Former world number 17 Cristian Garin was beaten 6-4 7-5 by Federico Coria in the first round of the Austrian Open in Kitzbuhel, while Matteo Berrettini and defending champion Casper Ruud withdrew from the tournament.

2017 runner-up Joao Sousa cruised past Vit Kopriva 6-1 7-5 and Jurij Rodionov set up a Round of 16 meeting with third seed Roberto Bautista Agut with a straight-sets victory over Hernan Casanova.

Dominic Thiem, who won the 2019 edition of the competition, will face Alexander Shevchenko tomorrow while Richard Gasquet will take on Sebastian Ofner.

2016 Croatia Open winner Fabio Fognini will not be regaining his title in Umag this year, after the seventh seed was knocked out by Colombian Daniel Galan in a 3-6 7-5 3-6 defeat.

Galan will play Giulio Zeppieri in the next round, who came from one set down to overcome world number 90 Pedro Cachin 3-6 6-1 6-4.

Fifth seed Alex Molcan plays his first game tomorrow against Duje Adjukovic, and sixth seed Daniel Altmaier will take on French 23-year-old Corentin Moutet.

Casper Ruud retained his Geneva Open title with a hard-fought defeat of Joao Sousa on Saturday.

Ruud had to dig deep in the deciding set, breaking Sousa when the Portuguese was serving for the title at 5-4, before going on to win 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 7-6 (7-1).

The world number nine has now won six of his last seven ATP 250 events on clay, and is the first player since Stan Wawrinka (2016 and 2017) to win more than one Geneva Open title.

Ruud served five aces in the first set on his way to edging a tie-break, but a determined Sousa was able to level in a second set in which he won eight of 11 second-service points.

It looked like Sousa would cause an upset against the tournament's second seed when serving for the match, only for Ruud to break back and use that momentum to take the win.

The Norwegian made the semi-finals at the Internazionali d'Italia last week and maintained his momentum ahead of the French Open by lifting the trophy in Switzerland.

"It was one of the craziest matches that I have ever played," he said in his on-court interview. "It was a lot of up and down. Sousa was close to winning and then suddenly everything turns around and this is tennis.

"This win feels so good, but you have to give a lot of credit to Joao because he fought back from one set down and has been playing well all week.

"It was just a matter of one or two points today and luckily they went in my favour."

At the Lyon Open, it was Cameron Norrie who emerged triumphant as the Brit beat Alex Molcan 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-1.

Norrie – who was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year's final – was largely on top throughout, firing down six aces and boasting an impressive success rate of 72 per cent of first serve points won, while also saving five of seven break points against his Slovakian opponent.

The top seed could have won in straight sets, but was unable to convert two match points in the second before being forced to a decider by Molcan.

It is Norrie's second ATP title of the season and the fourth of his career. It is his first on clay as he prepares for the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros.

"It is my first title on the clay so it means a lot to me," Norrie said. "I can't be happier with how I handled everything this week. This one feels the best so far. I don't know why, it is just so special and I couldn't be happier and am really speechless right now. It was an incredible atmosphere. Thanks to everyone for coming out.

"I had chances to close the matches in straight sets this week and get it done easier than usual and it didn't go that way and I was able to let that go and respond. In the third set I moved really well and it is nice to get over the line."

Casper Ruud is one match away from successfully retaining his Geneva Open title, while Cameron Norrie has a shot at redemption in Lyon. 

World number nine Ruud was a 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 winner against Reilly Opelka on Friday, putting him on the brink of a second ATP Tour crown of the season and a sixth in his past seven ATP 250 events on clay. 

The Norwegian made the semi-finals at the Internazionali d'Italia last week and maintained his momentum ahead of the French Open. 

He converted the match's only breakpoint in the penultimate game and sealed the deal in the next, dropping just five of 46 points behind his first serve throughout.

Ruud will take on Joao Sousa – who was the runner-up to Thomaz Bellucci in Geneva seven years ago – in the final after the Portuguese defeated Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2. 

