Nick Kyrgios emerged triumphant in a dramatic five-set clash with Karen Khachanov despite struggling with a hamstring injury, booking a highly anticipated meeting with Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

After passing up match points in the third and fourth sets, home favourite Kyrgios came out on top in the longest match of his career by beating Khachanov 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) at a raucous Melbourne Arena in four hours, 26 minutes.

Top seed Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4 in one hour, 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, while US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-3 6-2 and will face Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.

The Swiss advanced after John Isner retired while 6-4 4-1 down, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Gael Monfils joining him in round round four.

 

CROCKED KYRGIOS CLINGS ON

Kyrgios started confidently against Khachanov and, despite taking a medical time-out at 5-2 up in the first set, managed to edge a second-set tie-break while continuing to grip at the back of his leg.

However, he was unable to repeat the trick at the second time of asking and became increasingly frustrated as the Russian wrested control of the match away from him.

Kyrgios appeared to be struggling for motivation at points and became increasingly vocal, but he hung in to take the victory to the delight of his fervent supporters.

The Australian has a strained relationship with Nadal, who he described as "salty" after their meeting at last year's Mexican Open and impersonated after being called for a time violation while serving against Gilles Simon in round two.

Asked about going up against the 19-time major champion in his on-court interview, Kyrgios said: "Whatever happened between us he's an amazing player. I'm not even thinking about that right now, I'm thinking about my legs and getting them in an ice bath and getting some food."

 

NO STOPPING NADAL

Nadal was at his imperious best against Carreno Busta, winning 87 per cent and 78 per cent of points behind his first and second serve respectively, while also smashing 41 winners – twice as many as his opponent.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt. Big difference between today and the previous days. I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand," said Nadal.

"Every day is a different story. But, of course, it's important to make steps forward. It's clear that today I made an important one."

Asked if he likes Kyrgios, Nadal said: "I don't know. I don't know him personally, honestly, to have a clear opinion."

 

RUBLEV ROLLS ON

Rublev started 2020 with titles at the Qatar Open and Brisbane International and has continued his fine form at Melbourne Park.

The world number 16's 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) triumph over David Goffin was his 15th match win in succession, four of which came in the Davis Cup Finals.

Rublev had wobbles after taking big leads in both tie-breaks, but Goffin made 27 unforced errors in the last two sets to help the Russian progress to a meeting with Zverev.

Seventh seed Zverev is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park after overcoming Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-2 6-4.

 

"IT'S A DISGRACE"

After beating qualifier Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 to set up a fourth-round meeting with Dominic Thiem – who overcame 29th seed Taylor Fritz 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 – Monfils refuted a report claiming excessively playing video games led to him suffering a hand injury.

"You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

"I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

"I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

Gael Monfils refuted a report claiming too much PlayStation was behind a hand injury after the French 10th seed progressed at the Australian Open.  

Monfils showed no sign of injury as he moved through to the fourth round at Melbourne Park thanks to Saturday's 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 victory over qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

Afterwards, Monfils was asked about his hand and fitness following a report citing video games, and the 33-year-old entertainer took aim at the media.

"You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

"I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

"I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

Monfils will face fifth seed Dominic Thiem for a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals for the second time in his career.

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev booked their spots in the Australian Open third round, while Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka also progressed.

Nadal remained on track in his bid to win a 20th grand slam title despite wasting chances against Federico Delbonis in Melbourne on Thursday.

The seeds have been relatively untroubled in the opening rounds in Australia, and they are on a collision course heading into the end of the first week and into the second.

Medvedev, Zverev and Wawrinka were also among the winners in the top half of the draw.

 

NADAL BATTLES INTO ALL-SPANISH THIRD-ROUND CLASH

Nadal converted just three of 20 break points to overcome Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-1.

The Spanish star was wasteful before winning in two hours, 30 minutes, while he apologetically kissed a ball girl after striking her with a wayward forehand late in the victory.

Awaiting Nadal is Pablo Carreno Busta, the 27th seed having got past German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-4.

Nadal has won his previous four meetings with Carreno Busta.

