Novak Djokovic ensured he will finish the year ranked world number one for an eighth time after battling to a late-night victory over Holger Rune in his opening match at the ATP Finals.

Djokovic is chasing a record seventh title but again found 20-year-old Rune, who is making his debut at the eight-man event, a troublesome opponent before pulling off a third win in five meetings.

It was past midnight in Turin when Djokovic completed a 7-6 (4) 6-7 (1) 6-3 victory after three hours and four minutes on court.

Rune has fared much better against Djokovic than most of his rivals over the last couple of years, beating him in Paris last autumn and Rome in the spring before a narrow defeat in the French capital a week-and-a-half ago.

The Serbian went on to claim the Masters series title, maintaining his record of not having lost a match since the Wimbledon final.

It was Rune who struck first with a break to lead 3-2 but Djokovic hit straight back and the high-class set went all the way to a tie-break, which the top seed took with a forehand smashed cross-court past his helpless opponent.

Rune reacted well, breaking again to lead 2-0 in the second set, but once more Djokovic found the immediate response, and a strong serve foiled the young Dane when he forced a set point at 4-5.

Rune slumped after reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals prior to hiring Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker last month, but there were plenty of moments here to demonstrate his huge talent and fearsome ball-striking.

He has won at least a set against Djokovic in every match they have played, but he had a helping hand in setting up a decider, his rival playing a highly unusual lacklustre tie-break.

Djokovic broke straight away to start the deciding set, only for this time Rune to recover the deficit immediately, prompting a frustrated Djokovic to stamp on two rackets, snapping the frames.

But he broke again to lead 4-2 and this time there was no way back for Rune.

Djokovic told Prime Video: “It took everything. I saw in the first game when he fired shots from the baseline, I knew it was going to be a tough night for me. I thought he played great. I played great in some moments.

“Overall a win is a win. It was a very emotional win and a tough win knowing the significance of tonight’s match. After a really terrible second-set tie-break I think I played a really solid third set.”

Earlier, Italian Jannik Sinner delighted the crowd by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening singles match.

Sinner, 22, played as an alternate two years ago but qualified for the first time this season after claiming four ATP Tour titles and rising to world number four. He is one of the favourites to lift the trophy this week, which would be the dream scenario for the home fans, and a 6-4 6-4 victory over Tsitsipas is a big step towards the semi-finals.

Novak Djokovic could still win three majors next year but Gilles Simon reminded tennis fans the world number one is not "eternal" as he heads towards the end of his career.

Djokovic triumphed in three of the four majors in 2023, with September's US Open success taking him level with Margaret Court's record 24 grand slam triumphs.

Defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final, Djokovic – aged 36 years and 111 days – became the oldest winner of the men's singles title at the US Open, as well as winning a trio of majors in a year for the fourth time.

That saw him surpass Roger Federer – who won three grand slams in a year on three occasions.

Simon, though, warned that Djokovic cannot play on forever.

He told Stats Perform: "I think he can win some [majors, but] I think he's getting to an age where it is going to become difficult.

"Most of the observers want to believe that a player is eternal but none are more eternal than the others.

"I think he can win a lot next year; will he win one, two or three? Next year he can do one more big year, but I also think that it will be his last."


The 36-year-old Djokovic acknowledged the retirement speculation after his US Open victory, asking how long he can continue.

Simon likened the twilight of Djokovic's career to fellow great Federer, whose playing days were curtailed by injury and fitness issues.

"At one point like every player there's going to be a break, that was the case for Roger Federer, remember when he won in Australia at the age of 37 playing incredible tennis," Simon added.

"At Wimbledon, he could have won because he lost against Novak Djokovic on match point. Time never had a grip on him, he had never been injured, he played really well, and then all of a sudden he disappears."

Another of tennis' 'Big Three', Rafael Nadal has not played since January 18 at the Australian Open – again owing to injury problems as years of toiling on the court takes its toll on even the best.

