Andrey Rublev described the Hamburg European Open as "the most special tournament" in his life just now after setting up a final showdown with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 22-year-old Russian lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in last year's final and will look to go one better after battling past Casper Ruud in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Rublev, aiming for a third title of 2020 and fifth of his burgeoning career, outfought Ruud on the way to a 6-4 6-2 win at the clay-court event.

"The match was really tough. I think everyone saw how tough it was, how [many] long rallies we had, how many chances both of us had," said Rublev.

He added, quoted on the ATP website: "It could [have been] easily 6-4, 6-2 to Casper’s side, but I was a little bit lucky. In the most important moments and at the end, the match was for me. I am really happy with the way I played today."

Rublev fell in the second round in Rome last week, following a run to the US Open quarter-finals, and his form has been inconsistent this year, yet sporadically brilliant.

Titles came in Qatar and Adelaide at the start of the year, and now another beckons in Germany.

The fifth seed said: "[It is] my first ever time that two years in a row I reached a final at the same tournament. For the moment, it is the most special tournament for me. We will see how it goes [on Sunday]."

Tsitsipas, seeded second, halted Chilean Cristian Garin in a three-set thriller he described as "nerve-wracking".

The Greek second seed will chase a second title of 2020 on Sunday, before joining Rublev in heading to the French Open.

A 7-5 3-6 6-4 success against Garin sent the world number six through to a 12th career ATP final, battle-hardened for the clash with Rublev.

The French Open also begins on Sunday, but Tsitsipas and Rublev are not due to begin their challenges in Paris on the opening day of the grand slam.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is into the semi-finals of the Hamburg European Open after eventually seeing off Dusan Lajovic in relatively straightforward fashion on Friday.

The 22-year-old Greek did not have it all his own way in the 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win, but after coming out on top in a tricky first set, he maintained his level and saw off Lajovic.

Tsitsipas had been in good form during wins over Dan Evans and Pablo Cuevas in the previous two rounds, not dropping a set in the process, though world number 24 Lajovic looked likely to pose more of a threat.

And the Serbian appeared poised to take the first set when going 5-3 up in the tiebreaker, only for Tsitsipas to rattle off four points in succession and take the lead.

Although there were then three straight breaks of serve to start the second set, it was mostly plain sailing from then on for world number five Tsitsipas, who once again relished the setting, with up to 2,300 fans permitted to attend the tournament despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

"It was a perfect day, sunny, good people, good atmosphere and good clay," Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. "Dusan is a difficult opponent to play on clay, with a lot of spin and variation in his shots. I think I had to do something extra for the victory today. I will keep working hard."

Up next for the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist is Chile's Cristian Garin, who impressively fought back from a set down to beat Alexander Bublik 3-6 6-4 6-4 to reach a third semi-final – all on clay – this year.

The other last-four clash will see the in-form Casper Ruud – 7-5 3-6 6-1 winner over Ugo Humbert – face Andrey Rublev, who impressed with his aggression in a 6-2 7-5 defeat of Roberto Bautista Agut.

Stefanos Tsitsipas was delighted to be back on clay after he overcame Daniel Evans 6-3 6-1 in the first round of the Hamburg Open.

World number six Tsitsipas has largely failed to find his best form since the ATP Tour season got back underway in August, and he was eliminated in the US Open third round.

However, the 22-year-old defending ATP Finals champion was back at his best in a 59-minute victory over world number 34 Evans on Wednesday.

Tsitsipas struck 24 winners and offered up just one break point – which Evans failed to take – and the Greek was thrilled to return to form ahead of the French Open.

"It's very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I've missed playing on clay," said Tsitsipas, who will face Pablo Cuevas in round two.

"It helps for my confidence. I've watched this tournament on TV since I was very young and I'm delighted to have gotten off to a strong start."

Elsewhere, Benoit Paire was forced to retire hurt against Casper Ruud, while Cristian Garin ended Yannick Hanfmann's run to take a spot in the last eight.

Fifth seed Andrey Rublev also booked a quarter-final berth with a 6-1 3-6 6-2 defeat of Tommy Paul and Felix Auger-Aliassime went down 6-4 6-2 to world number 56 Alexander Bublik.

Bublik pulled off an audacious underarm serve at one point, catching Auger-Aliassime unaware as the Canadian slumped to a shock defeat.

In Wednesday's final match, world number 11 Roberto Bautista-Agut needed just over two hours to see off Dominik Koepfer 6-3 3-6 6-3.

Rafael Nadal showed few signs of rust as he swept aside the challenge of Pablo Carreno Busta at the Internazionali d'Italia.

Playing his first match since winning the Mexican Open on February 29 before the sport was shut down, Nadal defeated his fellow Spaniard 6-1 6-1 in just 73 minutes.

