Stefanos Tsitsipas got the better of Alexei Popyrin to tighten his grip on top spot in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown after the third weekend of the series.

Greek rising star Tsitsipas came from behind to sneak a 3-2 success over Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez on Saturday, and he followed that on Sunday with a 3-1 triumph against Australian prospect Popyrin.

The behind-closed-doors and unorthodox tournament is being staged across five consecutive weekends at the Cote d'Azur tennis academy run by Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou, with a quickfire format aimed at attracting new fans to the sport.

Each match consists of four 10-minute quarters, rather than sets, with a point going to the winner of each quarter.

A sudden-death tie-break follows at the end of the match if scores are level at two quarters each, with the first player to take back-to-back points declared the winner.

World number six Tsitsipas has now won five of his six matches in the competition, putting him ahead of Italian Matteo Berrettini and France's Richard Gasquet, who each have won four times but lost twice.

Dominic Thiem, who has played just four matches, has won three times and lost once, and this weekend the Austrian world number three earned 3-1 successes over David Goffin and Berrettini.

Gasquet suffered a 4-0 loss to Berrettini on Saturday but bounced back by beating fellow Frenchman Corentin Moutet 3-1 on Sunday.

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.

Andy Murray's in-match commentary was a highlight on day one of the Madrid Open Virtual Pro, while Rafael Nadal made a winning start.

The Madrid Open should have taken place in the Spanish capital in May but the coronavirus pandemic forced the clay-court tournament to be postponed.

But, 16 ATP and 16 WTA Tour players swapped their racquets for PlayStation 4 controllers this week, with tennis suspended until at least mid-July.

The virtual Madrid Open got underway on Monday, with former world number one and three-time grand slam champion Murray providing plenty of entertainment.

Murray won his first match in Group 1, defeating Frenchman Benoit Paire in an eventful clash.

"Where is my player going? Where are you going?!," Murray said during the match.

"Ahh, get there! Get there!... My hands are sweating."

World number two Nadal also won his opener, overcoming Canadian sensation Denis Shapovalov 4-3 [4-3].

Nadal's video-game performance came after Davis Cup team-mate and Madrid Open Virtual Pro tournament director Feliciano Lopez joked that the 19-time major winner asked to postpone his first match.

Lopez later tweeted: "Guys, I was joking, of course... I said Rafa had a back injury from the pressure of playing on the PS4. We might need some sense of humour please!"

Elsewhere, Diego Schwartzman claimed back-to-back wins in Group 2 over David Ferrer and John Isner, while Stefanos Tsitsipas booked his spot in the quarter-finals with victories against Kei Nishikori and Fabio Fognini.

In the women's competition, Caroline Wozniacki – who retired from the WTA Tour following the Australian Open – came through both her Group 3 matches and Sorana Cirstea tops Group 2.

Novak Djokovic won his fifth Dubai Tennis Championship after extending his perfect start to 2020 with an impressive win in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The world number one extended his record this year to 18-0 as he triumphed 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 18 minutes on Saturday.

Djokovic added the ATP 500 title to his victory at the Australian Open, which had followed his role inspiring Serbia to glory at the inaugural ATP Cup.

After saving three match points against Gael Monfils in the semis, the Serbian relished his 79th Tour title as Tsitsipas lost in the final for the second straight year, having been beaten by Roger Federer last season.

Djokovic was playing in Dubai for the first time since 2016 and had not won the event since his fourth success seven years ago. 

Tsitsipas came into the match in form having built on his Open 13 Marseille triumph with a strong run to the final and he forced the first break point in the fifth game, though he could not convert.

A wide backhand from the Greek as he served at 3-4 gave Djokovic his first opportunity and the 17-time major champion seized it with a brilliant sliding backhand pass, before claiming the set with backhand down the line in the next game.

Top seed Djokovic built a 0-30 lead in the opening game of the second set only for Tsitsipas to halt his momentum with what looked like a key hold.

The players exchanged breaks when Djokovic moved 3-2 up only for his opponent to strike straight back, the Serbian sending a forehand long moments after the Greek had come out on top in a 25-shot rally.

But the more experienced player delivered when it mattered most, forcing two chances at 4-4 and taking the first when a Tsitsipas backhand found the net.

Djokovic had few problems serving it out, quickly earning three match points and needing just one as a backhand winner led to him embracing Tsitsipas before letting out a passionate celebration on court as his fantastic form continued.

Novak Djokovic sensationally maintained his perfect record against Gael Monfils after surviving three match points in a second-set tie-break to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships final.

World number one Djokovic was 16-0 across all matches in 2020 and in his career against Monfils heading into Friday's meeting.