 

MEDVEDEV, ZVEREV AND WAWRINKA ADVANCE

Runner-up to Nadal at last year's US Open, fourth seed Medvedev was too strong for Spain's Pedro Martinez as he won 7-5 6-1 6-3.

Another member of the 'Next Gen', Zverev got the job done against Egor Gerasimov, winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-5.

Zverev will meet Fernando Verdasco after the Spanish veteran upset 26th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets.

Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, was pushed hard by Andreas Seppi, but the Swiss made it 10 wins in 14 meetings with the Italian veteran, securing a 4-6 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory.

John Isner awaits Wawrinka after the American served 32 aces in a 6-4 6-3 6-3 win against Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo.

Dominic Thiem (fifth seed) and David Goffin (11th) were pushed to five sets before overcoming Alex Bolt and Pierre-Hugues Herbert respectively.

 

KYRGIOS, KHACHANOV SET UP CINCINNATI REMATCH

Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov were both tested before setting up a third-round clash.

Kyrgios got past Gilles Simon 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5, while Khachanov needed four hours, 34 minutes to edge Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8).

Khachanov won his previous meeting with Kyrgios in Cincinnati last year, but it was a clash best remembered for the Australian's outburst at umpire Fergus Murphy that resulted in a 16-week suspended ban and fine.

Gael Monfils, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz were among the other seeds to win through on Thursday.

Rafael Nadal battled past fan favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to take his place in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.

Tsonga had displayed fine form in Paris heading into Friday's encounter, but Nadal, who is still yet to win the ATP 1000 event, had too much quality after making the breakthrough in a hard-fought first set.

While Nadal laboured at times, Novak Djokovic, who will relinquish his number one status to the Spaniard next week, had no such issues as he confidently dispatched Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini – who was sent out by Tsonga in the last 32 – clinched the last remaining ATP Finals spot thanks to Denis Shapovalov's straight sets victory over Gael Monfils.

NADAL DIGS DEEP

Nadal twice had to serve to stay in the first set, but having forced the tie-break, a wonderful backhand pass paved the way for him to forge ahead.

With the serve dominating throughout set one, it was Tsonga who blinked first in the second – Nadal taking full advantage of two sloppy shots to secure a first break of the match.

Soon-to-be world number one Nadal had finally hit his stride, playing a sublime through-the-legs shot to further drain Tsonga's confidence.

Despite showing resilience to hold, Tsonga was soon a double-break down, with Nadal wrapping up a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 win when his opponent sent a desperate backhand return into the net.

 

DOMINANT DJOKOVIC HITS TOP GEAR

After struggling with illness in his opening matches, Djokovic was at his irresistible, untouchable best against Tsitsipas, who had no response to lose inside an hour.

A double break early in set one set the tone for Djokovic, who had the opener tied up in his favour inside 29 minutes.

Djokovic took just a minute longer to finish off set two, two more breaks ending any slim hopes of a Tsitsipas comeback before an overhit return from the Greek sealed his progression by an emphatic 6-1 6-2 scoreline.

 

BERRETTINI COMPLETES LONDON FIELD

With defending ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev having claimed his spot at the O2 earlier in the week, there was one place up for grabs heading into Friday's play.

The permutations were simple, with Monfils – ranked 10th in the Race for London – needing a win to take the place of Berrettini.

However, the French number one came unstuck in some style against Shapovalov, who cruised to a 6-2 6-2 triumph, and Berrettini now completes the top eight, alongside Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Tsitsipas and Zverev.

 

DIMITROV SWAPS HALLOWEEN TRICKS FOR SEMI-FINAL TREAT

Having already knocked out Thiem, Dimitrov claimed his spot in the last four with a 6-2 7-5 triumph over Cristian Garin, ending an 18-month wait to make a semi-final at ATP 1000 level.

The Bulgarian may have had to give up his Halloween celebrations, but it was a small price to pay.

"[A fantastic week] so far, I've skipped Halloween but it's a better place to be, here on centre court," Dimitrov told Tennis TV.

Halloween may have passed, yet the world number 27 now faces the scary prospect of going up against Djokovic for a place in the final.

Novak Djokovic may have sounded croaky but the four-time Paris Masters champion stayed in the hunt for another triumph in the French capital.