It was an emphatic return to action against Carreno Busta, who took Alexander Zverev to five sets after a run to the US Open semi-finals last week.  

World number two Nadal will meet either Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic in the last 16.

Both players survived break-point opportunities in their opening service games, before Nadal reeled off five straight games to win the opener.

Carreno Busta stopped the rot with a hold to open the second set but was otherwise powerless to stop Nadal, who won every game from there.

Despite a first-serve percentage of just 49, Nadal only faced one break point in the contest as he beat Carreno Busta for the sixth straight meeting.

Nadal's win on Wednesday came after Novak Djokovic showed little sign of being affected by his US Open default in a 6-3 6-2 win over Salvatore Caruso.

The standout result of the day saw teenage home hope Jannik Sinner record a superb win over third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, triumphing 6-1 6-7 (9-11) 6-2 for just the second top-10 win of his career.

Matteo Berrettini was another Italian to win in Rome as he beat Federico Coria in straight sets, while Marin Cilic defeated sixth seed David Goffin 6-2 6-2.

Borna Coric and Denis Shapovalov produced incredible comebacks at the US Open, while Novak Djokovic eased into the last 16.

Coric and Shapovalov looked set for third-round exits at Flushing Meadows before fighting back for stunning wins on Friday.

Djokovic, meanwhile, had far fewer problems as he stayed on track for an 18th grand slam title.

There was also drama in New York before Alexander Zverev's third-round victory over Adrian Mannarino.

 

CORIC, SHAPOVALOV IN EPIC COMEBACKS

Coric was staring at an exit before responding to stun Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4).

Trailing by two sets to one, Coric – the Croatian 27th seed – fell 5-1 behind in the fourth against Tsitsipas on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

However, he saved six match points and won six consecutive games to force a decider.

After another thrilling battle, Coric came from a break down in the fifth set to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the third time in his career.

Coric will next face Jordan Thompson after the Australian brushed past Mikhail Kukushkin 7-5 6-4 6-1.

Shapovalov also looked set for an exit against American 19th seed Taylor Fritz.

The Canadian 12th seed trailed 5-2 in the fourth set before recovering to win 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Shapovalov incredibly finished with 60 winners and 33 unforced errors to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the second time in his career.

He will meet David Goffin after the Belgian seventh seed proved too good for Filip Krajinovic 6-1 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

 

NO DRAMA FOR DJOKOVIC

Djokovic's comfortable run continued with a 6-3 6-3 6-1 win over Jan-Lennard Struff on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The world number one improved to 26-0 in 2020 and he has dropped just one set through his first three rounds in New York.

Djokovic has now made at least the fourth round in his previous 13 appearances at the US Open, where he is a three-time champion.

The Serbian had won all four of his previous meetings with Struff, including twice this year, and he outclassed the German 28th seed again.

Djokovic will next face Pablo Carreno Busta after the Spanish 20th seed eased past Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-3 6-2.

 

OFF-COURT DRAMA IN NEW YORK

Zverev's clash with Mannarino was delayed after health officials did not want the Frenchman to play.

Mannarino was one of the players put in a "bubble within a bubble" in New York after being in contact with Benoit Paire, who tested positive for coronavirus.

The Frenchman's third-round clash with Zverev was delayed before he was allowed to play, suffering a 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss to the German fifth seed.

Zverev moved into the fourth round, where Alejandro Davidovich Fokina awaits.

Davidovich Fokina got past Cameron Norrie 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-2 6-1.

Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas booked their spots in the US Open third round, while Novak Djokovic is also through.

Zverev and Tsitsipas, seeded fifth at fourth respectively, were challenged but came through their tests in New York on Wednesday.

The duo shape as two main threats to Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, where the grand slam is being held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic remained unbeaten this year on what was a dominant day for the seeds in the men's draw.

 

ZVEREV, TSITSIPAS CONTINUE RUNS

Zverev did not have things all his own way but was still too good for Brandon Nakashima 7-5 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-1.

The German – a semi-finalist at the Australian Open this year – mixed 60 winners with 35 unforced errors to advance in just under three hours.

Next up for Zverev is Adrian Mannarino, the French 32nd seed beating Jack Sock 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 6-2.

Tsitsipas reached the third round of the US Open for the first time after a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 6-4 win over Maxime Cressy.

The Greek had won just once in his previous two main-draw appearances in New York, but is through to what shapes as an entertaining clash with Borna Coric.

Coric, the Croatian 27th seed, needed more than four hours to overcome Juan Ignacio Londero 7-5 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3.

 

DJOKOVIC GOES 25-0

After an early blip, Djokovic got past Brit Kyle Edmund 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 6-2.

The world number one improved to 25-0 this year as he chases the 18th grand slam title of his career.

"I thought there's a lot of positives in the last couple weeks. Had plenty of match play on the court. I competed great, especially in the last couple of matches during the Cincinnati tournament. Those were very important wins I think mentally for me coming into US Open," Djokovic, who won the Western & Southern Open, said.

