Matteo Berrettini made Italian tennis history on Sunday as he blasted his way past Pablo Carreno Busta and into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The seventh seed won 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a gruelling contest to set up a last-eight clash with Gael Monfils, who earlier beat Miomir Kecmanovic.

Berrettini is the first men's player from his country to reach the quarter-final stage of all four grand slams in the singles draw, and only the 10th active player to achieve the feat.

The 25-year-old only reached this stage of a major for the first time in 2019 and has since gone as far as the final in Wimbledon last year, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

Having withdrawn from his round-of-16 match with Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne in 2021 due to an abdominal injury, Berrettini was delighted to have progressed.

"It was really tough last year. I really wanted to play, but I couldn't with the tear in the ab," he said.

"But I believe there is a reason for everything that happens and I've been wishing to come back as soon as possible and the way I won today shows how much I care about this tournament."

Berrettini had luck on his side in the first set as two netcords on Carreno Busta's serve allowed him to break for a 6-5 lead.

Once ahead in the match, his serve and baseline power became too much for the Spaniard: Berrettini rained down 28 aces, winning 87 per cent of points behind his first serve, and hit 57 winners.

"I was really precise with my serving and he wasn't reading my serve, which is why I hit a lot of aces," he said.

Next up is a meeting with Monfils, who has now reached 10 slam quarter-finals in his career and a first in Australia in six years.

These two met at the same stage of the 2019 US Open, Berrettini prevailing in five sets after losing the first two. The winner could face Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

"It's been a long journey for me and I'm quite happy, but it's not finished," said Monfils. "I will try to play this quarter-final not like the last time. I will try to be better.

"It's an achievement but we're not quite finished yet."

Gael Monfils admitted it felt "different" not to have Novak Djokovic in his draw at the Australian Open after reaching the fourth round.

Monfils, 35, moved into the last 16 at Melbourne Park with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 6-3 win over fellow seed Cristian Garin on Friday.

The Frenchman reached the fourth round of a major for the 20th time in his career, holding a 9-10 win-loss record in such matches, including losing five of his past six.

As he would have expected, a Serbian awaits him on Sunday – but it will be Miomir Kecmanovic and not Djokovic, who was removed from the draw after being deported from Australia prior to the start of the tournament.

Monfils has losing head-to-head records against Djokovic (0-17), Rafael Nadal (2-14) and Roger Federer (4-10).

"To be honest, for sure Novak is the world number one, and he always beat me, I never beat him. I lose to him, I lose to Roger, I lose to Rafa," he said after his win on Friday.

"When you go no matter what in a slam, for many years I've been losing to those big guys. Whoever is in the forefront, he's there for a reason, so it's going to be a big match no matter what.

"I think at that stage you don't really think about it, you're just like, okay, it's different, but different is not easier."

Monfils bowed out in the Australian Open first round last year, but enjoyed a strong finish to 2021 and started 2022 by winning the Adelaide International 1 event.

A winner of 11 ATP Tour titles, Monfils said he had put his early exit in Melbourne last year behind him.

"To be honest I tried to not even remember last year. I can just say that I'm here, I'm good," he said.

"I feel good, as I say. I worked, well, a lot harder, and I've just been playing great tennis for many months now since America last year. So I'm just me."

Rafael Nadal saw off Maxime Cressy in straight sets in Sunday's Melbourne Summer Set final to land the 89th singles title of his career.

The world number six, playing in his first tournament in five months due to injury, has now won at least one ATP Tour trophy in every season since 2004 onwards.

American qualifier Cressy more than held his own in a first set that went the distance, though Nadal's quality told as he prevailed 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena, where Nadal will be hoping to go deep in the season's first grand slam later this month.

Both men held in an entertaining opening set and Cressy led 6-5 in the tie-break, but he squandered his set point and Nadal hit back to grab a foothold on the match.

The 35-year-old, who won the tournament without dropping a single set, recovered from a break down in the second to add yet another trophy to his vast collection.

Nadal, who had not played since August before coming into this tournament and had COVID-19 last month, had not previously captured a title in Australia since 2009 when landing his only Australian Open triumph to date by beating Roger Federer.

And the Spaniard looks in good shape heading into the Australian Open, which may not feature defending champion Novak Djokovic, who is awaiting the outcome of a hearing to determine whether he will be able to compete in Melbourne.

