Nick Kyrgios barely broke a sweat on his way to a 6-3 6-2 win against Marcos Giron in the opening round of the Washington Open, finishing the job in an even 60 minutes.

The talented Australian, who won the doubles title at last week's Atlanta Open with compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, showed off his imposing serve against Giron. He won the ace count 12-to-four, while converting 82 per cent (28-of-34) of his successful first serves into points.

Earlier in the day, Daniel Evans won an all-English showdown against Kyle Edmund 6-1 6-2, but fellow Englishman Jack Draper was not so lucky against Russia's Andrey Rublev, going down 6-4 6-2.

Winner of the singles title at the Atlanta Open, Jenson Brooksby could not keep his strong form going as he lost 6-4 6-3 to Yoshihito Nishioka. Mackenzie McDonald lost to Brooksby in Atlanta, and he was also bounced in the first round by Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 1-6 6-4 6-4.

America's Chris Eubanks won a tough three-setter against France's Benjamin Bonzi 3-6 6-3 7-5, and Sebastian Korda passed the test of in-form Ilya Ivashka 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

Veteran Jack Sock got the better of Belgium's David Goffin 7-6 (7-4) 6-4, and the Netherlands' Botic van de Zandschulp fought off frisky Croatian Borna Gojo 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 to narrowly avoid an upset from a player ranked 170 spots lower.

Meanwhile, at the Los Cabos open in Mexico, Kokkinakis continued his march back up the rankings with a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 win against Fernando Verdasco.

Kokkinakis will play American Steve Johnson in the second round after he collected a straight sets 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win against Argentina's Gonzalo Villanueva.

Romania's Radu Albot defeated Spain's Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to book his place in the second round against Australian Jason Kubler, who won his 10th match from his past 12 fixtures to beat Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-1.

The only Mexican in the draw, Alex Hernandez, made the most his wildcard to win his first tour-level match, defeating Nicolas Barrientos 3-6 6-4 6-4 to become the first Mexican player to win at Los Cabos.

Facundo Bagnis was the only of the three Argentines to make it through, with a 6-3 6-1 win over Ernesto Escobado, Brandon Nakashima defeated Kaichi Uchida 7-6 (7-1) 6-2, and Jordan Thompson rounded out the day's action with a comfortable 6-3 6-0 triumph over Yannick Hanfmann.

Alex de Minaur booked his place in the Atlanta Open final with a come-from-behind 5-7 6-2 6-2 win against Ilya Ivashka on Saturday.

It was a tight first set, which was interrupted at 5-5 by a three-hour rain delay. Upon returning, Ivashka broke instantly and served out the set – but it would be his last break of serve.

De Minaur had to save two break points to hold in the opening game of the second set, but from that point on he took over, collecting two breaks in the frame.

The Australian, who is the tournament's third seed and ranked 30th in the world, controlled the decider, winning 69 per cent of his points on serve compared to 50 per cent for Ivashka as he figured out the Belarusian's serve, allowing no aces down the stretch.

He will meet Jenson Brooksby in the final after the American put on an impressive showing against compatriot Frances Tiafoe, winning 6-1 6-4.

Brooksby has been in great touch this tournament, running over Mackenzie McDonald in the quarter-final in what was meant to be a competitive matchup, and then upsetting second seed John Isner in the semi-final, breaking his incredibly tough serve three times.

Against Tiafoe, the story was about how dominant Brooksby was early on when he got the chance to see a second serve, winning 87 per cent (11-of-14) of the points off Tiafoe's second serve in the opening set.

Tiafoe never really got a chance to fight back in the second frame, getting broken in the opening game, and from there Brooksby closed the door, not allowing a single break point opportunity.

Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios was a late withdrawal from the Atlanta Open, after he was originally scheduled to play Peter Gojowczyk on Tuesday.

Kyrgios' replacement in Adrian Mannarino eventually defeated Gojowczyk 6-3 7-6 (9-7), but the Wimbledon finalist's withdrawal due to injury overshadowed the match.

After receiving a wild card for the Cincinnati Masters, the 2016 champion in Atlanta was expected to make a deep run to kick off his hard-court season.

