Cristian Garin continued his quest for Chile Open glory as another upset in the other half of the draw paired two Argentinians in the semi-finals.

Top seed Garin is aiming to win an ATP Tour event on home soil for the first time in Santiago.

The 24-year-old was made to work by Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas in the last eight on Friday, but he prevailed 6-4 6-4.

Garin was broken first in either set yet responded instantly on each occasion.

"I would love to be able to do something important in this tournament," the Chilean said. "It is special and I hope I can continue to win.

"I am playing better, in a semi-final and I am excited to do better, but I prefer to go step by step, game by game."

Daniel Elahi Galan is up next, while the highest remaining seed besides Garin is Argentina's Federico Delbonis, the number eight.

That is because Facundo Bagnis set up a meeting with his compatriot by defeating fourth seed Laslo Djere.

Bagnis, who had already claimed the scalp of fifth seed Frances Tiafoe, dropped the first set but recovered to advance 4-6 6-3 6-3 at the ATP 250 tournament.

Stefanos Tsitsipas saw his hopes of a hat-trick of titles at the Open 13 Provence ended by a shock quarter-final defeat on Friday.

The second seed was upset by French world number 93 Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as the doubles expert scored a 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 win.

Herbert had won only one singles match on tour in 2021 before this week, but Kei Nishikori and Cameron Norrie fell to the 29-year-old in the early rounds before he stunned world number five Tsitsipas.

It was a first career win in singles over a player ranked in the world's top five for Herbert, and he said: "It has been an incredible week for me so far, especially this match."

Quoted on the ATP website, Herbert added: "I knew I was going to have to play an amazing match to have a chance to win and I managed to do that. I am really happy about the way I played. I am so happy to be in the semi-finals here."

A French finalist is guaranteed as Herbert will face compatriot Ugo Humbert in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Humbert beat another Frenchman, world number 138 Arthur Rinderknech, in a tight contest, saving a match point and coming through 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) in two hours and 36 minutes.

Russian top seed Daniil Medvedev chased off the threat of Jannik Sinner at this indoor event for the second year running, securing a 6-2 6-4 success against the Italian teenager.

Their only two career meetings have come in Marseille, and Medvedev bossed this encounter, taking three of his five break chances and holding serve throughout.

He will face Australian Matthew Ebden in the final four after the world number 287 earned an eye-catching 4-6 6-4 6-2 win over Russian third seed Karen Khachanov, who was champion in 2018 in Marseille.

At the Qatar Open, Nikoloz Basilashvili backed up his three-set win over Roger Federer by reaching the final of the tournament.

The Georgian scored a 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 semi-final victory over American Taylor Fritz in a clash of two unseeded players.

Basilashvili will tackle Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut for the title on Saturday after the fifth seed ousted Russian third seed Andrey Rublev.

A 6-3 6-3 win for Bautista Agut nudged the man from Castellon de la Plana into a 3-2 career head-to-head lead over his Muscovite opponent.

Top seed Cristian Garin will fly the flag for Chile in the quarter-finals of the Chile Open after beating compatriot Alejandro Tabilo in the second round.

The only two remaining home hopes in Santiago went head-to-head on Thursday and it was world number 22 Garin who came out on top 6-2 6-2.

Garin, a four-time ATP Tour winner, was forced to retire from the tournament in the last eight last year but will look to reach the semi-finals for the first time when he takes on Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas.

The 24-year-old Garin is one of only three seeds remaining in the competition after Varillas' upset win over Federico Coria in straight sets and Daniel Elahi Galan's defeat of Pablo Andujar.

Garin cannot now play another seeded player until the final.

Roger Federer was "really happy" with how he performed on his return to the ATP Tour but will not play the Dubai Tennis Championships.

After 14 months out following knee surgery, Federer was back in action at the Qatar Open on Wednesday, defeating friend and practice partner Dan Evans in three sets in the last 16.

But Nikoloz Basilashvili, Federer's next opponent, proved a step too far in the quarter-finals on Thursday as the 39-year-old Swiss superstar went down 3-6 6-1 7-5.