"I feel privileged and a very lucky guy to be here again," Nadal said in his on-court interview.

"I am coming back from some challenging moments in terms of injuries, so I can't be happier. It means a lot to be back and with a trophy in my hands.

"This court has always been very, very special for me. The Rod Laver Arena is very, very special for everyone and it is more special because of you guys. You guys are a great crowd and I can't thank you enough."

Elsewhere on Sunday, Gael Monfils also made a promising start to the 2022 season with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Karen Khachanov in the Adelaide International 1 final.

Khachanov battled past former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals, but he fell short of clinching a first title in over three years.

Top seed Monfils held throughout the opening set and found a breakthrough in the 10th game, with the second set following an identical pattern.

The Frenchman did not drop a set all tournament on his way to winning a first trophy since February 2020 in Rotterdam.

Rafael Nadal fended off a battling Emil Ruusuvuori to reach the Melbourne Summer Set final as the Spanish veteran bids to land the 89th singles title of his stellar career.

Nadal, who has won at least one ATP Tour tournament in every season from 2004 onwards, will look to extend that streak into a 19th year after scoring a 6-4 7-5 win on Rod Laver Arena.

He has not captured a title in Australia since 2009, when he landed his only Australian Open triumph to date by beating Roger Federer.

Nadal will be a strong favourite against American qualifier Maxime Cressy in Sunday's final, despite being made to work hard to see out victory over 22-year-old Ruusuvuori.

The 35-year-old Mallorcan looked set for a routine win but dropped serve at 5-3 in the second set, allowing world number 95 Ruusuvuori a path back into the contest.

It provided Nadal with a test of resolve that he came through, tying up victory in an hour and 56 minutes, an encouraging sign as he continues to battle for full sharpness after a near five-month absence.

Nadal acknowledges he may not have long left in tennis, and he wants to make the most of the opportunities that remain.

"I just love what I'm doing," he said in an on-court interview. "I always feel passionate about the sport in general and I feel a very lucky person that I can live from one of my hobbies, tennis.

"I know it's not forever and it's not a job I'm going to do for 50 years, but I want to enjoy it as much as I can while I still have the chance."

The foot injury that caused the 20-time grand slam winner to curtail his 2021 season in August has not prevented him finding winning form this week and now Paris-born Cressy awaits, with the 24-year-old world number 112 enjoying a remarkable week.

Cressy was a 7-5 7-6 (11-9) winner on Saturday against Bulgarian third seed Grigor Dimitrov, serving 17 aces on the way through to his first ATP Tour final.

At the Adelaide International 1 event, Gael Monfils will face Karen Khachanov for the trophy.

Top seed Monfils ended the spirited run of Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis, earning a 7-5 6-0 semi-final win, while second seed Khachanov battled past former US Open champion Marin Cilic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Rafael Nadal was handed a walkover to the semi-finals of the Melbourne Summer Set tournament when his opponent withdrew with a foot injury.

In an ironic development, given Nadal has been so plagued by his own serious foot problems, Tallon Griekspoor had to pull out of his scheduled clash with the 20-time grand slam champion on Friday.

That was perhaps not the news Nadal wanted, given the Spaniard is competing this week to gain much-needed match practice ahead of the Australian Open. It is his first ATP Tour event since August, when a long-existing left foot problem caused him to curtail his season.

Withdrawing from a Rod Laver Arena tussle with Nadal was a painful blow to 25-year-old Dutchman Griekspoor too, and he wrote on Twitter: "These are the matches you play for."

It would have been a first career meeting with all-time great Nadal for the world number 65, who instead faces a fitness battle before the first grand slam of the year begins on January 17.

Nadal will go on to face Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori, who won 6-2 6-1 against Slovakian Alex Molcan. The other semi-final on Saturday will see Bulgarian third seed Grigor Dimitrov tackle American qualifier Maxime Cressy.

At the Adelaide International, the top three seeds sauntered through to the semi-finals. Top seed Gael Monfils brushed aside Tommy Paul 6-4 6-1, number two Karen Khachanov saw off Egor Gerasimov 7-5 6-3, and third seed Marin Cilic was a 6-3 6-2 winner over Laslo Djere.

It was also confirmed on Friday that former world number one Andy Murray has been awarded a wildcard into next week's Sydney Classic.