"We have Rafael Nadal who we hope to see again next year, who got us accustomed to more traditional injuries, longer injuries and with doubts," Simon continued.

"Once again he wins the Australian Open, he wins at Roland Garros even with his history with his foot, he again has a semi-final at Wimbledon.

"We say no about Novak because he is more careful, but we said the same about Federer, he expends less energy, he has a more fluid game and technique, he preserved himself from injury.

"I think next year will be very interesting because it’s a year where he can again win, where he still has an advantage [ahead of the rest] but we saw him lose against [Carlos] Alcaraz at Wimbledon.

"I thought he would have more advantage on grass because of the experience he has compared to others and his game works so well on grass – but he is beatable."

Age has shown no sign of slowing Djokovic down yet after he lifted the Paris Masters trophy for a seventh time on Sunday, defeating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets.

That victory marked his second hard-court ATP-1000 title of 2023, Djokovic managing multiple Masters titles in a single season for the ninth time in his career. Only Federer, having won multiple such events in a year six times in his time, can get near to that feat.

Yet Simon suggested 30 major triumphs may be out of Djokovic's reach due to the emergence of Alcaraz, who won at Wimbledon this year, and a gruelling schedule.

"He's so strong he knows how to prepare himself, but he can't do a series of tournaments," said the Frenchman, who won 14 career titles and reached a high of number six in the ATP rankings.

"If everything was going well he would be playing every week like when he was 25 years old, so that is what is missing.

"He looks after himself, ultra-professional and very strong. The US Open was important for him, I see him maybe doing one or two next year, but I am waiting to see for the next few years after that.

"I can't see him reaching 30 [majors] for example when Carlos Alcaraz could win two or three a year – I wish it for him but I don't see it like that."

The Rolex Paris Masters became the first Masters 1000 to broadcast its qualifying matches on Twitch, live on Rivenzi's channel.

Gilles Simon has warned that Carlos Alcaraz dominating men's tennis is no certainty.

Alcaraz has enjoyed a stunning rise to the top of the rankings over the past two seasons, with the 20-year-old winning two grand slam titles and 12 trophies overall.

The Spaniard has not won a title since triumphing at Wimbledon in July, however, and has reached only one final since then, losing to Novak Djokovic at the Western & Southern Open in August.

A shock defeat to Roman Safiullin at the Paris Masters this week has damaged Alcaraz's chances of pipping Djokovic to the year-end world number one, and Simon does not feel he is a shoo-in to be the standout player of the next generation.

"There are a lot of people who say: 'He's going to win 20 Grand Slams'," Simon told Stats Perform.

"It's long a career. People say he has got the freeway ahead of him. Yes, but we do not know what's behind him? 

"When [Roger Federer first arrived, we thought he was going to win a lot, and he did. Breaking [Pete] Sampras' record, we were sure of it.

"But the danger came from behind. First Rafa [Rafael Nadal] then Novak, then Andy [Murray]. And I think it will be the same for Carlos. The danger will come from behind."

Simon, who won 14 career titles and reached a high of number six in the ATP rankings, pointed to the likes of world number four Jannik Sinner and number three Daniil Medvedev, though the latter is seven years Alcaraz's senior.

"There are players aged 16, 17, who are playing extremely well and who may also have a similar career path. In the end, he still has Novak and hyper-stable, hyper-strong players like Daniil on hard court or other players on clay who can really cause him problems," Simon continued.

"Sinner and so on, but he may also have two or three guys behind him who, in two or three years' time, we don't know who they are yet, but they'll be up there like him, and we'll be saying to ourselves: 'Ah well, he never had that period when he was supposedly going to win everything with no competition in front of him'.

"There is never no competition. The other players, even if they are not the calibre of Federer or Nadal, they are very strong. Daniil is very strong, very stable on hard court, so he can beat [Alcaraz].