Coming out to apologise to the crowd before Gojowczyk and Mannarino took to the court, Kyrgios expressed his sadness at the withdrawal, in the hope he could still play in the doubles draw with fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.

"I'm extremely shattered that I'm not able to compete tonight," he said pre-match. "I've won this tournament once, and you know, I'm playing some of the best tennis of my career.

"All I wanted to do was come out here and give you guys a show, to see what I was capable of. I'm unable to give out my best performance today, and I'm just extremely sorry.

"I'm going to keep my hopes up and maybe be able to continue doubles with Thanasi this week. I hope you'll all not be too hard on me."

Kokkinakis just has the doubles to attend to now after Andres Martin's 6-3 6-2 win, while Ilya Ivashka progressed with a 6-0 3-6 6-3 win over Quentin Halys.

James Duckworth was the lone Australian to advance on Tuesday, beating Dominik Koepfer 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-3. 

Jenson Brooksby made an encouraging Atlanta Open debut earlier in the day, eliminating Benoit Paire 6-3 6-1 to reach the second round.

Countryman and fifth seed Tommy Paul breezed past wild card Jack Sock 6-1 6-1, while Ben Shelton and Mackenzie McDonald also advanced.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic outclassed Thanasi Kokkinakis in a domineering straight-sets victory to march into the third round at Wimbledon.

The top seed moved majestically as he made a statement on Centre Court, winning 6-1 6-4 6-2 in just two hours on Wednesday.

Djokovic breezed into a 3-0 lead in an opening set he served out to love after breaking for a second time, returning majestically as he dominated the Australian.

The 20-time grand slam champion needed just the one early break in the second set as he served superbly and was ruthless at the net, while also bossing rallies from the back of the court.

World number three Djokovic was relentless as he broke twice in a one-sided third set before ending the match with a hold after saving the only break point he faced.

Six-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic will face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in round three at the All England Club.

Data slam: Djokovic near flawless as he extends winning run to 23

That is 23 wins in a row at the grass-court grand slam for three-time defending champion Djokovic.

The tournament favourite dropped a set in his win over Kwon Soon-woo on Monday, but barely put a foot wrong two days later.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 29/14
Kokkinakis – 31/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 1/3
Kokkinakis – 11/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 5/13
Kokkinakis – 0/1

Daniil Medvedev was defeated on his ATP Tour return at the Geneva Open by a sparkling Richard Gasquet, a blow to the Russian ahead of the French Open

World number two Medvedev was making his first appearance since March after undergoing a hernia operation and fell to a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) defeat.

The Russian's rustiness was clear in the last-16 tussle as he racked up seven double faults and struggled to make inroads on Gasquet's second serve, with the Frenchman winning 61 per cent of points behind it.

It was the first time Gasquet overcame an opponent ranked in the top two since beating Roger Federer at the 2005 Monte Carlo Masters.

Next up for Gasquet will be Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

At the last-32 stage, Fabio Fognini went down 6-4 6-3 to Thanasi Kokkinakis and Albert Ramos-Vinolas succumbed to a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 loss against Christopher O'Connell.

Johan Nikles, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Joao Sousa also advanced to the second round.

Top seed Cameron Norrie cruised into the quarter-finals of the Lyon Open by beating Francisco Cerundolo 6-4 6-4.

The Briton will face another Argentinian next in the form of Sebastian Baez, who came from a set down to beat Oscar Otte 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

Alex De Minaur also had to rally for a 1-6 6-3 6-2 win against Ugo Humbert, with Yosuke Watanuki awaiting in the last eight after the world number 263 beat Soonwoo Kwon 6-3 6-4.

Emerging Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz continued his rise with a 7-5 6-3 upset of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the Miami Masters quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old, who reached last year's US Open final eight after beating Tsitsipas in the third round, proved too good again for the Greek in one hour and 50 minutes.

Alcaraz reached last week's Indian Wells semi-finals and is now 15-2 on the season, with the win setting up a clash with Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic who upset last week's Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz 3-6 6-1 6-4.