Murray suffered a first-round exit in Melbourne and is looking for a run of matches before launching his campaign at the Australian Open, where he is a five-time runner-up.

Alexander Zverev was given a thorough examination of his Paris Masters credentials by Grigor Dimitrov, but the fourth seed progressed nonetheless to reach the last eight.

Zverev, who last in last year's final, saw match points slip from his grasp in the second set as Dimitrov levelled the match, however, he eventually prevailed on Thursday.

World number one Novak Djokovic benefited from a walkover, while Daniil Medvedev also moved through to the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Zverev outlasts Dimitrov

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev had to dig deep for his 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 win over former world number three Dimitrov.

It was Zverev's seventh win on the bounce, but he was well aware of just how deep he had to dig to see off a resilient Dimitrov.

"Incredible match," Zverev, who won a fifth tour title of the year last week at the Vienna Open, said afterwards. "Grigor is playing very high-level tennis and I had to leave everything out there.

"I think it was a very high-level match and it could have gone both ways, especially the third set. I am happy with how things went in the end."

Djokovic moves through without playing

There was no such ordeal for top seed Djokovic, however.

Djokovic – a 20-time grand slam champion – received a walkover after Gael Monfils was advised not to continue with the tournament due to an adductor issue sustained in his previous win over Adrian Mannarino.

Taylor Fritz awaits five-time Paris champion Djokovic after the American saw off 10th seed Norrie 6-3 7-6 (7-3), while Casper Ruud will tussle with Zverev.

Ruud's emphatic 6-2 6-1 demolition of Marcos Giron clinched a historic achievement for the 22-year-old – who became the first Norwegian to qualify for the ATP Finals at the end of a breakthrough year in which no player can better his five tour-level titles.

Hubert Hurkacz did his chances of joining Ruud in Turin no harm as the Polish seventh seed – who holds the last automatic qualifying berth – fought back to defeat Dominik Koepfer 4-6 7-5 6-2 and set up a meeting with James Duckworth, who beat Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Second seed and US Open champion Medvedev was another who had to come from behind before ultimately seeing off Sebastian Korda 4-6 6-1 6-3.

He will go up against Hugo Gaston, who became the first French qualifier to reach the Paris Masters quarter-finals since 1990 with his win over Carlos Alcaraz.

Gael Monfils has withdrawn from the Paris Masters due to an adductor problem, handing world number one Novak Djokovic a walkover into the quarter-finals.

Djokovic has played only once on the ATP Tour since losing the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev on September 12.

That defeat at Flushing Meadows ended Djokovic's hopes of achieving a calendar Grand Slam, though the Serbian has returned to action for the final few weeks of the 2021 season.

With the ATP Finals coming up, Djokovic headed to Paris looking to regain the title he claimed in his last appearance in the tournament back in 2019. He needed three sets, but overcame Marton Fucsovics 6-2 4-6 6-3 in his first match.

He has won the Paris Masters on five occasions and is the top seed this time around, with defending champion Medvedev seeded second. 

Monfils, seeded 15th, beat Miomir Kecmanovic and Adrian Mannarino en route to the last 16, but confirmed to the media on Thursday that he had been advised not to continue.

Djokovic will face the winner of Cameron Norrie, who recently triumphed at Indian Wells, and Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals.

The field has already been cleared of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who retired hurt when facing Alexei Popyrin on Wednesday.

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz put in an impressive display to upstage eighth seed Jannik Sinner in straights sets in the third round of the ATP Paris Masters on Wednesday.

Alcaraz was on top for most of his 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 victory, winning 80 per cent of his first-serve points and 75 per cent of net points against Sinner.

Sinner showed determination to stay in both sets, with the Italian saving nine of the 11 break points he faced, but it was ultimately in vain.

The European Open winner will be among those sweating as the race to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin heats up.

After the win, 18-year-old Alcaraz said: "I'm so happy for this win as Jannik was fighting for a spot at the ATP Finals. It's my third Top 10 win of the year.

"I think Jannik and I will have a great rivalry in the future... I think that I played really, really aggressive, more than him. I think that was one of the keys."

Alcaraz will now face qualifier Hugo Gaston in the next round after the Frenchman impressively knocked out 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 7-5.