"Carlos seems to have the upper hand. But no, Daniil finds a solution, comes up with something else and beats him. And that is why it's never a foregone conclusion, and why it's so interesting to follow. Otherwise, we would not even be watching the match."

The Rolex Paris Masters became the first Masters 1000 to broadcast its qualifying matches on Twitch, live on Rivenzi's channel.

Rafael Nadal is set to return to grand slam tennis at the 2024 Australian Open, tournament director Craig Tiley has announced.

The 37-year-old has not been in action since suffering a hip flexor injury during his second-round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald during the 2023 edition in Melbourne.

Earlier this year, Nadal announced he would miss the French Open, where he has claimed 14 of his 22 major titles, as he was undergoing surgery on the issue.


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His inactivity has seen the Spaniard slide down to 240th in the world, but Nadal will be able to rely on a protected ranking for the first grand slam of the 2024 calendar.

Speaking in an interview on Australian breakfast TV programme The Today Show, Tennis Australia chief executive Tiley said: “We can reveal exclusively here that Rafa will be back.

“He’s been off for most of the year and in talking to him over the last few days he confirmed he will be back, which we’re really excited about, the champion of 2022. That’s awesome.”

Tiley also revealed “some of the greats” will be making their way Down Under, with former women’s singles champions Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber all lined up for returns.

“We’ll welcome them – and their families – back to Melbourne with open arms and can’t wait to see what their next chapter brings,” he added.

Home favourite Nick Kyrgios, who has played only one ATP Tour match in 2023 due to injuries, has returned to training and is hopeful of being fit for Melbourne, with Tiley adding that he was “doing his utmost to get back to his best”.

Feliciano Lopez has doubts whether Spain's golden generation led by Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will ever be replicated.

With Nadal's glittering career nearing its end, the torch for Spanish tennis has been passed on to Alcaraz, who at just 20 has already won Wimbledon and the US Open.

The pair have now combined for over half of Spain's grand slam titles, and while Lopez feels his nation will have more success in the future, the former world number 12 has concerns whether it will match the levels that Nadal produced. 

"I believe that we are not going to experience the generation of Spanish tennis players that we lived through again," Lopez told Stats Perform. "People have to be clear about that.

"But that does not mean that there will not be other great tennis players that will represent the country very well in the coming years.

"I don't know Spanish tennis in the minor categories, beyond some names that have been told to me, but I know that there are kids of 16 or 17 who play well.

"In the end, I think Spanish tennis has been in a place that is very difficult to get back to, but I'm sure that apart from Carlitos, there will be other young players who will bring us joy during the next four, five or six years."

Alcaraz has reached at least the semi-finals in the last four grand slam tournaments he has played, winning two of them, and Lopez has faith that he can carry the torch for Spanish tennis once Nadal calls it a day.

"Spanish tennis is in the hands of Carlitos and when Rafa announces his retirement, the entire country will want him to win," Lopez added. 

"He has already won two grand slams and has been number one. It is a blessing to have a player like Carlos at a time when Rafa has a year left to retire."

Nadal's decorated career has coincided with a great era of Spanish sport, with the nation's male and female football teams both winning World Cup titles while they have also enjoyed success in the likes of basketball and motorsport.

Lopez takes pride in his country's sporting achievements, explaining: "A country like Spain that is not a world power, and sport does not have the aid that neighbouring countries invest, in the last 20 years, has not stopped winning titles in all disciplines: Tennis, football, and basketball."

Novak Djokovic matched Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles with his fourth US Open win.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the Serbian’s record.

Grand slam record

Djokovic has won seven of the last 10 major tournaments he has played and came up just a Wimbledon final defeat to Carlos Alcaraz short of a season slam this year.

That extends his record to 65 wins and three defeats since the start of 2021. He missed last season’s Australian and US Opens due to his Covid vaccination status but has otherwise been in a class of his own in the last three years.