But the 17-time grand slam winner looked set to see his bid for a fifth Dubai championship end prematurely as Monfils led by a set and a break prior to a dramatic conclusion to the second.

Monfils had collected titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam across his own recent winning streak, yet his Djokovic hoodoo somehow continued.

"It was truly an escape," Djokovic said. "He [Monfils] was clearly a better player for two sets. I was fortunate to work my way back in the second set."

The Frenchman was on top early on and broke in just the third game of the opener, later extending his lead courtesy of the latest in a series of tame Djokovic drop shots.

Djokovic was then spectacularly broken to love in the second, only for Monfils' consistency to wane with the finish line in sight.

The top seed capitalised on the second of his first three break points and set about applying intense pressure to the Monfils serve, but two mammoth holds prompted a remarkable tie-break.

Monfils squandered three opportunities for victory as 10 of the first 11 points went against the serve, Djokovic eventually seizing his fourth set point of the breaker and ninth of the set with a double fault.

Showing visible signs of fatigue, Monfils was broken to love early in the decider and dropped serve again before calling for the trainer, with brief treatment to his left leg unable to arrest the slump as Djokovic clinched a 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 victory.

Djokovic will next go up against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who cruised through to the Dubai decider for a second year running.

The in-form Greek won the Open 13 Marseille title last week and made it eight straight victories with a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 result against Dan Evans.

Tsitsipas, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2019 final, now believes he can move up another level against Djokovic.

"I'm really impressed by the quality of my game today," he said of the Evans win. "I really hope to bring the same and possibly even better in the next round."

Novak Djokovic made light work of Karen Khachanov as he cruised into the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championship with a 6-2 6-2 victory on Thursday.

World number one Djokovic only needed a cumulative two hours to see off Malek Jaziri and Philipp Kohlschreiber in his opening matches in the United Arab Emirates and seventh seed Khachanov was unable to provide much more resistance.

The 17-time grand slam champion racked up his 16th win of 2020 in one hour, six minutes to move two matches away from a fifth title in Dubai and ensure he will remain at the top of the rankings come Monday.

After saving a set point, Khachanov became the first player to engineer a break point against Djokovic in the tournament and it was converted when the top seed went long with a forehand.

Djokovic wrapped up the first set when Khachanov buried a backhand into the net and he went a break up in the second after a fine lob.

The world number 17 was unable to return a fierce forehand into the corner when facing match point and consequently exited the competition.

Asked in an on-court interview if he is playing some of the best tennis of his career, Djokovic said: "That's too big of a statement, but I'm definitely feeling well and playing well.

"Tough match for Karen, I think he can do much better than he did. It wasn't his day, but on my side I think I played a very solid match."

Stefanos Tsitsipas came from a set down to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6 6-4 6-4 and advance to the semi-finals.

The second seed, who won his first title of the year in Marseille last weekend, came from 40-0 down at 4-4 in the decider to break before closing out the victory on serve.

Tsitsipas will face Daniel Evans next after the world number 37 overcame Andrey Rublev 6-2 7-6 (11-9) to reach his first semi-final of the season and fourth of his career.

Novak Djokovic talked up the quality of the "powerful" Karen Khachanov after he and the Russian booked a quarter-final meeting at the Dubai Tennis Championship. 

After dominating his first-round encounter against Malek Jaziri in one hour, Djokovic won a similarly straightforward contest with Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-1 in just 59 minutes on Wednesday.

In the build-up, Djokovic had pointed to his loss against Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells last year on the previous occasion they had met on a hard court as evidence he was facing a big test.

But the Serbian triumphed without facing a break point, hitting 23 winners and just 10 unforced errors in improving his 2020 record to 15-0.

Khachanov, who has won one of his three meetings with Djokovic, moved through after seeing off Dennis Novak 6-3 6-4.

"I've had some interesting battles with him," Djokovic said of Khachanov. "He is a great guy, a very powerful player. 

"He is one of the guys who is a pretender to be top five, top 10. He is very dedicated, so hopefully I'll be as sharp as I have been in the past two matches and start well."

Djokovic felt he had barely put a foot wrong against Kohlschreiber, who at 36-years-old is now ranked at number 80.

"It was a great performance," said the Australian Open champion. "I enjoyed the way I played, coming out with the right focus and tactics. 

"Knowing Philipp beat me 12 months ago in Indian Wells, I needed to approach this match very seriously regardless of his ranking."