"I don't feel tired. I don't feel like energy or recovery is going to be an issue or is an issue for me. In contrary, I actually feel very fit. I love playing best-of-five [sets]. I like my chances best of five on the centre court of US Open against anybody in the world.

"Being experienced player and playing on a big stage for so many times, obviously part of the tour for 15 years, helps in these kind of particular situations.

"I'm just going to do what I know works best for me and hope for the best."

Up next for Djokovic is Jan-Lennard Struff, who claimed a 6-2 6-2 7-5 win over Michael Mmoh.

 

SEEDS IN COMPLETE CONTROL

The seeds dominated on Wednesday as 11 of the 13 in action reached the third round.

David Goffin, Denis Shapovalov, Taylor Fritz, Filip Krajinovic and Pablo Carreno Busta were among those advancing.

The only two losses came by Cristian Garin, who was edged by Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-5, and Hubert Hurkacz, the Pole falling to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4 1-6 6-2 6-2.

Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas joined Novak Djokovic in advancing at the US Open on Monday.

Zverev and Tsitsipas, two players capable of threatening Djokovic in New York, posted strong first-round wins at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic, the world number one, cruised through on what was a good day for the seeds.

Of the 16 men's seeds in action, 13 advanced.

 

ZVEREV, TSITSIPAS GET THE JOB DONE

Zverev, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open this year, needed more than three hours to get past Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-3 7-5.

The 2017 US Open finalist, Anderson was unable to take his chances, converting just two of five break points as Zverev capitalised on three of his four.

Zverev has never been beyond the fourth round at the US Open, but the German fifth seed could challenge this year.

Awaiting Zverev in the second round is Brandon Nakashima, who beat Paolo Lorenzi in his opener.

Tsitsipas matched his best result at the US Open by reaching the second round with a 6-2 6-1 6-1 thrashing of Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The Greek fourth seed dominated Spain's Ramos-Vinolas, losing just 18 points on serve and not facing a break point.

DJOKOVIC CONTINUES FINE FORM

Djokovic continued his good form, easing past Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-4 6-1.

After improving to 23-0 this year by winning the Western & Southern Open, Djokovic showed few signs of fatigue despite a second-set battle.

Djokovic maintained his record of having never lost in the first round at the US Open, improving that record to 15-0.

The world number one is set to face a tougher battle in the second round, where Brit Kyle Edmund awaits.

Edmund was too good for Alexander Bublik 2-6 7-5 7-5 6-0, but has lost five of his six meetings with Djokovic.

 

SEEDS SHINE

Of the 16 seeds in action, 13 advanced to the second round.

David Goffin (seven), Denis Shapovalov (12), Cristian Garin (13), Taylor Fritz (19), Pablo Carreno Busta (20), Hubert Hurkacz (24), Filip Krajinovic (26), Borna Coric (27), Jan-Lennard Struff (28) and Adrian Mannarino (32) all advanced.

The three seeds to fall were Diego Schwartzman (nine), John Isner (16) and Dusan Lajovic (18).

Isner played almost four hours before going down to Steve Johnson 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in a thriller.

Schwartzman fell to Cameron Norrie in five sets, while Lajovic was edged by Egor Gerasimov.

Novak Djokovic cruised into the Western & Southern Open semi-finals, while defending champion Daniil Medvedev fell on Wednesday.

Djokovic, the world number one, continued his impressive run in New York, where the ATP 1000 event is being held instead of Cincinnati due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Serbian may have been expecting to have Medvedev awaiting him in the last four, but the Russian exited.

Meanwhile, Stefanos Tsitsipas is also into the semi-finals.

 

DJOKOVIC RACES THROUGH

Djokovic needed just 62 minutes to breeze past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 to reach a record-equalling eighth Western & Southern Open semi.

The 17-time grand slam champion, who is yet to drop a set at the tournament, improved to 21-0 this year.

Djokovic tied Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Roger Federer and Bill Talbert's semi-final totals at the ATP 1000 tournament.

BAUTISTA AGUT BEATS MEDVEDEV

Defending champion and last year's US Open runner-up, Medvedev departed in the quarter-finals.

Medvedev, the third seed, was beaten by eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 1-6 6-4 6-3.

Bautista Agut has lost eight of his 11 meetings with Djokovic, but won two of their three clashes last year.

TSITSIPAS THROUGH AS RAONIC SAVES MP

Tsitsipas was only on court for 38 minutes before Reilly Opelka retired due to a right knee injury.

Opelka led 6-5 against the fourth seed before retiring due to the injury.

Tsitsipas will face Milos Raonic, who saved a match point before overcoming Filip Krajinovic 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5.

Raonic saved a match point in the 10th game of the third set, winning 11 of the final 13 points to advance.

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.

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