Federer breezed through the opener and recovered from a tough second set to forge a match point in the decider, but Basilashvili stuck with his "idol" and earned a first career win against the 20-time grand slam champion.

The result would not put a dampener on Federer's week, however.

"I'm already over it," Federer said. "I mean I would have loved to play tomorrow - don't get me wrong, you know - but at the same time I'm also happy to get a rest.

"I'm happy how I played today. I'm happy how I did yesterday. I'm happy I was back on the Tour. I'm pleased I came here to Doha.

"So it's a really, really positive return for me.

"I'm actually happy that I was able to play back-to-back three-set matches against top players. That's an important step forward for me. This is a stepping stone."

But Federer announced later on Thursday he had made the decision to return to training, putting on hold plans for a second tournament of the season.

He had been set to join a number of other big names in Dubai, although Spanish great Rafael Nadal has rejected a wildcard.

Federer wrote on his social media pages: "It's been great to be back on the @atptour, loved every minute playing in Doha once again. A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here.

"I've decided it's best to go back to training and as a result, I've decided to withdraw from Dubai next week."

Federer is an eight-time Dubai champion, most recently in 2019 when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Roger Federer's return to the ATP Tour lasted just two matches at the Qatar Open as he was beaten in the last eight by the brilliant Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Rafael Nadal has turned down a wildcard invitation to compete in next week's Dubai Tennis Championships as he does not feel ready to return to action.

The world number two has been struggling with a lower back injury sustained prior to the Australian Open, which he exited in the quarter-finals at the hands of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Nadal has not competed since, having subsequently pulled out of the ATP Cup and Rotterdam Open after being advised to give his back time to heal.

And the 20-time grand slam winner will delay his return for a little while longer after deciding to skip the upcoming ATP 500 event in Dubai.

"I would like to thank the @DDFTennis for the wild card invitation sent to me," Nadal posted on his Twitter page on Thursday. 

"We seriously thought about coming to play, but I don't think I am ready to play yet. Once again thanks to the tournament's kind invitation and best of luck with the tournament."

The Spaniard added in a later tweet: "And special thanks to Tournament Director Salah Talak since I am aware of his efforts to ensure a smooth arrival to play Dubai during this unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic and difficult times for all."

Nadal won his only Dubai Tennis Championships title in 2006 with victory over Roger Federer – the competition's record eight-time winner – in the final.

Federer is scheduled to take part in this year's tournament after making his long-awaiting return from a 14-month injury lay-off at the Qatar Open this week.

A "tired" Roger Federer was "incredibly happy" to mark his long-awaited return with a battling victory over Dan Evans in the second round of the Qatar Open.

Swiss legend Federer had been out of action for 14 months after undergoing knee surgery, but he was back in business with a 7-6 (10-8) 3-6 7-5 win over Briton Evans.

The 20-time grand slam champion had spent a lot of time practicing with Evans in recent weeks before making his comeback and they spent another two hours and 24 minutes on court in a tight tussle on Wednesday.

Federer was delighted to be back after such a lengthy absence and the 39-year-old's next test will come against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals in Doha.

He said: "I was tired, I was more focused on being tired than winning the points. If I was going to go out, I was going to go out swinging. Dan had more energy left at the end but I was serving well and I thought I played a really good match. I'm incredibly happy about my performance.

"It was a pleasure to share the court with Dan and always nice to finish off with a backhand down the line on match point. The important think is how I feel tomorrow and the next day and so forth for the next six months.

"It's been a long and tough road for me. I enjoyed it though, it's been a huge challenge in my tennis career."

Top seed Dominic Thiem earlier needed three sets to defeat wildcard Aslan Karatsev 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2, while the in-form Andrey Rublev was given a walkover after Richard Gasquet withdrew due to a leg injury.

Denis Shapovalov beat Vasek Pospisil in an all-Canadian encounter, while Roberto Bautista Agut was among the other winners.