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas joined Djokovic in the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 event, beating Alexander Bublik – a player he also got the better of en route to Open 13 Marseille glory last week - 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Tsitsipas will now play Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Andrey Rublev saw off Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 to book a clash with Dan Evans, who was on the brink of elimination but saved three match points in a thriller against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, eventually winning 7-5 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

Richard Gasquet eliminated fellow Frenchman and eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-4 6-4, while in-form Gael Monfils was a comfortable 6-1 6-2 winner over Yasutaka Uchiyama.

Novak Djokovic paid tribute to "inspirational" Maria Sharapova after the five-time grand slam champion retired from tennis on Wednesday.

Sharapova has struggled with injuries in recent years, while she also served a 15-month ban after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

The Russian, who was a major winner aged 17 at Wimbledon in 2004, wrote in Vogue and Vanity Fair: "I'm new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis — I'm saying goodbye."

And ATP Tour great Djokovic, speaking on court after his straight-sets defeat of Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dubai Tennis Championships, prompted a round of applause in honour of Sharapova after learning of her retirement.

"I just heard the news right now, and I would like everyone to give her a big round of applause for everything she has done in her career," he said. "She deserves it definitely.

"She is a great fighter, as dedicated as someone can really be in our sport.

"The willpower and the willingness to overcome all the obstacles that she had - especially in the last five or six years with the injuries and surgeries, trying to come back to the court and play on her desired level - it's truly inspirational to see. She has the mind of a champion.

"I'm sorry that it had to end with an injury but, at the same time, she had a fantastic career. She can be proud of herself."

Djokovic's ATP rival Stefanos Tsitsipas - also victorious in Dubai on Wednesday - even suggested other players had been jealous of Sharapova.

"I come from a Russian background, so I kind of understand the way she approached tennis, the attitude and all of that," the Greek said. "I watched her play when I was young.

"I remember her winning the Wimbledon title, I don't know how old she was – 20, 17, unbelievable. She had a really good career, I can tell you.

"I think many people are jealous of the career she had. Obviously she was behind Serena, another great athlete, so I would say after Serena, she's probably the best.

"She had a really good career with great victories, great achievements in tennis. I think she added a lot to our sport."

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 sealed a stunning defence of his Open 13 Marseille title as he crushed the hopes of Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The brilliant Greek has endured a rocky start to 2020 but put a run of early-tournament defeats behind him with another success in the south of France, beating Canadian Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-4 in the final.

It means that for the second yet in a row, Tsitsipas has run through the Marseille draw without dropping a set, while for Auger-Aliassime the wait for a first ATP singles trophy goes on.

This setback makes it five defeats in five finals for the 19-year-old Canadian, including a loss to Gael Monfils in Rotterdam last weekend.

Tsitsipas was highly impressive and the 21-year-old roared in delight when Auger-Aliassime ripped a forehand over the baseline on match point.

The trophy presentation became a charming love-in between two of the stars of the new generation in the men's game.

Addressing Auger-Aliassime, who held a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head before this clash, Tsitsipas said: "It's great to be fighting on the court against you.

"I feel like you make me a better a player. And I hope I make you that too.

"I would like to congratulate you on a great week. Someone had to win the title - it was a very close match.

"I've been following you, even when you've not been playing the same tournaments as me.

"Keep putting in the extra work and I'm sure you can achieve a lot of things in the future which will be very good for our sport and for the younger generations."

It was a fifth tour title for Tsitsipas, and it seems only a matter of time before Auger-Aliassime begins carrying off the big trophies.

These two could contest many more finals in the years ahead.

Auger-Aliassime said: "We've known each other since juniors. It's getting tougher and tougher to play you - we're equal now - two wins each - so it's a great rivalry and a great fight every time against you, but congrats for this one."

Felix Auger-Aliassime is into a second successive ATP Tour final after seeing off Gilles Simon in straight sets in the Open 13 Marseille semi-final and he will face defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas for the title.

Second seed Tsitsipas was in impressive form as he dispatched Alexander Bublik in the day's first match, running out 7-5 6-3 victor to reach the final of the tournament for a second year in a row.

The Greek continued his run of not dropping a set at the competition since a first-round defeat to Nicolas Mahut two years ago, racking up a 14th successive win in Marseille.

Tsitsipas was particularly devastating on his own serve in the second set, dropping just a single point, and he was delighted to be able to keep Bublik under control.

"I tried to stay in the match as much as possible and play each point individually," he said, according to quotes on the ATP Tour website. "I know he can be [Bublik] quite unexpected.

"You don't know what to expect. I didn't know what to expect from today's opponent. I am really happy with myself that I found a balance and I didn't panic when things got tight.

"That is a great attitude that I put out on the court. It keeps getting better and better."