Tsitsipas broke the Spaniard in the sixth game and led 5-2 before Alcaraz reeled off seven straight games to sensationally take the first set.

Alcaraz surged ahead in the second set, with his defence and speed leaving Tsitsipas short on answers.

The Spaniard, who saved seven of eight break points throughout the match, converted his fourth match point for victory.

"It was really, really tough. He was playing unbelievable," Alcaraz said after the match. "All I can say is I fought until the last ball in the first set [to] come back."

Ninth seed Jannik Sinner won 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 over enigmatic Australian Nick Kyrgios, who had a furious outburst directed at umpire Carlos Bernardes.

The Australian was heard to label Bernardes "an absolute clown" and continued to berate the umpire late in the first set, leading to a code violation and two penalties.

Kyrgios completely lost his cool, demanding to speak to a tournament official before smashing his racquet early in the second set, leading to a game penalty as well.

Sinner will next take on Argentine Francisco Cerundolo after he defeated 28th seed Francis Tiafoe lost 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Top seed Daniil Medvedev made light work of Jenson Brooksby 7-5 6-1 to set up a quarter-final showdown with reigning champion Hubert Hurkacz who won 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 over Lloyd Harris. Medvedev will return to the top of the ATP rankings if he wins their quarter-final.

Second seed Alexander Zverev got past Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-4 and will meet sixth seed Casper Ruud in the last eight, after the Norwegian won 6-3 6-4 over Briton Cameron Norrie.

Nick Kyrgios declared he and Thanasi Kokkinakis created "the best atmosphere this tournament's ever seen" as they powered to Australian Open doubles final glory.

But within minutes of the duo sealing their 7-5 6-4 win over fellow Australians Max Purcell and Matt Ebden, Purcell questioned whether the raucous crowds might in fact be a turn-off for tennis fans around the world.

After a victory that Kyrgios ranked as the highlight of his career and Kokkinakis labelled "f****** nuts", the wildcard pair were singing their own praises almost as loudly as the Rod Laver Arena had been roaring them on to victory.

Kyrgios, who will never need to hire a hype man, led the cheerleading, before announcing he would not be playing the French Open and ruling out a doubles reunion with Kokkinakis at Wimbledon. They could pair up again at the US Open, however, and potentially for the ATP Finals at the end of the year.

"The dedication I showed all week and from my team, I'm super proud of myself," Kyrgios said. "I could have not really cared too much after I lost [in singles] to [Daniil] Medvedev, but doing it with 'Kokk' is insane and this ranks one for me.

"I feel like a completely different person. I'm just happy. I've gone about it the right way.

"This is a memory we're never going to forget. We're going to grow old and always remember the time we rolled off the couch and won the Aus Open, honestly. It's crazy. I've won some titles in singles, but this one ranks top for some reason."

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis became the first Australian pair to carry off this title since Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge in 1997.

The great Laver himself endorsed the new champions, sending a message of congratulations on Twitter, suggesting their appeal goes far beyond the young generation.

"I would say we've created probably the best atmosphere this tournament's ever seen, to be brutally honest with you," Kyrgios said.

He claimed that verdict had the support of Robert Barty, the father of women's singles champion Ash Barty.

"Ash's father came to us and said the crowd was the best he's ever seen," said 26-year-old Kyrgios. "Obviously Ash is a hell of a player, but I think the ratings speak for themselves.

"People watch my matches. Everywhere I play around the world, the stadiums are full for that reason. There's a reason why the ratings are the way they are and people are glued to the TV when we play. It speaks for itself really."

Kokkinakis, 25, won a singles title in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open, and is fighting back from injuries that have stifled his progress in the game.

"Nick, I love you brother," Kokkinakis said. "I can honestly say we did not expect to even come close to this.

"It's been a rough couple of years for me personally, but what a month we've had. Coming into the Aussie Open I was already happy and this is a crazy cherry on top.

"Adelaide was number one for me, but this has trumped it. To be a grand slam champion with my boy. We've known each other since we were eight or nine years old and have done some serious things together, had some serious experiences, but this is incredible, we didn't expect this at all."