Karen Khachanov reached the quarter-finals of the Open 13 Provence with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Mackenzie McDonald, while Jannik Sinner ousted Hugo Gaston in straight sets.

Cameron Norrie, Matthew Ebden and Egor Gerasimov were also victorious in Marseille.

Dominic Thiem is relishing Roger Federer's return to action, with the duo taking part in this week's Qatar Open.

Federer has spent the last 13 months out, having elected to take 2020 off – following last year's Australian Open – to undergo two knee operations.

The 40-year-old will compete in Doha this week, returning to play in an event where he has enjoyed plenty of success down the years, winning the tournament three times.

Last year's US Open champion Thiem, who has moved above Federer in the world rankings during the Swiss' absence, will also be in action in Qatar, and is thrilled to see the 20-time grand slam winner make his comeback.

"We are rivals, and of course we want to beat each other in the tournament, [but] I still really love to watch him play tennis," said top seed Thiem, who was speaking to Laureus Sport after his nomination for Breakthrough of the Year.

"[He] looks so nice, the way he plays, the way he approaches the game of tennis.

"On the one hand, I'm also a big fan of his still, and that's why I really love that he's back and that I can watch him again. That's what pretty much everybody is thinking, and I hope that he's coming back strong, as well."

Federer and Thiem have met seven times, with the Austrian holding the advantage, with five wins to his name against the former world number one.

Thiem, a semi-finalist in Doha in 2018, has not played since he lost to Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open in mid-February, and the world number four is hoping to make a fast start when he takes on Aslan Karatsev in round two.

"The [Doha] draw is unbelievably strong, so [you] never know what's [going to] happen, but I just try to have a good start and to be there on a good level from the very first point," said Thiem.

"It's going to be my first tournament and [my] first match [in almost] a month, since [a] pretty devastating loss at the Australian Open.

"I needed some time to digest everything, to analyse everything [and] to settle down a little bit. Now it's time to focus on new things. The tournament in Doha is the first chance to play better again, to get good results, to get confidence and to forget a pretty tough start of the season."

Former world number one Roger Federer said he has no real expectations for his comeback event at the Qatar Open.

Federer has not played competitively since his semi-final exit at the 2020 Australian Open – the 20-time grand slam champion having undergone knee surgery last year.

The 39-year-old Swiss superstar opted not to travel to Melbourne for this year's Australian Open, but he is set to make his comeback in Doha.

Federer, who holds the record for most Qatar Open titles with three – will start his campaign against either Jeremy Chardy or Daniel Evans at the ATP 250 tournament.

"It's been a long year in some ways, especially rehabbing, being on crutches once and then for a second time, and finally I'm back on a tennis court again, working out, playing sets, playing points," Federer said.

"It's a true pleasure, it's a privilege actually after all this time. I didn't expect it to go as long as it did, we are where we are, I'm so excited to be back on a match court, you know, in a few days here.

"I'm really curious to find out how it's going to go, obviously there's an amazing amount of questions marks surrounding my comeback for me personally.

"I don't know what to expect, I know that expectations from myself are extremely low, and I'm just very happy that I'm playing a tournament again, regardless of the outcome of this event."

On whether he had doubts over returning, Federer added: "You always do have doubts, you know, when you have surgery, there are always days when you feel better and worse. But I think overall I am a very positive person, I have a great team around myself, my family, I am also very distracted, and you know, the idea was to be fully fit again, one day. For life or for tennis.

"So equally important to me, actually life is a little bit more important to me, I wanna go skiing and play basketball, I wanna go playing ice hockey, play tennis in the future, with my children or exhibition matches, you name it, so it's definitely worth it to go through all that pain you know. But the goal was, this is not I'm going to go out, I'm not happy with my knee, we're going to fix it, and then I'm going to come back.

"For me there was no other story to it, and rehab wasn't as hard as maybe people make it seem, even though people around me are very impressed how I go about it, but for me it's only but normal to be really, really professional about it."

Novak Djokovic made history after breaking Roger Federer's record for most weeks as world number one on the ATP Tour.

