Top seed Daniil Medvedev made quick work of Mackenzie McDonald in his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters, cruising to a 6-4 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Medvedev – the US Open champion – has lost only three of his last 41 sets, and has never dropped one to McDonald in five career meetings with the American as he maintained his red-hot form. 

Russian star Medvedev is now 37-5 on hardcourts this year and appears well-positioned to make it past the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time as he awaits Filip Krajinovic.

"I'm actually really pleased, because usually I haven’t played well in Indian Wells and I haven’t been playing that well in practices before [the tournament]," Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "[I am] really happy with my performance. That’s the most important [thing] no matter how I played before the tournament."

RUBLEV ROLLS PAST TABERNER

Medvedev's countryman Andrey Rublev closed out the night session with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of Carlos Taberner, who was facing a top-10 opponent for the first time. 

Fourth seed and world number five Rublev won 66 per cent of points on his first serve and hit 30 winners to Taberner's 12. 

Rublev improved to 47-16 this season, 31-9 on hard courts, and will face Tommy Paul in the third round. 

 

SHAPOVALOV WINS IN NEAR-WALKOVER

Most of the seeded players in action had an easy time of it, none more so than Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov's opponent and countryman Vasek Pospisil retired with an apparent back injury after dropping the first three games of the match. 

Sixth seed Casper Ruud blew past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-2, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz downed Alexei Popyrin 6-1 7-5. 

Diego Schwartzman had to work harder to advance, the 11th seed outlasting qualifier Maxime Cressy 6-2 3-6 7-5. 

Top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, the 16th seed, beat Taro Daniel 7-5 6-3 for his first main-draw victory at Indian Wells in four attempts. 

Daniel Evans also went the distance to defeat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-3 6-4, while former world number three Grigor Dimitrov, 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev and Frances Tiafoe were among the other players to advance.

Three-time major winner Andy Murray marked his return to the Indian Wells Masters with a strong 6-3 6-2 win over dangerous Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in Friday's first-round encounter.

Murray, who had not played at Indian Wells in four years, won in one hour and 24 minutes with a disciplined display, winning 82 per cent of first serve points.

The Briton, who only faced one break point for the match, will next take on Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who enjoyed a fine run to the US Open quarter-finals in September.

"I think Alcaraz is really, really good," Murray said after the win. "I think he’s got a good chance at it."

On his own performance, Murray added: "I thought my mentality was good tonight. I sort of focused just on every single point.

"It's been a tough road to get back and it was so nice that so many people managed to come out and support today. I really enjoyed it."

BROOKSBY SETS UP ZVEREV DATE

Emerging American Jenson Brooksby triumphed over Cem Ilkel 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to book his spot in the second round where he will face third seed Alexander Zverev.

The 20-year-old world number 79, who was the runner-up at the Hall of Fame Open in July, prevailed in his Indian Wells debut in one hour and 44 minutes.

Brooksby dropped only four points on his serve, with Ilkel unable to generate a break point throughout the match.

The California native has been a break-out star in the latter half of 2021, reaching the fourth round at the US Open, entering the top 100 after starting the year ranked 307th.

 

SOCK PUT AWAY BY AUSTRALIAN

Former top 10 player Jack Sock was bundled out by Australian John Millman 7-5 4-6 6-3 in an epic first-round clash which lasted two and a half hours.

Sock, who has battled injuries in recent times and was handed a wild card for Indian Wells, pushed Millman all the way, with the Australian breaking to lead 5-3 in the third set before serving out for victory.

World number 61 Pedro Martinez made light work of Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora 6-4 6-0 to set up a second-round meeting with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 24-year-old Spaniard triumphed in one hour and 15 minutes.

Former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson sent down 10 aces in a 7-5 6-2 win over Jordan Thompson.

Andy Murray is "back in the good books" with wife Kim after his missing wedding ring was found at Indian Wells.

The former world number one had issued a plea on social media after his precious band was lost in bizarre circumstances.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray ties the ring to his shoes while he is playing and had forgotten to remove it when he left the footwear outside to dry out.

The shoes were taken and that left Murray in trouble back at home, but his appeal to be reunited with his belongings soon bore fruit.

"Huge thanks for all the messages and to everyone for sharing the story," Murray said on Instagram.

"I had to make a few calls and chat to the security at the hotel but would you believe it?

"They still absolutely stink but the shoes are back, the wedding ring is back and I'm back in the good books – let's go!"

Murray's Indian Wells Masters campaign begins against Adrian Mannarino in California on Friday.