The crowds at Melbourne Park for Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have been noisy to the point of rowdy at times, with Kyrgios being described as "an absolute k***" by Michael Venus after the New Zealander and German Tim Putz lost to the Special Ks in the quarter-finals. Venus felt the atmosphere was like "a circus" and accused the Australians of stoking it beyond the point of acceptability.

Beaten finalist Purcell said he and Ebden were given a relatively easy ride, and thanked the Australian public for coming out to show their support.

But after an exuberant spectator was asked to leave the stadium late in the final, Purcell also said: "They seem like the naughtiest crowd I've ever played in front of. Even Thanasi and Nick were getting a little angry out there.

"There's a line where you don't want to cross. You don't want people to be thrown out, so if people are doing that they're obviously not doing the right thing and respecting the players.

"I think it was great for ticket sales here, but I'm not sure how it was taken overseas. If you were watching some of Nick and Thanasi's matches earlier in the week, and you were overseas, maybe you get turned off tennis a little bit."

Nick Kyrgios and Thanaki Kokkinakis completed their Melbourne mission as they were crowned Australian Open doubles champions on Rod Laver Arena.

The Special Ks partnership, who have drawn huge crowds and fresh interest to doubles, sealed the title with a 7-5 6-4 win over fellow Australians Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden.

It was approaching midnight on a special day for Australian tennis when Kyrgios and Kokkinakis got over the line, following women's singles queen Ash Barty onto the roll call of this year's champions.

With one break of serve in each set, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis held firm behind their own games as the singles specialists showcased their precocious skills on the doubles court.

Kyrgios served for the win in style, firing two aces in a row before Kokkinakis put away a volley on match point.

The new champions forced the only break of the first set in the 11th game when Ebden volleyed into the net off the return of serve from Kokkinakis, who was then the chief aggressor as he and Kyrgios secured a break in the seventh game of the second set.

Kyrgios has never been beyond the quarter-finals of a singles slam, reaching that stage at Wimbledon as a teenager in 2014 before doing likewise at the 2015 Australian Open.

His redoubtable talent has not been backed up by the trophies many expected him to win, and he will have turned 27 by the time the next major, the French Open, begins in late May.

Together with Kokkinakis, whose own promising career has been blighted by injuries, Kyrgios has thrived this fortnight. And although the prize money in doubles pales against the singles rewards on offer, a first taste of grand slam glory could be a major career spark for this pair.

They were the wildest of wildcards, with Kyrgios criticised by Michael Venus, a New Zealander left in his wake in the quarter-finals, for his showboating style and geeing up of the crowd.

"It felt like a circus out there and not really a tennis match," complained Venus, speaking to New Zealand channel 1News. Any doubles partnership featuring the combustible Kyrgios is likely to be an acquired taste.

This time, though, it felt like a party, with Ebden saying he was "really, really impressed" by Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, and Purcell said it was "hell of fun to watch you guys play".

Australia Day was on Wednesday, but Saturday felt like an extended celebration.

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis' dream run in the Australian Open men's doubles continued, reaching the final on Thursday.

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis stunned third seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in their semi-final on Rod Laver Arena.

The talented duo have beaten four seeded pairs on their way to the decider, where Australians Matt Ebden and Max Purcell await.

For the first time since 1980, it will be an all-Australian final in the men's doubles at the year's opening grand slam.

Dubbed the 'Special Ks', the pair took a tough first-set tie-break before being pulled back after leading the second set 4-1.

But Kyrgios and Kokkinakis sealed their win when the latter delivered a wonderful lob, sparking their celebrations in front of a strong Rod Laver Arena crowd.

Ebden and Purcell upset second seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram 6-3 7-6 (11-9) in the other semi-final.

Nick Kyrgios is hoping to inspire the next generation of tennis stars after taking centre stage at the Australian Open with his run to the men's doubles semi-finals.

The 26-year-old fan favourite and partner Thanasi Kokkinakis downed sixth seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus 7-5 3-6 6-3 in Tuesday's quarter-final clash.

The contest was watched by a lively crowd on Kia Arena and overshadowed Rafael Nadal's five-set win over Denis Shapovalov on Rod Laver Arena at the same time.