He won 2021’s first three slams and reached the final in New York, only for Daniil Medvedev to deny him a calendar year grand slam – making this year the second time he has gone within one match.

Perennial French Open champion Rafael Nadal defeated him in last year’s quarter-final in Paris, since when he has won four out of five slams and reached the final of the other.

In his career as a whole, Djokovic has won 88 per cent of his grand slam matches, 361 of 409, and one-third of the major tournaments he has entered with 24 of 72.

He is now two clear of Nadal for the most grand slam titles by a male player and moves ahead of Serena Williams for all players in the Open era. Court’s 24 wins were split almost equally between 13 in the amateur era and 11 in the Open era.

Man for all surfaces

Djokovic enjoys a stunning record at all four grand slams, as the only man to win each on at least three occasions and one of only three to hold the four titles simultaneously.

He has not matched the calendar slam feat achieved by American Don Budge in 1938 and Australian great Rod Laver in both 1962 and 1969, but did win Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015 before adding 2016’s Australian and French Opens.

Melbourne is where Djokovic has bulked up his grand slam total with an astonishing 10 wins, the third-most of any player at a single slam after Nadal’s 14 French Opens and Court’s 11 titles in Australia – only four of which came in the Open era.

Djokovic has won Wimbledon on seven occasions and the French three times.

Novak Djokovic made history with a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at the US Open.

The 36-year-old Serbian tied Margaret Court’s tally with a 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-3 victory over Daniil Medvedev.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at day 14 at the US Open.

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There was guaranteed to be British success in the men’s wheelchair singles with Alfie Hewett facing compatriot, and doubles partner, Gordon Reid.

It was Hewett who triumphed 6-4 6-3 to take his fourth US Open crown and eighth grand slam singles title.

Carlos Alcaraz paid tribute to new Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham following his quarter-final victory at the US Open.

The defending champion spread his arms wide, mimicking England midfielder Bellingham’s goal celebration, after beating Alexander Zverev in straight sets on Wednesday night.

Alcaraz posted a picture on X, formerly known as Twitter, captioned “Hey Jude!”, and tagged Bellingham.

His fellow 20-year-old responded on Thursday morning, writing: “Que maquina! (What a machine) Keep going mate.”

Alcaraz is a fan of Real and spoke earlier in the tournament about his admiration for Bellingham, who has hit the ground running in LaLiga with five goals in his first four games.

“I’m really happy to watch him play at Real Madrid,” said Alcaraz. “He’s such a great, talented player, one of the best in the world.

“I’m sure that he’s going to be the best player in the world in that position. I’m just really, really happy to have him in the team. I talk a little bit with him. He’s such a great person, as well.”

Daniil Medvedev warned a player could die in the 90-degree heat at the US Open.

Medvedev needed medical attention and an inhaler as he struggled in the hot and humid conditions before beating his fellow Russian Andrey Rublev.

The roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium was partially closed to protect the players from the sunlight, but both were visibly wilting during the two hour 48-minute battle.

Late in the third set, when Medvedev went to his towel, he said into a television camera: “One player is gonna die and they’re gonna see.”

Following his 6-4 6-3 6-4 quarter-final victory, the 2021 champion recalled an incident earlier this summer when Chinese player Wu Yibing collapsed during a match in Washington.

He said: “I could talk a lot, brutal conditions for both of us.

“I mean, I don’t know if it could be seen through the camera, because we are sweating so much and use a lot of towels.

“I have no skin left on my nose here, and, like, here it’s red, but it’s not because of the sun so it’s not like you’re burned but I have no skin left.”

He continued: “I just saw Andrey in the locker room and his face is very red, and it’s also not because of the sun so I guess it’s the same. That tells everything, like we left everything out there.

“The thing is that even if it would go further, I think we would still leave even more. Then I don’t think I had anything left but if the match would go on, I would find something more.