A 7-6 (9-7) 6-1 victory over Great Britain's Kyle Edmund carried the Serbian through to a tough-looking quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Greek youngster Tsitsipas was a 6-3 6-4 winner against Australian Alex de Minaur, while Rafael Nadal dug deep for a gritty 6-4 6-4 win over Stan Wawrinka.

Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev were significant casualties, as the fifth and sixth seeds suffered respective defeats to Grigor Dimitrov and Denis Shapovalov.

And there was plenty of French joy, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils thrilled the home crowds with dramatic three-set victories.

Djokovic eyes revenge

Djokovic lost to Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters in October but will fancy his chances of avenging that loss on Friday.

Despite his voice sounding far from healthy, Djokovic is feeling better after battling illness this week, and he is positive about the state of his game.

"The second set was the best set I've played so far in the tournament," Djokovic said, according to the ATP website. "Finished off with a winner, finished off with amazing return game. So, of course, the sensation is very positive. And I'm convinced that I'm headed in the right direction so that tomorrow will be even better."

The 32-year-old hopes to end the year at number one in the world rankings for the sixth time, even though Nadal is certain to be in pole position heading into the ATP Finals in London.

 

Tsonga next for Nadal

Nadal was not at his best against Wawrinka, yet he still extended his dominance over the Swiss three-time grand slam winner with a 19th win in their 22nd meeting.

He took two of the three break points he engineered to stay in the hunt for a first Paris Masters title. Given his immense success elsewhere - his 35 Masters 1000 titles is a record and he has landed 12 French Open titles - Nadal's limited success in Paris is a shortcoming he will be eager to address.

He should have enough for Tsonga on Friday, but the veteran Frenchman has come out punching this week and is beginning to look like the player who was a top-10 fixture for so long.

Tsonga landed a 2-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff and said: "When you play the best, it's always beneficial and it's not important whether you win or lose.

"When you play Rafa in the first round, it's a problem. If you play Rafa in the quarter-finals, it's normal. Of course, it's better for me to meet Rafa in quarter-finals after having played a few matches rather than during the first round."

Monfils keeps ATP Finals hopes alive

There is one place to fill at the season-ending ATP Finals, and Monfils is desperate to sustain his run this week to stay in contention.

After a 4-6 6-4 6-1 win against Romanian Radu Albot, the 33-year-old Parisian is on the brink but still not quite there and must see off Shapovalov to earn his ticket to London ahead of Matteo Berrettini.

Given Shapovalov's 6-2 5-7 6-2 win against Alexander Zverev, that could be a tall order for Monfils, whose French compatriot Jeremy Chardy could not boost the home contingent in the final eight, going down 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in a nail-biting thriller against Chilean Cristian Garin.

Despite the defeat, Zverev is certain to be involved in the English capital after sealing his spot on Wednesday.

Alexander Zverev qualified for the ATP Finals when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Matteo Berrettini, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached the third round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

Zverev will return to London to defend his title next month and Berrettini is in danger of missing out after he was beaten 6-4 6-3 by home favourite Tsonga.

Tsonga's compatriot Gael Monfils remained in contention for the eighth and final place in the season-ending showpiece by winning an all-French encounter with Benoit Paire 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman can no longer qualify for the tournament at the O2 Arena after they bowed out in the French capital on day three.

Djokovic and Nadal, vying to end the year at the top of the rankings, beat Corentin Moutet and Adrian Mannarino respectively in straight sets.

 

 

FOUR STILL STANDING IN HUNT FOR FINAL LONDON SPOT

Berrettini, Monfils, Stan Wawrinka and Alex de Minaur are the remaining contenders to join Zverev in London.

Italian Berrettini's fate is out of his hands following his exit, with Monfils, Wawrinka and De Minaur able to overtake him by winning the title this weekend.

Monfils will meet Radu Albot in the third round, while Wawrinka faces a huge battle with Nadal following a straight-sets win over Marin Cilic and De Minaur dumped out Bautista Agut, setting up a showdown with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

NADAL SERVE LAYS FOUNDATION FOR WINNING RETURN

Second seed Nadal did not face a break point in his first main-draw match since winning the US Open.