Interesting day for Turin hopefuls

It was a mixed day for others looking to secure a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals later this month as Felix Auger-Aliassime – ranked 12th in the ATP Race to Turin – lost in straight sets to Dominik Koepfer, who added to his impressive list of victims after beating three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray in the first round.

Koepfer will play another Turin hopeful, the 10th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz after he beat Tommy Paul in straight sets.

Cameron Norrie also impressed in his 6-3 6-4 win over Reilly Opelka, which was his 50th tour-level win of the year.

Taylor Fritz awaits after the American stunned fifth seed Andrey Rublev 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

 

Medvedev and Zverev ease through but Tsitsipas out

Second seed and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev had a routine first match of the tournament as he swept past Ilya Ivashka 7-5 6-4, while Olympic Games gold medallist and fourth seed Alexander Zverev also had few problems against Dusan Lajovic 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

However, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas exited after retiring hurt with an apparent arm injury against Alexei Popyrin in the first set with the score at 4-2 to the Australian.

Popyrin will now face fellow countryman James Duckworth, who followed up his impressive win against 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory against Lorenzo Musetti.

Elsewhere, 11th seed Diego Schwartzman was shocked by qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

There were also wins for 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov against Karen Kachanov, and Sebastian Korda over Marin Cilic.

Gael Monfils will go up against world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round after the experienced French 15th seed came from behind to beat compatriot Adrian Mannarino 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Jannik Sinner continued his push for an ATP Finals spot with a straight-sets defeat of Reilly Opelka in the first round of the Vienna Open, while Carlos Alcaraz exacted revenge on Andy Murray.

Sinner won his fourth title of what has been an outstanding season for the Italian in Antwerp last weekend and is only 110 points adrift of Hubert Hurkacz in the battle for the final place in the season-ending event in Turin.

Murray did the 20-year-old a favour by knocking Hurkacz out of the ATP 500 tournament in the Austrian capital on Monday and seventh seed Sinner eased to a 6-4 6-2 win over American Opelka two days later.

Sinner, who will overtake Pole Hurkacz if he reaches the semi-finals this week, won 93 per cent of points behind his first serve and did not face a break point in a resounding win and will play Dennis Novak in the second round.

Murray beat Alcaraz at Indian Wells this month, but the 18-year-old rising star from Spain turned the tables on the three-time grand slam champion with a 6-3 6-4 second-round win in Vienna.

Former world number one Murray struggled with his serve and was broken five times as he made an early exit.

Third seed Matteo Berrettini beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3 to reach the third round, while Diego Schwartzman, Gael Monfils and Lorenzo Sonego moved into the second round.

In the St Petersburg Open, defending champion Andrey Rublev beat Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals along with Denis Shapovalov, a 2-6 6-3 6-0 winner against Pablo Andujar.

Jan-Lennard Struff also moved into the last eight, with Karen Khachanov and Marin Cilic securing first-round wins.

Daniil Medvedev was ousted from the Indian Wells Masters, the US Open champion and top seed stunned by former world number three Grigor Dimitrov in a thrilling comeback.

Dimitrov had been a set and a double break down against the Russian star on Wednesday, before launching a remarkable rally for his first win over a top-two opponent since 2016.

Meanwhile, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and third seed Alexander Zverev both won to secure their spots in the last eight.

 

MEDVEDEV SHOCKED IN THE DESERT

Dimitrov roared back to triumph 4-6 6-4 6-3 over Medvedev, who had won 18 of his past 19 matches on North American soil.

Bulgarian star Dimitrov trailed 4-1 in the second set after dropping the opener before stunning the first-time grand slam champion midweek.

"I just felt something at 1-4 and I calmed myself down and started to take better decisions and started to control the pace of the game, which I really believed helped me," Dimitrov – the 23rd seed – said. "In the end it was just very solid and smart play."

Dimitrov finished the match with 25 winners, while he was also excellent at the net, helping him claim his first quarter-final appearance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this season.

Medvedev sent down 5-1 aces but only managed a 54 per cent first-serve percentage, while he also faced 10 break points across the match. Dimitrov won five games in a row to claim the second set.

"I don't remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever, I guess, on hard courts," Medvedev said.

"That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, I would say, which I don't like, because to lose serve four times is just unacceptable."