“And the only thing that is a little bit, let’s call it dangerous, is the question how far could we go? Maybe we could go five sets and it would be… when I say ‘fine’, yeah, we would struggle a little bit next day and it would be fine, or we have a person in Wu who fell down.”

Medvedev said he felt shaky as he tried to recover from the match.

“I’m feeling kind of okay now. I’m just pretty exhausted. Let’s say, yeah, do couple of interviews here and there straightaway, and it was tough.

“I was with an ice towel there. Everything was foggy, like I couldn’t see clearly. Because the match is over, so the adrenaline is not there anymore.

“So I was, like, a little bit shaky. Then I come to the locker room and that’s the toughest part because you kind of want to just sit there for hours. But you know that if you do it, it’s not a good recovery.”

He continued: “So I sat there for, like, 10, 15 minutes, went and did a quick ice bath. Changed. Went to eat. But had, I don’t know how you call it in English, when sugar blood, sugar levels go up. I started sweating, my head started turning.

“I said to my team please bring me any food. I was sitting there like this sweating like hell even with the AC on, and they brought some food and then I felt better. Yeah, that’s how it is sometimes.”

Rublev, who has now lost nine out of nine quarter-final matches at grand slams, said: “I’m not even thinking about my health.

“I don’t know. At this moment, these moments I’m thinking that I need to fight. Doesn’t matter how, it’s tough.

“I mean, the sport is not easy. And you need to be ready for everything that can happen.”

Novak Djokovic broke yet another record as he reached the last four at the US Open.

The 36-year-old’s straight-sets win over Taylor Fritz saw him into the last four of a grand slam for the 47th time, overtaking Roger Federer’s tally.

Meanwhile, Coco Gauff became the first American teenager since Serena Williams in 2001 to reach the semi-finals.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at day eight at Flushing Meadows:

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Gauff dropped just two games as she blitzed Jelena Ostapenko 6-0 6-2 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 19-year-old handed out a New York bagel in the first set to Latvian Ostapenko in only 20 minutes.

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Defending champions Joe Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram are into the semi-finals of the men’s doubles.

Salisbury and Ram won the opening set against Argentinian duo Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 6-4 and came from 3-0 behind in the second by winning six games in a row.

Wimbledon boys’ champion Henry Searle lost in three sets to American Trevor Svajda in the second round of the juniors.

Fallen seeds

Women: Jelena Ostapenko (20), Sorana Cirstea (30).
Men: Taylor Fritz (9).

Who’s up next

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz takes on Alexander Zverev for a place in the semi-finals.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka faces surprise package Qinwen Zheng of China.

Jack Draper arrived at the US Open simply hoping to stay fit, yet now he is chasing a place in the quarter-finals.

The British number four, 21, has endured an injury-hit year and slipped from a career-high ranking of 38 to outside the top 100.

A shoulder injury saw him miss Wimbledon and threatened his participation at Flushing Meadows.

Yet despite serving within himself in a bid to manage the problem, Draper is the only British player reach the last 16 after winning a tight four-set battle with American Michael Mmoh 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-3 on Saturday.

And having reached the second week of a grand slam for the first time, Draper is now looking to go even further.

“I mean, when I am playing, I’m not here just to be here and be happy to play. I’m a competitor when I get into the matches. I want to win everything,” he said.

“Definitely at the start of the week, there was real concern about my body and with the year I’ve had, whether I’d be able to play one match.

“Obviously it’s the best-of-five sets, so it’s completely different to what a three-set match even holds.

“You know, we just wanted to stay fit this trip. That was kind of the goal, you know, to get consistent competition in, because that’s just something I haven’t had.

“To come here this week and to play the way I have and to compete the way I have and for my body to hold up has been, it’s been pretty special for me, really.”

Draper faces Andrey Rublev, the combustible Russian eighth seed, for a place in the last eight.

“He’s been top 10 for many years, having great results, consistently doing well in the slams and won his first 1000 event this year,” added Draper.