Djokovic surpassed Federer after beginning his 311th week as the number one player in the men's rankings on Monday.

Serbian star Djokovic reclaimed the top ranking from fellow superstar Rafael Nadal in February 2020 and finished as year-ending number one for the sixth time – tying the mark set by Pete Sampras.

Djokovic, who first topped the men's rankings in July 2011, went on to celebrate a record-extending ninth Australian Open title at Melbourne Park in February.

With Federer turning 40 in August and Nadal a year older, the 33-year-old Djokovic has time on his side in pursuit of more history.

Djokovic has won 18 grand slams, two adrift of Federer – who is set to make his long-awaited ATP comeback in Qatar this week – and Nadal.

"I think it's an ultimate challenge to be honest, of course, winning a slam and being in history, the longest-ever number one," Djokovic said in Melbourne last month.

"You can have a great grand slam, a great tournament, a great couple of months, or even a great season but to do it over and over again, to be actually contender for historic number one, you need to play well and have a consistency from January to November, ever single year.

"I've been fortunate to do that and put myself in a position to make history in that regard. I'm very, very proud of that and privileged to be in that position.

"It's also a relief because it has been definitely my main goal, other than winning slams and now that I'll be managing to achieve it, I'll focus myself more on slams and adapt my calendar and schedule because when you're going for number one, you have to play all year and you have to play all the biggest tournaments.

"You can't allow someone else to earn more points than you. It's like a constant pressure, I think, and expectations that you have to deal with. It's definitely fulfilling to achieve that."

Federer now sits sixth in the rankings, having not played competitively since the 2020 Australian Open.

Nadal remains second, though he is set to be leapfrogged by Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the next rankings release on March 15.

Russian Medvedev will be the first player, other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray, ranked in the top two since July 2005.

Diego Schwartzman claimed his first ATP Tour title on home soil as he defeated qualifier Francisco Cerundolo in the final of the Argentina Open on Sunday.

After losing in his two previous finals in Argentina, Schwartzman finally came good in his home city of Buenos Aires with a 6-1 6-2 victory. 

The world number nine was in complete control from the off, breaking six times and conceding on his serve just once as he took just 81 minutes to wrap up a fourth Tour title.

Cerundolo's run to the final had at least ensured that whoever came out on top in the showdown would result in the first Argentine champion of the competition since 2008, when David Nalbandian triumphed in a clash with compatriot Jose Acasuso.

"I'm very, very happy, it's been an amazing week for me," Schwartzman said in the trophy presentation.

"It's the first time that [I have won at] home. Two years ago, I reached the final here and lost. I was very unhappy, but two years later I have my revenge against Francisco who is a great player."

Andrey Rublev maintained his magnificent form by beating Marton Fucsovics in straight sets to win the Rotterdam Open.

Rublev won Sunday's final 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to claim his fourth consecutive ATP 500 title.

The world number eight from Russia has now won 13 of his 14 matches this year, his only defeat coming against Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Rublev won 75 per cent of points on his first serve, winning the first set on a tie-break after saving four break points in the opening game.

Fucsovics was unable to turn it around in the second set, Rublev claiming his second win in three meetings with Fucsovics.

Just the one break in the opening game of the second set was enough for Rublev to add to his victories in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna last year.

 

 

Daniil Medvedev will climb to number two in the ATP rankings later this month, with his small step signalling that big change is afoot in the men's game.

The leading two positions have been occupied by a combination of the 'Big Four' ever since Rafael Nadal climbed above Lleyton Hewitt to take second place on the ladder on July 25, 2005.

Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have all had spells at number one in the years since then, and no other player has had a look-in on those leading two positions.

Within days, however, that is about to change, as the younger generation of players gains a first foothold in the top two.

The ATP, which runs the men's game, said on Saturday that 25-year-old Medvedev is certain to nudge up one place from his current position of world number three when the rankings, are published on March 15.

The Russian is currently on 9,735 points, 115 points behind Nadal, and he has a first-round bye at the Open 13 Marseille next week.