The 19-time time major champion, who will end the season as world number one if he wins the tournament for the first time, was pleased with his return to action 10 days after marrying long-time girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello

"[I'm very happy with the way that I served." said the Spaniard, who beat Mannarino 7-5 6-4. "I didn't face a break point during the whole match, and against a player who returns well. So that means a lot. Feelings are good. To be back in this court is always special."

 

DJOKOVIC CONTENT TO 'FIND A WAY'

Djokovic knows he slipped below his usual high standards in a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over lucky loser Moutet but was simply happy to progress given he has not been feeling at his best.

"I didn't feel health-wise 100 per cent in the last couple of days, but it is what it is. It's not the first time I didn't play at a really high level. Lots of errors, especially in the first set," said the Serb, who saved two set points in the opening set and will face Kyle Edmund in the third round.

"First time against a young player who is talented, very quick. Returns a lot of balls back that usually other guys wouldn't get, he gets it. And he was pumped, and I respect his fighting spirit. It was a good match in the end, and I found a way to win, which in [these] circumstances... when you're not feeling your best, is important."

Dominic Thiem reached his third ATP Tour final in as many months with a battling victory over Matteo Berrettini at the Vienna Open.

Home hope Thiem, a recent winner at the Generali Open and China Open, avenged his Shanghai Masters loss to Berrettini by coming from behind to triumph 3-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 33 minutes.

Thiem, the top seed, will meet Diego Schwartzman in Sunday's final at the ATP 500 event, having made it to the showpiece match at this tournament for the first time in his 10th attempt.

After benefiting from Pablo Carreno Busta's retirement on Friday, the Austrian's task was not as straightforward in his semi-final against the third-seeded Italian, who had beaten him in the last eight in Shanghai a fortnight ago.

He dropped the first set after an energetic Berrettini broke three times.

But Berrettini's 28-match run of winning matches after claiming the first set came to an end amid a superb atmosphere.

After the pair exchanged breaks, Thiem made the decisive breakthrough to move 6-5 up in the second set before holding comfortably, levelling the match with a forehand up the line.

Thiem had won 10 of his previous 12 deciding sets this season and stretched that to a Tour-leading mark of 11 by breaking twice to race away with the third set, sealing victory with a backhand winner down the line on his second match point.

Despite Saturday's loss, Berrettini will reach the top 10 of the world rankings on Monday after his exploits this week and has boosted his hopes of joining Thiem in qualifying for the ATP Finals.

The second semi-final contained two players also hoping to reach London, as Schwartzman claimed a comfortable victory over Gael Monfils.

Argentine Schwartzman broke twice in each set to win 6-3 6-2 in 75 minutes, securing the win and a third final appearance of 2019 when Monfils fired a backhand long on his first match point.

Matteo Berrettini gave his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals a huge shot in the arm, while Dominic Thiem benefitted from Pablo Carreno Busta's withdrawal at the Vienna Open.

Italian Berrettini ended Andrey Rublev's seven-match winning streak with a hard-earned 7-5 7-6 (7-4) triumph in Austria to book a semi-final berth.

Berrettini, who will break into the world's top 10 on Monday, is eighth in the race for a place at the end-of-season tournament in London and is 130 points clear of Roberto Bautista Agut – a last-eight loser to Reilly Opelka in Basle.

Austrian home favourite Thiem, aiming to win this tournament for the first time, will be next up for Berrettini in the last four.

World number five Thiem was leading 5-0 against Carreno Busta when the Spaniard was forced to retire.

Diego Schwartzman still has an outside chance of reaching London himself and recovered from falling 3-0 behind in the first set to defeat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (8-6) 6-2.

The Argentinian plays Gael Monfils for a spot in the final after the Frenchman earned a convincing 7-5 6-1 triumph over Aljaz Bedene. 

Monfils moves into the top 10 in the race to London, as the battle for places in the English capital heats up.

Dominic Thiem ended his Fernando Verdasco hoodoo to reach the quarter-finals of the Vienna Open in his homeland.

Top seed Thiem had lost all four matches against the experienced Spaniard before coming from behind to secure a 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory on Thursday.

The world number five will face Pablo Carreno Busta in his 11th last-eight encounter of another impressive season after recovering from a poor start.