“Anyone who you play in the fourth round, I suppose they’ve won three matches and they’re playing good tennis and feeling good out here, so it will be really difficult either way.”

Novak Djokovic is safely into the third round, but there were a couple of big shocks on day three of the US Open.

Seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was knocked out in five sets by Dominic Stricker, a qualifier ranked 128 in the world.

Then, in the night session, fifth seed and last year’s runner-up Casper Ruud fell foul of China’s world number 67 Zhang Zhizhen.

British qualifier Lily Miyakazi’s run came to and end in the second round.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at day three at Flushing Meadows.

Pic of the dayShock of the day

Chocolate-loving Dominic Stricker caused a major upset at the US Open by knocking out seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The chubby-cheeked 21-year-old qualifier from Switzerland, ranked 128 in the world, stunned two-time grand slam finalist Tsitsipas with a 7-5 6-7 (2) 6-7 (5) 7-6 (8) 6-3 victory to reach the third round.

The former French Open junior champion recently admitted his coach had told him to cut down on chocolate and cookies.

Yet it was Athens-born Tsitsipas who was left feeling sour after a four-hour slog on the Grandstand Court.

Brit watch

Miyazaki’s US Open adventure was ended in the second round by Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

The 27-year-old came through three matches to qualify at Flushing Meadows for the first time and then picked up a maiden grand slam win against Margarita Betova in round one.

But the world number 198 found 15th seed Bencic, of Switzerland, too tough a nut to crack as she bowed out 6-3 6-3.

Miyazaki still leaves New York with the consolation prize of having virtually doubled her earnings for the year with a £98,000 pay day for winning her first-round match.

There were victories in the doubles for Jamie Murray, with Michael Venus, Joe Salisbury alongside partner Rajeev Ram, Lloyd Glasspool with Harri Heliovaara. and British pair Julian Cash and Henry Patten.

Quote of the dayFallen seeds:

Women: Petra Kvitova (11), Victoria Azarenka (18), Beatriz Haddad Maia (19), Magda Linette (24)
Men: Casper Ruud (5), Stefanos Tsitsipas (7), Francisco Cerundolo (20), Chris Eubanks (28).

Who’s up next?

Andy Murray kicks things off on Arthur Ashe against Bulgarian ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov. Fellow Brits Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie, Jack Draper and Katie Boulter are also in action along with Jodie Burrage, who faces the match of her life against second seed Aryna Sabalenka on Louis Armstrong.

World number one Carlos Alcaraz defeated Tommy Paul in a three-set thriller to reach the quarter-finals of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Wimbledon champion Alcaraz outlasted the American 7-6 (6) 6-7(0) 6-3 in a gruelling contest that lasted more than three hours.

The Spaniard suffered a three-set defeat against the American in the quarter-finals at the Toronto Masters last week.

Paul got the first break to lead 4-2, before Alcaraz rallied to bring up the tie-break, which he eventually claimed 8-6.

The second set proved another tight affair, with both players losing three service games at 5-5.

Paul saved three match points in a marathon 12th game which lasted more than 15 minutes to go into another tie-break.

This time, though, the American took control after an early mini-break to race into a 3-0 lead before then sweeping it to love.

Alcaraz broke in the first game of the deciding set, which he was leading 4-3 when rain forced play to be suspended after three hours and two minutes of a pulsating contest.

Following a delay of around an hour, the players headed out on court – but the match was soon paused again as the drizzle returned along with strong winds before the pair went off back inside.

When they were finally able to return to the court, Alcaraz picked up where he left off, clinching the next two games and sealing a trip to the quarter-finals.

Earlier on Thursday, Alexander Zverev battled past world number three Daniil Medvedev 6-4 5-7 6-4 to end a four-match losing streak against the Russian.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fourth seed, is out after he was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who recorded a first win over a top-10 ranked player in six matches.

Hurkacz goes on to play lucky loser Alexei Popyrin after the Australian earlier defeated Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2 1-6 6-3 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.