Auger-Aliassime will be hoping to go one better than he did in Rotterdam last week, having lost in the final of that event to Gael Monfils.

The Canadian did not have it all his own way against Simon, who eliminated top second Daniil Medvedev in the last round, but Auger-Aliassime showed admirable resilience to claim a double break in the first set after losing his own serve early on.

Simon took the second set to a tie-break, but he rarely appeared to be in the conversation at that stage, with Auger-Aliassime eventually winning 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

Daniil Medvedev's run of poor results continued at the Open 13 Marseille as he suffered a heavy straight-sets defeat to Gilles Simon.

Top seed Medvedev looked to have put his shock loss to Vasek Pospisil in Rotterdam behind him when he beat teenager Jannik Sinner in three sets to reach the last eight in the south of France.

However, he lasted just 67 minutes on court as Simon won their quarter-final in a 6-4 6-0 rout, racking up his 29th victory in Marseille, the most he has claimed at any ATP Tour event.

Simon's win sets up a semi-final with Rotterdam finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 19-year-old defeating Egor Gerasimov 7-5 6-2.

Pospisil was unable to earn a second shock victory in as many weeks, losing to world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5 6-3.

Auger-Aliassime will be the sole Canadian in the last four, with Denis Shapovalov joining Pospisil exiting at the quarter-final stage.

Fourth seed Shapovalov won the second set against Alexander Bublik, but was unable to complete a comeback after losing the first and was eventually defeated 7-5 4-6 6-3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stefanos Tsitsipas suffered a surprise Australian Open exit at the hands of Milos Raonic in the third round on Friday.

The Greek was beaten in straight sets and managed not a single break point against the relentless power and precision of the Raonic serve.

Roger Federer ensured his 100th match win at Melbourne Park was among his most memorable as he survived a gruelling five-set encounter with John Millman.

The six-time champion remains on course for a semi-final against Novak Djokovic, who was ruthless in seeing off the challenge of Yoshihito Nishioka.

Roberto Bautista Agut was edged out by Marin Cilic, and there were also wins for Diego Schwartzman, Marton Fucsovics, Tennys Sandgren and Fabio Fognini.

 

RAONIC LEAVES TSITSIPAS REELING AS DJOKOVIC MARCHES ON

There was a shock for sixth seed Tsitsipas, who simply had no answer to the serve and forehand of Raonic in a 7-5 6-4 7-6 (7-2) defeat.

The 21-year-old struggled to make any inroads against the Raonic attack and was unable to muster even a solitary chance of a break against a player yet to drop serve in this year's tournament.

"It's one shot that you can get knocked down all the time, and you're just there, getting punched in the face with one shot. You can't do much," Tsitsipas said of facing the Canadian.

"I'm not saying it's luck. It's a skill. I felt a bit stupid returning his serves."

Defending champion Djokovic was in imperious form, dispatching Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2 to keep his quest for an eighth title on track.

Djokovic described the victory as "one of the best serving matches I've had lately" and credited coach Goran Ivanisevic after firing in 17 aces and dropping just eight points on serve to reach the second week in Melbourne for the 12th time.

The Serbian now faces Schwartzman, who saw off Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-3 7-6 (9-7).

TON UP FOR FEDERER AFTER TIE-BREAK TURNAROUND

Federer's 100th win at the Australian Open was secured at 0048 local time after a marathon encounter with Millman.

The 38-year-old triumphed 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) after four hours and three minutes of brutal tennis against the Australian, who beat him at the US Open two years ago.

Federer fought back from a set down to lead but, after Millman forced a decider, momentum seemed to have swung his way in front of a crowd for once not overwhelmingly backing the Swiss great.

Millman led 3-0 and 8-4 in the final-set tie-break, but Federer rallied from the brink to earn the first match point and promptly took advantage when a Millman volley offered him a routine passing shot.

"Oh God, it was tough," Federer told Jim Courier on court after the match. "Thank God it was a match tie-break, otherwise I would have lost this one."

Federer will face Fucsovics in round four, the Hungarian having beaten Tommy Paul 6-1 6-1 6-4 in a one-sided match-up.

CILIC OUTLASTS BAUTISTA AGUT AS SANDGREN QUELLS QUERRY

Cilic, the beaten finalist in 2018, claimed a memorable 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 victory over ninth seed Bautista Agut to set up a fourth-round showdown with fellow serving heavyweight Raonic.

An all-American clash went the way of Sandgren, meanwhile, as he beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 6-4.

Sandgren meets Fognini in round four, the Italian making relatively light work of Guido Pella in a 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 victory.

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.