Frances Tiafoe has not found much success at the Indian Wells Masters, but the young American is off to a strong start this year after defeating Benoit Paire 6-4 6-4 on Thursday. 

Playing in his first match since a fourth-round loss at the US Open, the world number 49 eased past the man ranked one spot below him, reaching the second round at the event for the first time since 2016. 

Tiafoe came up with the big shots when he needed them, converting four of five chances to break Paire's serve, as the veteran suffered 30 unforced errors to just 20 winners. 

"I definitely took a long time off after the Open, the longest time I’ve taken in the middle of the season in a while, so [I was] a little rusty in the beginning and in the days leading up I wasn’t feeling great," Tiafoe said in his on-court interview.

"Happy to just get a first round under my belt. Obviously tonight was up and down, Benoit wasn’t having the best of days, but you take that."

Tiafoe will face his 32nd-seeded countryman Sebastian Korda next. 

 

NISHIKORI GOOD AS EVER IN DECIDER

Kei Nishikori is among the most reliable players on the ATP Tour in deciding sets, and he prevailed in the third yet again with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2 defeat of qualifier Joao Sousa. 

Only world number one Novak Djokovic has a better winning percentage than Nishikori's 147-55 mark (72.8) in deciders, and the Japanese veteran put away Sousa with relative ease after dropping the first-set tie-breaker. 

Nishikori hit 40 winners with 23 unforced errors in the match, to Sousa's 22 winners and 20 unforced errors. He moves on to face 18th seed Daniel Evans in the second round. 

 

PAUL SPOILS LOPEZ MILESTONE

Feliciano Lopez achieved a milestone just by stepping on the court as he set a record by appearing in his 139th ATP Masters 1000 event – one more than Roger Federer – but that was the only positive as the 40-year-old Spaniard fell to Tommy Paul 6-3 7-6 (7-3).

The 24-year-old American, ranked 60th in the world, won 70 per cent of his service points to prevail in his Indian Wells debut. 

Another tournament newcomer, Germany's Daniel Altmaier, defeated former quarter-finalist Sam Querrey 6-2 6-4 in just over an hour. 

Another USA veteran, Steve Johnson lost 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-5 to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who also is playing the event for the first time. 

Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters have been awarded wildcards for Indian Wells in October. 

Former world number one Murray will take part in the Indian Wells Masters for the first time since 2017. 

The Scot is competing in San Diego after opting to play the Moselle Open last week in a bid to improve his world ranking following a first-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open. 

Murray has now been handed a chance to improve on his career-best semi-final finish at Indian Wells in 2015, while Clijsters will also feature at the event, which will take place from October 4-17. 

Clijsters, another former world number one, started her comeback in 2019 after a seven-year break from tennis and will return to the tournament for the first time since 2011. 

The four-time major champion underwent knee surgery last year and made her first WTA Tour appearance since the 2020 US Open at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic this week, losing to Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round. 

A two-time winner of the Indian Wells Open, Clijsters will be joined by Catherine McNally, Claire Liu, Katie Volynets and Katrina Scott. Newly crowned US Open champion Emma Raducanu was already a main-draw wildcard, with Ashlyn Krueger and Elsa Jacquemot also granted a place in the first round. 

A trio of Americans will join Murray in the men's draw, namely Jack Sock, Jenson Brooksby and Zach Svajda, with Denmark's Holger Rune also handed his debut as a main-draw wildcard. 

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Indian Wells Open, the tournament confirmed on Wednesday. 

World number one Djokovic was set to return to action at the rescheduled event after losing the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. 

However, the Serbian – one of two five-time winners of the competition alongside Roger Federer – has decided to pull out for an unspecified reason.

"I am sorry I won't get to see my fans in Indian Wells and play in the desert, my favourite place to go. I hope to see you next year!" Djokovic said in a statement. 

Tournament director Tommy Haas added: "We are disappointed that Novak will not be able to joins us at the BNP Paribas Open this fall. 

"We hope to see him back in Tennis Paradise next March to contend for a record-setting sixth title in the desert." 

Djokovic's defeat against Medvedev in Flushing Meadows ended his hopes of claiming a record-breaking 21st major title, the 34-year-old having already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2021. 

He fell short in his aim to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in a single season but has already booked his place at this year's ATP Finals. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, having previously declared he would only do so if the ATP Tour made it mandatory.

Greek world number three Tsitsipas revealed last month he would not get a jab due to concerns over side effects.