Norrie will also be hopeful of making up for a past final defeat after winning his last-four encounter with Holger Rune at the Lyon Open. 

The Briton was a set and a break up before Rune recovered to force a decider, which Norrie took for a 6-2 5-7 6-4 triumph in a little over two hours.

Norrie was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year's final but it is Alex Molcan who stands between him and the trophy this time around. 

Molcan, who is yet to win a Tour-level title, claimed an impressive victory 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over Alex de Minaur. 

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.

Joao Sousa won his first ATP Tour title since 2018 as he defeated Emil Ruusuvuori in the final of the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune on Sunday.

Ruusuvuori initially gave a good account of himself in his first final on the tour, but he was ultimately blown away in the final set as Sousa won 7-6 (11-9) 4-6 6-1.

After sealing the first set in a tense tie-break, Sousa appeared set to cruise to victory when an early break in the second had him 3-0 up.

But Ruusuvuori then won five games in a row at 4-1 down to fight back brilliantly and force a decider.

Sousa had too much for him in the end, however, an early break in the third set seeing momentum shift the 32-year-old's way and give him the boost he needed to claim a first title since winning on home soil in Estoril in May 2018.

Alexander Zverev will face Alexander Bublik in the Open Sud de France final after easing to victory over Mikael Ymer on Saturday.

The top seed is seeking a 20th tour-level title and has yet to drop a set in his three matches in Montpellier after beating Bublik 6-1 6-3.

Ymer eliminated Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet en route to the semi-finals, but the world number 83 struggled against Zverev in his third straight loss to the German. 

Zverev was triumphant in his last appearance in this tournament five years ago and is the strong favourite heading into Sunday's final with Bublik.

"I am in the final and I am happy about that," Zverev said in his on-court interview. "I played a pretty good match. I think I played one bad game in the whole match. 

"Overall I am happy to be in another final, playing against Alex who I have known since I was 12 years old, so hopefully it will be a fun match."

Bublik also claimed a routine win in his semi-final against Filip Krajinovic, the sixth seed prevailing 6-4 6-2 in a little over an hour.

The 24-year-old is through to his fifth ATP Tour final, having most recently gone all the way at the Singapore Open last February, where he lost to Alexei Popyrin.

At the Tata Open Maharashtra, Mikael's older brother Elias Ymer squandered three match points to lose 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 to Joao Sousa in Pune.

The Swedish qualifier had defied the odds to make it to the semi-finals and took the opening set against Sousa, before recovering from 4-1 down to level up the second set 4-4.

But Sousa edged the tie-break and survived three match points in the 10th game of the deciding set, which he would go on to win.

Sousa will face Emil Ruusuvuori in Sunday's final after the world number 87 overcame Kamil Majchrzak 6-3 7-6 (7-0) earlier in the day.

It marks the first tour final that Ruusuvuori has reached, while Sousa is in the hunt for a fourth title at this level.

Novak Djokovic has been labelled "selfish" by Joao Sousa for arriving at the Australian Open unvaccinated, but uncertainty still surrounds the Serbian's participation in the event. 

World number one Djokovic was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

The 20-time grand slam winner was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

Djokovic has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on January 17, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time.

Should the 34-year-old be given the green light to compete at Melbourne Park, however, world number 140 Sousa says it will not sit right with others taking part.

"I respect that he fights for what he believes and I can be empathetic with what he is going through in Australia," Sousa is quoted as saying by Portuguese outlet Bola Amarela.

"But it's a bit selfish from him to arrive here as the only player unvaccinated. It's tough for us players to accept that."

Djokovic has been widely criticised for appearing on social media to mingle with the public in a series of appearances after returning a positive COVID-19 test on December 16.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Djokovic accepted he had made "an error of judgement" going ahead with an interview with French publication L'Equipe around that time.

Franck Ramella, the French journalist who conducted the 33-minute interview while Djokovic was COVID-19 positive, confirmed the tennis star wore a mask the whole time.

A decision on whether Djokovic can defend the title he has won a record nine times could be made on Thursday, when the draw for the main tournament is scheduled to take place.

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. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.