Dimitrov will face eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals after he got past Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev 6-1 6-3.

Medvedev added: "Grigor played [the] second part of the match better than anybody did against me [at the] US Open that I won. Playing this level, I don't see him losing to anybody, but let's see the result."

 

ZVEREV MAKES STATEMENT WITH MONFILS WIN

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev bulldozed his way past 14th seed Gael Monfils 6-1-6-3 en route to the last eight.

German star Zverev claimed his 20th win from his last 21 matches, needing just over an hour to dispatch Monfils.

Zverev claimed 19 of 25 points at the net, hitting 19 winners including 11 with his forehand, while converting four of eight break points.

"I felt well on the court today. Gael is someone I haven't beaten before, so I knew had to play my best tennis and I definitely was not far away," Zverev said during his on-court interview.

Zverev will take on American 31st seed Taylor Fritz, who defeated 10th seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-3.

 

TSITSIPAS OUTLASTS DE MINAUR

French Open runner-up Tsitsipas saw off a tough challenge from Australian Alex de Minaur to secure his spot in the quarter-finals 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Tsitsipas fought back from a set down to win against the 22nd seed, triumphing in two hours, 43 minutes.

Greek star Tsitsipas showed grit to outlast the tiring De Minaur and will face 29th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili after he knocked off fellow seed Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

"That was incredible the way I just stayed in the match," Tsitsipas said. "I had to go through so many difficulties in order to find a solution and I executed towards the end of the match."

There were further top-10 casualties, with sixth seed Casper Ruud also bowing out 6-3 6-3 to 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, who will meet Cameron Norrie in the quarters.

Alexander Zverev overcame former world number one Andy Murray to reach the Indian Wells Masters last 16 as Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed, but Matteo Berrettini lost.

Olympic Gamed gold medallist and third seed Zverev fell behind a break in both sets but battled past Murray in straight sets at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas – the second seed – rallied from a set down to vanquish Fabio Fognini in the desert, while fifth seed Berrettini was a third-round casualty.

 

ZVEREV CLAIMS COVETED SCALP OF MURRAY

Having already defeated Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in his career, all that was missing for Zverev was a win over Murray to complete the 'Big Four' sweep.

Zverev added Murray to his list of scalps with a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory to reach the Indian Wells fourth round for the first time since 2016.

The German star has now won 19 of his last 20 matches since Wimbledon.

"He's the only one of the Big Four that I hadn't beaten yet, so I'm happy that I've done it today," said Zverev, who will clash with 14th seed Gael Monfils in the next round. "Obviously it was a fantastic match.

"I thought Andy played extremely well, maybe as well as he's played since the surgery. I hope he continues playing the same way, because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it's good to have him back."

 

TSITSIPAS FIGHTS BACK

It was far from easy for Greek star Tsitsipas, who prevailed 2-6 6-3 6-4 against 25th seed Fabio Fognini.

Tsitsipas added to his ATP Tour-leading haul of match wins this season, which now stands at 53 after Fognini had been looking to score his first victory over the French Open runner-up.

Alex de Minaur – the 22nd seed – awaits after he took down 13th seed Cristian Garin 6-4 6-2 for his first trip to the Indian Wells last 16.

 

BERRETTINI BUNDLED OUT

Wimbledon finalist Berrettini was no match for Taylor Fritz, who surprisingly topped the Italian 6-4 6-3.

Berrettini entered the contest as the only player on the ATP Tour this season to register double-digit wins on three surfaces – 15-4 (hard), 13-4 (clay) and 11-1 (grass).

"We're coming to the end of the year, I could really use a big result," said Fritz after claiming his first top-10 win of the year. "This is just what I needed, playing one of my favourite tournaments close to home."

Jannik Sinner eased to another Sofia Open title with a 6-3 6-4 final win over Gael Monfils in a battle of the top two seeds.

Sinner's first ATP Tour final had come at this event in 2020, where he opened his account by beating Vasek Pospisil in three sets – a sterner test than he was given by Monfils.

The Italian had since tasted victory twice more, while Monfils' previous final had been in February 2020, although his success this week extended a run of seasons with final appearances to 17 in a row.

The most recent three of the Frenchman's prior 31 had ended in glory, but he was no match for defending champion Sinner.