Verdasco charged into a 3-0 lead and did not face a break point in the first set, but Thiem won 97 per cent of points on serve in the second as he forced a decider.

Thiem dominated the final set, Verdasco winning just one point on the Austrian's serve to bow out in the second round.

Andrey Rublev's hopes of winning back-to-back titles are still alive after the Russian beat Hyeon Chung 6-4 6-2.

Rublev, winner of the Kremlin Cup on home soil last weekend, will take on Matteo Berrettini, while fourth seed Gael Monfils defeated teenage wildcard Jannik Sinner 6-3 7-6 (10-8).

Diego Schwartzman accounted for Sam Querrey with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) victory and Pablo Carreno Busta needed three sets to get past Mikhail Kukushkin, with Aljaz Bedene also advancing at the expense of Gilles Simon.

Andy Murray moved into the quarter-finals by beating Pablo Cuevas after the top three seeds crashed out of the European Open, while Fabio Fognini was dumped out in Stockholm on Thursday.

Murray produced another encouraging performance in Antwerp, reaching the last eight of a singles tournament for the second time since returning to the ATP Tour following a hip resurfacing operation in January.

The former world number one saw off eighth seed Cuevas 6-4 6-3 after saving all four break points he faced, winning 82 per cent of points on his first serve and 74 per cent behind his second.

Murrray started strongly and dominated from the back of the court, finishing Cuevas off with back-to-back aces to ensure he will take on Marius Copil.

Copil ousted Diego Schwartzman 6-4 5-7 7-6 (9-7), while top seed Gael Monfils went down 6-3 6-2 to 18-year-old Italian outsider Jannik Sinner and David Goffin, the second seed, was thumped 6-3 6-1 by Ugo Humbert in his homeland.

Jan-Lennard Struff was another seed to fall in the second round, losing 6-3 6-4 to Frances Tiafoe.

Janko Tipsarevic's retirement will have to wait until another day after he hammered ATP Finals contender Fognini 6-1 6-1 to move into the quarter-finals of the Stockholm Open.

Tipsarevic lost just four points on his first serve and will take on lucky loser Yuichi Sugita, who beat Stefano Travaglia in straight sets.

Fourth seed Denis Shapovalov got the better of Alexei Popyrin 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the Swedish capital, with Pablo Carreno Busta and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe also victorious.

Marin Cilic beat fellow Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-1 7-6 (7-5) to book a Kremlin Cup quarter-final showdown with Jeremy Chardy, who came out on top against Miomir Kecmanovic.

Andrey Rublev and lucky loser Nikola Milojevic came through their second-round matches versus Egor Gerasimov and Alen Avidzba respectively in Moscow.

Roberto Bautista Agut maintained his 100 per cent record against Andreas Seppi as he cruised into the semi-finals of the Zhuhai Open on Friday.

The Spaniard made it four straight wins against Seppi, with the 6-2 6-2 result not just securing a place in the last four of the tournament but also strengthening his bid to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals.

"My game is getting better and that's why I'm climbing in the ATP Rankings," the world number 10 told the ATP Tour website after triumphing in one hour and 19 minutes.

Bautista Agut is joined in the semis by compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who knocked out third seed Gael Monfils 7-5 6-4 to set up a clash with Adrian Mannarino - a 6-1 6-4 winner over Damir Dzumhur.

Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur came through via a deciding set for a second successive outing. Having battled back to knock out Andy Murray in the previous round, the seventh-seeded Australian triumphed 6-2 4-6 6-4 against fourth seed Borna Coric. His reward is a showdown with Bautista Agut on Saturday.

At the Chengdu Open, Alexander Bublik battled back from the brink of defeat to upset Grigor Dimitrov, denying the fourth seed a 300th career win.

Bublik - who served 35 aces - saved two match points in the tie-break to decide the second set before eventually going on to triumph 5-7 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3). 

Next up will be South African lucky loser Lloyd Harris, who made it through to a maiden semi-final on the ATP Tour courtesy of a three-set victory over Joao Sousa.

The other side of the draw will see eighth seed Denis Shapovalov take on Pablo Carreno Busta, the pair recording respective triumphs over Egor Gerasimov and Cristian Garin in their quarter-final ties.