Zverev will face Adrian Mannarino in the last eight. The Frenchman progressed after American wildcard Mackenzie McDonald retired during the second set of their third-round match, with Mannarino ahead 6-4 3-0.

The run of veteran Swiss Stan Wawrinka – who had been given a wildcard entry and knocked out 10th seed Frances Tiafoe in the last round – was ended with a 6-4 6-2 defeat by qualifier Max Purcell.

The Australian, who upset world number seven Casper Ruud on Wednesday, will next face Alcaraz.

Andy Murray overcame a tough fightback from Australian qualifier Max Purcell to reach the round of 16 in Toronto.

The Scot won 7-6 (2) 3-6 7-5 in two hours and 47 minutes to set up a meeting with Italy’s Jannik Sinner for a spot in the quarter-finals.

There was little separating Murray and Purcell in the first set, each man breaking and breaking back en route to a tiebreak.

Murray was finally able to put some distance between himself and his opponent by wrapping up the first set, but Purcell refused to lie down.

The world number 78 rebounded strongly in the second to force a third and deciding set.

Purcell went up a break early in the third, but a crucial service hold down 4-2 was enough to spur Murray on to once again even things up.

Neither man was able to gain a decisive advantage as the set wound down, until Murray broke Purcell’s serve in the 12th game to win the match.

Dan Evans turned around a difficult season in style by winning the biggest title of his career at the Citi Open in Washington.

The British number two arrived in the US capital on a seven-match losing streak at tour level dating back to April but, after dropping his opening set of the tournament to Gregoire Barrere, he won 10 in a row to lift the trophy.

Evans followed up victories over Frances Tiafoe and Grigor Dimitrov by defeating Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 7-5 6-3, keeping his focus during a lengthy rain delay in the second set.

The 33-year-old hit 26 winners and only eight unforced errors and saved his only break points – four of them – in the final game.

The relief and delight on Evans’ face was evident at the end and, speaking on court, he said: “I wasn’t playing very well and I wasn’t happy with my game.

“To do the work I’ve done and to stick with it and come through is (amazing). The last game sort of summed up my week. I got out of trouble and it was an amazing week.”

It is a second ATP Tour title for Evans, who won his first in Australia at the start of 2021, and lifts him to a career high ranking of 21.

Evans had appeared at something of a loss during the grass-court season, branding his efforts against Sebastian Korda at Queen’s embarrassing and saying he was not looking forward to playing any match.

He parted ways with his Argentinian coach of two years, Sebastian Prieto, but looked full of confidence as he used his all-round skills to counter the power of Griekspoor.

One break in each set proved enough, with Evans piling on the pressure at the end of the first set and then, after rain and the threat of lightning sent players and fans from the court for more than 90 minutes at 2-2 in the second, winning the final three games of the contest.

Reflecting on his change in fortunes, Evans told reporters: “Last week I lost (against Dominik Koepfer in Atlanta), having three match points, served for the match.

“You try not to let emotions get in the way when you’re in the tournament. I was confident after the second round that I was playing well but I had to keep telling myself it was match by match and not so long ago I wasn’t playing great.

“It was really only the grass I didn’t play well. I played well in Barcelona on the clay and then I had some rough matches which I didn’t get the best out of. I lost in three (sets) a few times or tight matches.

“Then I was playing well and I just couldn’t get over the line. That’s where you lean on your team to keep you working hard and training and practising hard.

“It’s especially good to get the outcome I got this week. But I said to myself once I got into the semis that that was a good effort and then I sort of reset and wanted to win the tournament.”

Evans is a tantalising four points short of breaking the top 20 for the first time in his career but will need arguably an even better showing at the National Bank Open in Toronto this week to achieve that having reach the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 event 12 months ago.

Evans faces Canadian wild card Gabriel Diallo in the opening round and could meet British number one Cameron Norrie in round two.

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