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, who were given a wildcard into the draw after being knocked out of the singles early on, will now face Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.

"I'm not finished – I want to win this f****** thing," Kyrgios declared in his on-court interview. "We know what we do well and it's world-class. 

"That's what we'll do again. I just want to play and give the people of Australia a show and genuinely grow the sport of tennis."

Kyrgios showed his caring side early in the match when handing a racket to a fan in the crowd after accidentally hitting the youngster with one of Kokkinakis' faulted balls.

The Australian public have embraced the pair's deep run in the competition and Kyrgios, often a controversial character, is glad to see so many younger spectators watching on.

"There is no way around it; me and Thanasi are definitely role models to the youth in Australia. We obviously attract that crowd," he said at his post-match news conference.

"I know that over the years I haven't been the best role model, but I was just learning how to deal with everything. 

"I think now at 26 I have matured, and I've definitely realised that a lot of young kids and people, even people that are low on confidence, they do look towards us.

"We are not special people. We're normal humans that you might see walking in Australia, and we are now in the semi-finals of a grand slam.

"I feel like I think we are just relatable. I think that's what's the best thing about it. They go out and get behind their mates. Most of the guys in the crowd are our mates.

"You've got Roger Federer and these guys that are just once-a-generation athletes. I can't be like that. We're not like that. I feel it has to be people that are a bit more relatable."

The Aussie pair's next opponents Granollers and Zeballos have won six tour-level titles as a team, but have never gone all the way at a grand slam.

Kokkinakis is hoping to have similar backing from the expectant home fans on Thursday.

Asked about the support he and his doubles partner have received so far, Kokkinakis said: "The rowdier the better. Sink p*** and come here.

"The next guys are experienced veterans, but we're going to keep playing how we play, have fun and enjoy the crowd."

Thanasi Kokkinakis fought back from a set down to beat Arthur Rinderknech and claim a maiden ATP Tour title at the Adelaide International 2 in his hometown.

Kokkinakis was beaten by Gael Monfils in the semi-final of the Adelaide International 1 last weekend, but the 25-year-old got his hands on the trophy on Saturday after a 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win.

The Australian saved two match points in a semi-final defeat of Marin Cilic and showed his fight again to deny Rinderknech a first title.

Kokkinakis has had a tough time with injuries since rising to a career-high ranking 69 as a teenager in 2015, but he has shown what he is capable of early in the season ahead of the Australian Open.

There were no break point in the first two sets, but Frenchman Rinderknech failed to hold twice in the decider on a special day for Kokkinakis.

Kokkinakis said: "I wouldn't want to win my first title anywhere else. To my family, friends and coaches, what a ride it's been. You have seen me at my lowest lows and now the highest high. It's been a serious journey. For now, I am so happy.

"I've been playing and practising on this court since I was eight or nine years old, coming here before school every day. I love this court so much."

Kokkinakis will play qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the first round of his home grand slam next week, while Rinderknech takes on Alexei Popyrin at Melbourne Park.

Andy Murray strode through to the semi-finals at the Sydney Classic after opponent David Goffin was forced to retire with an injury.

Murray won the opening set 6-2 before eighth seed Goffin, who had been receiving treatment on his knee, determined he could no longer continue.

It is the first time the 34-year-old Murray has reached a semi-final on the ATP Tour since winning the European Open title in October 2019.

Though not ideal circumstances, Murray will at least be glad of the extra rest after his three-hour encounter with world number 23 Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round. The Scot has also been drawn to play Basilashvili in the first round of the Australian Open.

Murray will face Reilly Opelka in the last four in Sydney after the American beat compatriot Brandon Nakashima 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to advance.

Top seed Aslan Karatsev was made to work for his win against Italy's Lorenzo Sonego but secured a 6-3 3-6 6-2 victory to book his semi-final place against Briton Dan Evans, who defeated American Maxime Cressy 6-4 7-6 (7-5). Cressy reached the final of the Melbourne Summer Set tournament last week.

At the Adelaide International 2 event, third seed Karen Khachanov tumbled out after losing in straight sets to Arthur Rinderknech, the Frenchman coming through a 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 winner.