Matteo Berrettini revealed the occasion of playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium left him checking his heartbeat during his epic quarter-final win over Gael Monfils at the US Open.

Berrettini clinched a place in his first grand slam semi-final in a near four-hour battle with Monfils, winning the fifth set in a tie-break as he prevailed 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) on Wednesday.

The Italian's run to the last four follows an excellent Wimbledon campaign in which he reached the fourth round before losing to 20-time major champion Roger Federer.

Speaking in his post-match media conference, 24th seed Berrettini was asked to name the tournament he dreamed of winning as a child and replied: "I have to be honest -- I always said Wimbledon. There you feel something different, it's grass.

"This stadium [Arthur Ashe] is unbelievable. The feelings I had -- I was checking my heart beating during the match. I was, like, 'Oh, what's happening?' Then I said, 'Okay, it's normal. This is a football stadium. It's not like a tennis stadium'.

"I'm trying to keep going, and I'm dreaming, as well. Why not?"

While success in men's singles has been limited for Italian players, Berrettini has plenty of inspiration to draw from on the women's side of things.

Francesca Schiavone won the French Open in 2010 and Flavia Pennetta claimed an all-Italian US Open final with Roberta Vinci in 2015.

"I remember watching the finals here. I was in Italia playing a future in 2015. So four years ago," Berrettini added. 

"It was unbelievable, for them, for Italy. I remember President Giovanni Malago coming to watch the match.

"So for sure it was an inspiration. Francesca, as well. Sara [Errani]. They won -- I don't know. I forgot how many Fed Cups they won. For sure they showed us how to do it.

"I'm really looking forward to beating their records. Why not? I mean, I'm here. Actually Flavia texted me today. So she was really happy for me. She told me to keep going.

"It's good to have such good players behind you."

Gael Monfils may have been knocked out of the US Open, but his 2019 experience at Flushing Meadows is not over.

The Frenchman missed out on his second semi-final in New York, losing a gruelling five-set battle with Matteo Berrettini that went nearly four hours.

For most players, Wednesday's defeat would be a blow from which they would take a long time to recover.

At 33, however, Monfils has a healthy sense of perspective, and expressed his excitement at being able to cheer on girlfriend Elina Svitolina in her semi-final clash with Serena Williams on Thursday.

"I'm not a sore loser. I gave it my all today. I served bad, but I gave my heart," Monfils told a post-match media conference.

"The crowd was amazing. They pushed me. They helped me. It was fun. It was exactly what I play for.

"I wish I could win, but I love those matches no matter what. You know, I'm proud of myself, and, you know, I will be happy, I will be happy to cheer for my girlfriend tomorrow.

"Definitely if it can be one more day here, I'm on it."

In terms of how he can refocus on the court for the remainder of the season after the 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) defeat, Monfils believes he can draw on the experience of his 2014 quarter-final loss to Roger Federer at Flushing Meadows, when he had two match points against the Swiss legend.

"I've had tough ones in my career like that. Actually I have a tough one here in match point with Roger," he added.

"I know how to bounce back. Actually I played very good after that quarter that I lost in 2014 with Roger.

"I've got to take the positives of this almost two weeks and, you know, keep working hard and get back for the Asia swing."

Matteo Berrettini secured a place in his first grand slam semi-final as he came through a near four-hour epic to beat Gael Monfils 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) at the US Open.

Tennis has regularly been compared to boxing, with Andy Murray among those to draw that particular parallel. In the world of the sweet science, they say styles make fights, and there could hardly have been a greater contrast of approaches on show at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

The world's biggest tennis stadium bore witness to a classic between Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday and another followed in short order as power puncher Berrettini outgunned Monfils, who, in typically flamboyant fashion, ducked and weaved his way to a fifth-set tie-break, saving four match points, only to fall short under the weight of the relentless blows coming from the Italian.

Berrettini – whose previous best performance at a grand slam came at Wimbledon when he reached the fourth round – will now face either 18-time major winner Rafael Nadal or Diego Schwartzman in the last eight.