The ATP, tweeted: "With the release of next week's @atptour draws, @DaniilMedwed is confirmed to become World No. 2 in @FedEx ATP Rankings on 15 March. Medvedev will be the 1st player in the Top 2 since 25 July 2005 other than the Big 4 of @DjokerNole, @RafaelNadal, @rogerfederer and @andy_murray."

Medvedev, who won the ATP World Tour Finals title in November and reached the Australian Open final last month, missed an early chance this week to move ahead of Nadal when he lost in the first round of the Rotterdam Open.

Roger Federer said he is "very excited" ahead of his long-awaited return to the ATP Tour at the Qatar Open.

Federer has not played competitively since his semi-final exit at the 2020 Australian Open – the 20-time grand slam champion having undergone knee surgery last year.

The 39-year-old Swiss superstar opted not to travel to Melbourne for this year's Australian Open, but he is set to make his comeback in Doha next week.

Before departing for Qatar, Federer said on Friday: "It's been a year since my last travel to any event and I'm very excited.

"This is the moment where I could maybe thank all the people involved who made this possible.

"It's been a long and hard road. I know I'm not at the finish line yet, but it's good."

Federer holds the record for most Qatar Open titles with three, with his most recent success at the ATP 250 event coming in 2011.

The 103-time tour-level champion added: "I feel like I'm in a good place, I've been practising very well.

"Hope you guys also are going to tune in to watch it and I hope I see you again very soon. Take care everybody."

Federer and Spanish great Rafael Nadal have both won a record 20 major titles.

Veteran Federer is on the comeback trail and planning to play tournaments in Doha and Dubai in March, building up to Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, key goals for what might prove to be his final season on tour.

Former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich believes winning a ninth SW19 crown would be the perfect moment for Federer to bow out.

Stich told Stats Perform News recently: "It is clear that at some point he will stop. Many would have thought that already five years ago.

"We have no influence on that. I would wish for him to win Wimbledon and say after the final: 'You know what, I had a sick time, I'll stop.'

"There couldn't be anything better and that would give so much to the sport."

Andrey Rublev was pushed hard by Jeremy Chardy on Friday but eventually secured his 18th successive ATP 500 win to set up a semi-final meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Rotterdam Open.

Chardy managed to save match points in the second set, as Rublev wobbled at the crucial moment, but the Russian got the job done 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (2-7) 6-4.

The pair were on court for just under two hours and 40 minutes and racked up a considerable number of winners, with Rublev's 44 eight more than the Frenchman.

His 18-match winning streak in ATP 500 events has only been bettered on five previous occasions since 2009, all of which were achieved by Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, who holds the record of 28 successive victories.

If he is to get any closer to Federer's remarkable haul, Rublev will have to go beyond Tsitsipas, but Friday's match took plenty out of him.

"I will try to do as much as I can to be ready for [the semi-final]… Stefanos also had two tough matches [this week]," said Rublev.

"He had three sets [on Thursday] and today he had three sets. Now he has to play doubles. It is not easy."

As Rublev alluded to, Tsitsipas certainly did not have it all his own way against another Russian, Karen Khachanov, coming from a set down to win 4-6 6-3 7-5.

Tsitsipas also had to contend with being 3-1 down in the third set – but Rublev knows all about the Greek's ability to come back from the brink having lost to him in last year's ATP Finals despite having match point.

"He [Khachanov] was playing great tennis and I wasn't sure if I would be able to compete," Tsitsipas said after the contest.

"I had an amazing 5-0 lead in the second set and that brought a lot of confidence into my game. We had great rallies and the quality of tennis was excellent. You need to stay as calm as possible in three-setters. I have won a lot in the past and with experience, it gives me an idea of how to play in these tight moments."

Borna Coric and Marton Fucsovics will go head-to-head in the other semi-final.

Croatian Coric came through in straight sets against Kei Nishikori, though it was by no means a straightforward victory as he was pushed to tie-breaks in both sets, winning 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

Fucsovics saw off Tommy Paul 6-4 6-3 to reach the last four.

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