coric, which has seen him win only one of his last 10 matches, went on.
 

FEDERER AND TSITSIPAS COAST THROUGH

Roger Federer progressed in comfortable fashion, the third seed seeing off Steve Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2 in only 81 minutes.

Johnson only forced one break-point opportunity in the match against the 20-time grand slam and did not convert it.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP Finals champion and a semi-finalist in Melbourne last year, got off to a smooth start, defeating Salvatore Caruso 6-0 6-2 6-3.

 

RAIN LEAVES MATCHES UNFINISHED

Inclement weather left a host of Monday's other first-round matches incomplete, with Reilly Opelka closing in on an upset against Fabio Fognini when play was suspended at 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 1-0.

Rising star Jannik Sinner has a 2-0 lead over Max Purcell with the third set level at 4-4, while Roberto Bautista Agut was a set up against Feliciano Lopez.

Milos Raonic is one game away from a first-round win, his match against Lorenzo Giustino all-but over with the Canadian 6-2 6-1 5-2 to the good.

Andrey Rublev outlasted fellow young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime in a gruelling clash on Friday to reach the Adelaide International final.

The Russian won 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 in a three-hour test, putting him one step away from a second title in 2020.

After triumphing at the Qatar Open last weekend, Rublev, 22, has brought his best form to Australia and had a marginal edge over his 19-year-old Canadian opponent.

At one point Rublev looked like getting the job done in straight sets, but teenager Auger-Aliassime dug deep to force a decider as he sensed the opportunity to grab a first ATP Tour title this weekend.

It went Rublev's way eventually as he advanced to a title match against South African Lloyd Harris, who had earlier beaten American Tommy Paul 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in a battle between two qualifiers.

Harris and Paul, both aged 22 and ranked respectively 91st and 90th in the world, were unlikely semi-finalists, and Harris will go into the final as the obvious underdog.

The Auckland Open will crown its first French champion after Benoit Paire and Ugo Humbert won through to its final.

Dating back to the 1950s, the tournament crowned a host of the world's elite players in its early years, including Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Bjorn Borg, and its list of winners reflects the cosmopolitan nature of the tour.

Yet French success has been in short supply, until now.

Humbert was a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 winner against American John Isner, sending the 21-year-old left-hander through to his first tour final.

Paire fended off Poland's Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 and will target his fourth ATP title.

"I am very happy to play against a compatriot tomorrow," said 30-year-old Paire, quoted on the ATP website. "He is a very nice guy and we will see, but I am very happy to be in the final. It was the first time for me in the [Auckland] semi-finals and now the first time for me in the final."

Denis Shapovalov was surprisingly beaten in straight sets by 21-year-old Ugo Humbert at the Auckland Open on Friday.

A day after first and third seeds Fabio Fognini and Karen Khachanov were knocked out, second seed Shapovalov was beaten 7-5 6-4.

Humbert, who broke serve in the final game of each set, described the win as "one of the biggest of my career" as he set up a semi-final against John Isner.

The American was taken to two tie-breaks by Kyle Edmund but prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5), his 25 aces getting him over the line as he seeks a third title in Auckland.

Benoit Paire reached his first semi-final at the event, coming from a set down to beat John Millman 3-6 6-1 6-4.

The fifth seed will face Hubert Hurkacz, who spurned six second-set match points in a mammoth tie-break before eventually seeing off Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-7 (11-13) 6-4.

At the Adelaide International, home favourite Alex Bolt was soundly beaten by Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian needing just 55 minutes to win 6-3 6-0.

He will meet Andrey Rublev in the last four after the Russian battled past Dan Evans 6-4 3-6 6-3 in just over two hours.

Spanish hopes were extinguished in the quarter-finals, where Tommy Paul surprised Albert Ramos-Vinolas to win 6-3 6-4 and Lloyd Harris beat fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-3.

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.

Novak Djokovic ensured Serbia's progression into the last eight of the Davis Cup Finals with a straight-sets win over France's Benoit Paire in Madrid.

Djokovic's team-mate Filip Krajinovic had teed up the chance for the world number two to send Serbia through from Group A with a 7-5 7-6 (7-5) triumph over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

After a group-stage exit at the ATP Finals in London last week, Djokovic made no mistake against Paire, winning 6-3 6-3 to secure a 2-1 victory for Serbia and send last year's runners-up France out in the process.

"The team is looking good, we won all six sets yesterday," Djokovic said at Caja Magica. "It was important getting a clean sheet against Japan coming into today’s match.

"Filip definitely gave me wings with his win, which was quite amazing. Tsonga was playing well and in good form and Filip was just fantastic on the court today. Credit to him."

Serbia, champions in 2010, will now face Russia in the quarter-finals on Friday and are joined in the last eight by Great Britain, who overcame Kazakhstan in a decisive doubles rubber.

Alexander Bublik's 5-7 6-4 6-1 win over Daniel Evans left the Group E contest tied at 1-1 heading into Thursday's decider.

However, Bublik, paired with Mikhail Kukushkin, failed to maintain his winning form, and Great Britain booked the remaining knockout place as Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski came out on top 6-1 6-4 in 72 minutes.

Group C winners Germany await Great Britain in the quarters, with Philipp Kohlschreiber's 6-4 6-3 defeat of Nicolas Jarry having sent them through at the expense of Chile.

Cristian Garin at least claimed a consolatory win – Chile's first of the tournament – with a superb performance against Jan-Lennard Struff, saving three match points en route to a 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (10-8) success.

Glory for Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies in the doubles capped off a 2-1 triumph for Germany, with Garin's ultimately the only sets won by Chile at the Finals.

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