Thoughts of a semi-final with Nadal must have been the furthest thing from Berrettini's mind when he dropped the first set in just over half an hour.

Monfils did not face a break point in the opener and appeared in control when he broke early in the second, only to hand the break back with an error-strewn service game that ended with a volley into the net.

Berrettini and Monfils then each saved three break points to hold serve before the latter then cracked under more pressure from Berrettini, who struck for a 5-3 lead and sealed the second with an ace.

He carried the momentum into the third and secured an early break and withstood pressure from Monfils, sending down a ferocious ace to earn a crucial hold in the sixth game.

The roof on Ashe was then closed as rain began to fall, but the stoppage did not hinder Berrettini, who claimed the double break as a forehand down the line left Monfils stranded.

Noise levels grew on the court and in the stands as Monfils scrapped to keep his hopes of a second US Open semi-final alive in the fourth, breaking for a 3-1 lead after Berrettini struck the net cord and set him up for a simple forehand.

Monfils only had to save one break point to keep his nose in front and send it to a decider, in which holding serve became an increasingly complicated task.

There were two breaks in the first three games of the fifth but Berrettini nudged ahead 4-2 when Monfils fell 0-40 down and then drifted long.

A double-fault on match point set the tone for a frantic conclusion, Monfils then ripping a wonderful crosscourt forehand and cupping his ear to the crowd as he hit back.

Berrettini produced a stunningly precise lob to help him set up the first of two further match points, but the 33-year-old's stamina and character got him through to the tie-break.

However, Berrettini built a 5-2 lead thanks in no small part to more double faults from Monfils, and the deficit proved too much to overcome as he went long on a return and the 23-year-old sank to the ground in celebration.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Matteo Berrettini [24] bt Gael Monfils [13] 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Berrettini – 53/64
Monfils – 41/51

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Berrettini – 15/6
Monfils – 10/17

BREAK POINTS WON
Berrettini – 6/17
Monfils – 5/15

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Berrettini – 54
Monfils – 60

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Berrettini – 69/55
Monfils – 71/45

TOTAL POINTS
Berrettini – 165
Monfils – 159

Rafael Nadal moved into the US Open quarter-finals as Alexander Zverev again fell short on Monday.

Nadal dropped his first set of the tournament before proving too good for 2014 champion Marin Cilic in New York.

The Spanish great will be hard to stop in the bottom half of the draw, with Zverev again unable to make the most of a chance at a major.

 

NADAL GETS THE JOB DONE

Nadal faced his toughest test yet before overcoming Cilic 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2 after two hours, 48 minutes.

The 18-time grand slam champion is well-placed to reach his fifth decider at Flushing Meadows after running away from Cilic.

Nadal hit 37 winners and 26 unforced errors, breaking Cilic six times in another impressive display.

ZVEREV FALLS BEFORE QUARTERS AGAIN

Zverev's wait for a true breakthrough at a grand slam goes on after a 3-6 6-2 6-4 6-3 loss to Diego Schwartzman, who will face Nadal.

The German has made just two major quarter-finals – at the French Open in 2018 and 2019 – and suffered his second fourth-round loss at a major this year.

Zverev played five-setters in the opening two rounds and was pushed to four in the third.

"I had some things that were bothering me because of the fall I had two days ago," he told a news conference after his loss. "I couldn't practice freely yesterday. Warm-up was tough today. My right hip and my back is very swollen because of the fall.

"But other than that, fatigue... obviously it was very tough matches, but I feel fine."

 

MONFILS, BERRETTINI SET UP SURPRISE QUARTER-FINAL

Gael Monfils needed just 86 minutes to thrash Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-2 6-2 and reach his fourth US Open quarter-final.

The 2016 semi-finalist is 2-6 in last-eight clashes at majors, but has a huge opportunity against 23-year-old Italian Matteo Berrettini.

"I play great tennis here, very great tennis. I always say that I love the atmosphere. I love the energy. The energy is very important," Monfils said.

"Every stadium I go, definitely those stadium here in New York are one of the best for my game and for my personality.

"I feel very comfortable, so I think that's why I play always great tennis here."

Berrettini moved into his first grand slam quarter-final thanks to a surprise 6-1 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Andrey Rublev.

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