The 20-year-old had already passed up a break point before consecutive superb forehand winners brought the breakthrough, the second clipping the net on its way through.

A marathon rally saved the second of two break points Sinner faced in the seventh game, yet that was as close as he came to being stopped.

After Sinner served out the opener, Monfils paid the price for losing his focus at the start of the second, adamant he had landed the first point of the set inside the line as a narrow call went against him.

Monfils' wild backhand then went long to give Sinner the lead in the second, one he never relinquished as he coasted through to serve out the match to love.

"I'm happy to be one more time the winner here in Sofia," Sinner said. "I think it's a very, very nice tournament.

"For sure it was the best match [he played in the tournament], because I had to. It's never easy to play against him. We've had very tough matches, I think everyone knows that.

"Today, in the [key] moments, I was a little bit luckier than him, so that helped a lot."

Reigning champion Jannik Sinner is through to the Sofia Open final following a straight-sets victory over Filip Krajinovic on Saturday.

The top seed is targeting his third ATP title of the season, having already triumphed in Melbourne and Washington.

And the Italian is yet to drop a set in the Bulgarian capital as he boosted his bid to reach next month’s ATP Finals with a 6-3 7-5 success.

Breaks were exchanged in the opening set before Sinner edged his nose in front, while he recovered from 5-2 down in the second by reeling off five successive games to prevail.

"It was a very tough match against [Krajinovic]," Sinner said. "We practise at times together, so we know each other's games a little.

"There was a chance to go to a tie-break, which I luckily avoided. I am happy to be in the final here again."

His opponent in the final will be second seed Gael Monfils, who also advanced in straight sets after defeating Marcos Giron 7-5 6-0.

Though 4-2 down in the opening set, the world number 20 won 11 of the next 12 games against the American, who was appearing in his first tour-level semi-final having defeated Alex de Minaur along the way.

The Frenchman's progression means he has now reached at least one ATP final in each of the last 17 years; a tally only eclipsed by Rafael Nadal (18).

"I am very happy as I was very solid - it was a very physical match with lots of long rallies," said Monfils, who also reached the semi-finals in Metz last week.

"I felt in his rhythm he was crushing the ball, so I wanted to change the speed a little and come to the net a little and step in. I think that was key for me."

Jannik Sinner recovered from a slow start to reach the semi-finals of the Sofia Open with a straight-sets victory over James Duckworth.

The top seed won just two points across the first three games but took a first set that featured four breaks and lasted over an hour.

Duckworth broke in the first game of the second but eventually ceded that advantage and the frustrated Australian could not prevent Sinner from breaking again to claim a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win to set up a last-four clash with Filip Krajinovic, who prevailed in three sets against Kamil Majchrzak.

Gael Monfils will feature in the other semi-final after brushing aside Gianluca Mager 6-2 6-2, booking a meeting with American Marcos Giron.

It is a second semi-final in as many weeks for Monfils, who also reached the last four in Metz.

Giron will contest his first Tour-level semi-final following a 6-4 6-2 defeat of John Millman.

"Nothing is easy," Monfils said. "We have been putting in work for nearly four days here. Working on my serve and my forehand and it worked perfectly today. I will be ready for Marcos. He has been playing very well, so I think it will be a tough semi-final."

Fifth seed Filip Krajinovic made a comfortable start to his Sofia Open campaign on Wednesday, defeating Alexandar Lazarov 6-0 6-3.

Krajinovic was the only seeded player in action and he was dominant against home hope Lazarov, who is ranked 462 in the world.

The Serbian swept the first set without conceding a break point and finished the job by claiming the last four games in the second despite Lazarov putting up more of a fight.

Elsewhere, Krajinovic's compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic crashed out to Italian Gianluca Mager, who fired down 11 aces and forced 10 break-point opportunities to earn an impressive 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 win.

Australian James Duckworth, meanwhile, had to launch a comeback before ultimately prevailing 3-6 6-4 6-4 against Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori to book a round two match with Benoit Paire.

The number one seed and defending champion Jannik Sinner will begin his campaign on Thursday with a last-16 contest against Egor Gerasimov.

Second seed Gael Monfils will play Ilya Ivashka, who defeated Pablo Andujar in straight sets, with the winner to face Mager, who is the first man in the quarter-finals.

Alex de Minaur will also be in action against American Marcos Giron.

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