The ATP Tour has persisted in encouraging players to get vaccinated, with Novak Djokovic the most high profile to have stated he was opposed to it, and Tsitsipas has now backtracked on his original stance.

"I will get vaccinated this year," the 23-year-old told Greek outlet Antenna TV. "So I can go to restaurants and shops. I support all those who get vaccinated.

"I am not a doctor; I am a tennis player, so I may not have the most substantiated opinion when it comes to medical issues."

The French Open runner-up was subject to backlash in his homeland following his initial comments on the vaccine, with a series of top figures questioning his thought process.

"The COVID-19 vaccine has not been tested enough because it is new and has some side effects," said Tsitsipas.

"I know some people who've had them. I'm not against it, I just see no reason for someone in my age group to be vaccinated [yet].

"For us young people I think it's good to pass the virus because we'll build immunity.

"I don't see it as something bad. As I said, it isn't obligatory, everyone has freedom to decide for themselves what's right and what's not. At some point we should all do it, I'm not saying the opposite.

"The time will come when we will not be given many options, but until then I want to see a better version of the vaccine that gives us more pluses than minuses."

Tsitsipas is set to play for Team Europe at the Laver Cup this week after missing Greece's Davis Cup tie with Lithuania due to a foot injury.

Alexander Zverev believes world number one Novak Djokovic remains the favourite for the upcoming U.S. Open despite the German backing up his Olympic gold medal with victory in Cincinnati.

The German world number four defeated Andrey Rublev in straight sets on Sunday to win the Western and Southern Open, claiming his fourth title of the ATP season.

The 2021 U.S. Open begins next Monday with Dominic Thiem, who defeated Zverev in the 2020 final, withdrawing from the men's draw along with superstar Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Their absences have opened up an opportunity for the in-form Zverev to have a run at the title but the German insisted Djokovic, who he defeated in the Olympic semi-finals, is the player to beat.

"I do think that he's still the favourite," Zverev told reporters after his win in Cincinnati.

"I do think he's going to be playing incredible tennis there. He's going to be fresh, and I think there is also other guys that are in very good form. I think Rublev is in very good form, [Daniil] Medvedev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, all those guys are playing great tennis.

"It's definitely going to be an interesting US Open. But I'm also looking forward to it, because I know where I stand, I know how I'm playing, and I hope I can continue the work and hopefully play even better in New York."

Djokovic has not played since Tokyo 2020, where he lost his bronze medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta after his semi-final defeat to Zverev.

The Serbian world number one opted to withdraw from the mixed doubles' semi-final afterwards, citing a left shoulder injury.

"I think Novak will be back. He's obviously going to be the favourite but I think other guys are going to be in great shape,” Zverev said.

"I'm looking forward to the week. Let's see how it goes. But there is still one week to go. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to find my rhythm in New York, as well."

Zverev, who had never won a match in Cincinnati prior to this year's event, has not lost a match since his Wimbledon fourth-round exit to Felix Auger-Aliassime in July.

Alexander Zverev claimed his fourth title of 2021 with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Andrey Rublev to win the Western and Southern Open.

The Olympic champion had not won a match in Cincinnati prior to this year's tournament, but Sunday's one-sided final capped a remarkable turnaround for the world number five.

Zverev raced into a 4-0 lead before securing the opening set 6-2 as he produced no errors across the first seven games.

The third seed carried on his domination, breaking Rublev in his opening service game of the second set to pave the way for the 17th ATP title of his career within an hour in the showpiece.

After paying tribute to "his best friend on Tour" Rublev, Zverev added in his on-court interview: "It is incredible that tennis can be back, sport can be back, and we can watch and play this beautiful sport again.

"I normally do not look forward to this week - not winning a single match in seven years - but this has now become one of my favourite times of the year for me, hopefully it can be for the next 10 to 15 years."

The 24-year-old reached the final of the US Open last year, though he will now eye going one step further as the tournament commences at the end of August.

Andrey Rublev finally got the better of compatriot Daniil Medvedev after a flashpoint involving a courtside camera in the Western and Southern Open semi-finals.

Rublev will now face Alexander Zverev in the decider, having ended Medvedev's bid for a Toronto-Cincinnati double.

Medvedev had never even dropped a set to his fellow Russian in four prior ATP Tour meetings and appeared to be on course for another dominant victory when he took the first set.

But the world number two clattered into a camera early in the second and all momentum was soon lost.

Medvedev complained about the positioning of the camera, claiming it had caused a hand injury and aiming a kick at the lens.