Rinderknech will face compatriot Corentin Moutet in the semi-finals after the qualifier overcame Thiago Monteiro 6-4 6-4.

Fourth seed Marin Cilic battled to beat American Tommy Paul 6-4 2-6 6-3, and a test awaits against Thanasi Kokkinakis who defeated fellow Australian Aleksandar Vukic 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2.

Andy Murray swept through his opening test at the Sydney Classic as the wildcard grabbed his first win of the year.

Murray sped to a 6-3 6-1 victory over Norwegian Viktor Durasovic, a player ranked a lowly 345th by the ATP who won through two qualifying rounds to reach the main draw.

The Scot broke four times across the contest and won 25 of 26 points when landing a first serve, an encouraging rate. Realistically, anything other than a comfortable win for the former world number one would have been concerning ahead of the Australian Open.

Murray at least put last week's disappointing first-round loss to Facundo Bagnis at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament behind him, and now a stiff tests await him in the last-16 stage.

Georgian second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili is next for Murray on Wednesday, with the world number 23 a familiar foe after these two met in the first round at Wimbledon last July.

On that occasion, Murray won in four sets following a desperate wobble in the third, which he lost from 5-0 ahead.

Five times an Australian Open finalist, Murray believes limbering up this week in Sydney can set him up well for the season's first grand slam.

"It is perfect conditions here," Murray said. "It feels like you are playing indoors. It is really nice to get your range here, and hopefully I can carry that through to Melbourne.

"I was hoping to get matches in Melbourne last week, but that didn't happen. Thankfully the tournament organisers and Tennis Australia agreed to give me the wildcard and the opportunity to play here, and I am very grateful for that."

Tuesday also saw a win for Maxime Cressy, the American serve-volleyer who caused a stir with his run to last week's final in Melbourne before pushing eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the title match.

Cressy, who was born in Paris, is a throwback in an era dominated by baseliners, and his game again came good as he saw off Adrian Mannarino 6-3 7-5. Dusan Lajovic awaits him in round two after the Serbian beat Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

At the Adelaide International 2 tournament, South African fifth seed Lloyd Harris made a first-round exit, losing 5-7 7-5 6-4 to Soonwoo Kwon.

There was another positive performance from Adelaide's own Thanasi Kokkinakis, who swatted away Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4 6-0 to tee up a second-round shot at American second seed John Isner.

Kokkinakis, a once-bright young prospect who is finding his way again on tour after injury trouble, reached the semi-finals of last week's Adelaide tournament and is eyeing another run in South Australia before heading to Melbourne.

"After a good run last week, I was pretty knackered – I'm not going to lie," Kokkinakis said, quoted in The Australian. "But I thought another one in my hometown was a perfect situation.

"It was kind of a win-win for me almost. If I won, perfect, I get more matches. If not, I get to Melbourne and get to prepare for Aussie Open, but I'm stoked with the win."

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.

Ricardas Berankis will face Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Melbourne Summer Set after beating Marcos Giron on Wednesday.

Nadal made his return after a five-month absence due to injury when he and fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar beat Sebastian Baez and Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3 3-6 10-4 in a doubles match in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The 20-time grand slam champion will be back in singles action against Berankis at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday after the Lithuanian qualifier dispatched American Giron 7-5 6-4.

Fifth seed Benoit Paire was trailing 4-6 6-3 5-2 to Henri Laaksonen when the Frenchman retired from the contest.

Alexei Popyrin and Jordan Thompson advanced on home soil, beating Stefano Travaglia 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 and Christopher O'Connell 1-6 7-5 6-4 respectively.

Munar beat towering South African Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-4, while Emil Ruusuvuori, Alex Molcan and Maxime Cressy also made it through.

Marin Cilic racked up the 550th victory of his career at the Adelaide International 1, defeating Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Third seed Cilic will now come up against Laslo Djere, who was level at one set apiece with Corentin Moutet when the Frenchman was disqualified after reportedly swearing at the umpire.

Thanasi Kokkinakis fought back to oust Frances Tiafoe in the final match of the day, the Australian wild card winning 3-6 7-5 6-1.

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