He swiftly called for treatment as his performance started to fall well below his lofty standards, with Rublev finally able to win a set after breaking in an epic 15-minute game.

A series of unforced Medvedev errors allowed Rublev to break again in the decider and seal a stunning 2-6 6-3 6-3 triumph.

Third seed Zverev fought back from a double break down in the final set to progress to the final with a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-4) win over second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The epic match lasted two hours and 41 minutes, with Zverev responding strongly after appearing unwell to book his spot in the final against Rublev.

Rublev gets his Daniil degree

Asked to reflect on finally toppling Medvedev, Rublev told Amazon: "It's always tough to play against Daniil and to beat him.

"I think it gives me a bit more confidence that I can play against him, I can compete against him. There are still so many things to improve, but it's like I've passed university."

The victory came as a relief, with Rublev believing he was unfortunate even to be trailing in the first set.

"Inside I was thinking, when I was 6-2, the score shouldn't be like this," he said.

"The points were really tight, some little outs, little mistakes, some good shots from Daniil. The score was not real [in] the first set.

"Even the third set, I won 6-3 but the match was so intense. You saw so many rallies, so many long rallies, and it was so tough.

"It was a super mental match, a super physical match, exactly like a chess match."

Zverev's Novak mentality

Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Zverev had trailed 4-1 in the third set against Tsitsipas, but fought back with two breaks before winning in a tie-break.

"After I did the first break back I thought 'OK I have the chances'," Zverev said during his on-court interview. "I felt like he was not serving bombs. I felt like I was always in the rallies but I was losing the rallies because I was a bit low energy, so I started being a bit more aggressive, a bit of the Novak mentality that I had against him at the Olympics as well."

Zverev has a 4-0 record against final opponent Rublev but he was wary of his opponent.

"Favourite or not, I think if you're in the final, there's no easy opponent," he said. "Today he played incredible beating Medvedev."

Fifth seed Matteo Berrettini survived an early scare on his return from a thigh injury to progress in the second round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Tuesday.

The Italian world number eight, making his ATP Tour return since losing the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic in July, won 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-5.

The Spaniard claimed the first set in a tie-break but Berrettini hit back, sending down 25 aces for the match, winning 84 per cent on his first serve.

"I'm happy for the win. I think I served really well," Berrettini said. "My strokes from the baseline weren't working the way I wanted them to, but I knew from the beginning it's been a long time since I played a match, especially on hard, so I expected to feel a little bit weird."

The match extended to two hours and 20 minutes, with the Italian utilizing his backhand slice in the final set to get the edge.

Berrettini, who has a 33-7 record for the season, will face 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or Karen Khachanov in the third round.

"I'm really happy that I'm going to have the chance to play another match because that's what I need," Berrettini said. "I need to play matches. I need to get in the best shape possible."

Canadian sixth seed Denis Shapovalov suffered a shock early upset, going down to France's Benoit Paire 6-3 4-6 7-5 in the Round of 64.

Former US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov toppled 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 21 minutes.

Fellow seed Cristian Garin also bowed out, losing 4-6 6-3 6-4 to qualifier Tommy Paul, while ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-1.

Marin Cilic, John Isner, Sebastian Korda, Gael Monfils, Reilly Opelka, Lorenzo Sonego and Frances Tiafoe were the other Tuesday winners.

Isner sent down his 13,000th career ace in his three-set win over Briton Cam Norrie.

Stefanos Tsitsipas has indicated he will only get the COVID-19 vaccine if it becomes mandatory to participate on the ATP Tour.

World number three Tsitsipas revealed he has not yet been jabbed against coronavirus with the tennis world divided on the issue. 

The ATP Tour have publicly encouraged players to get vaccinated, but Novak Djokovic is among the high-profile players to have stated it should not be compulsory to compete.

When asked ahead of the Western and Southern Open if he would get the vaccine, Tsitsipas told a media conference he still had reservations.

"No one has told me anything. No one has made it a mandatory thing to be vaccinated," the Greek said.

"At some point I may have to, I'm pretty sure about it, but so far it hasn't been mandatory to compete, so I haven't done it, no."

Tsitsipas received a bye through to the second round in Cincinnati, where he will play either Sebastian Korda or Laslo Dere.

The 23-year-old, who has a tour-high 45 wins this season, climbed up to third in the world rankings last week and boldly targeted overhauling Djokovic in top spot.

"The rankings are there for a reason. They signify something important," he added.

"I think that the very next step would be the number one spot, which I hope I can get to one day.”

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