Kei Nishikori's comeback surprised the former world number four, who survived a major scare to advance at the Barcelona Open.

Nishikori trailed 6-4 4-2 and was forced to break serve as Guido Pella attempted to close out the match in the second set, before sensationally rallying to a 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win on Monday.

A two-time champion at the ATP 500 tournament on the Barcelona clay, Nishikori broke serve on three occasions in the final set en route to the second round.

"He had the match today at 6-5, serving [for the match]," said Nishikori. "He was much better in the first and second [sets] and 3-0 up in the tie-break. I don't know how I fought through. [In the] third set, I was playing much better.

"I was making so many unforced errors in the first and second [sets]. Maybe he got a little bit tired and I was playing strong in the third set. I want to take that to the next round… The way I fought today and the way I played in the third set was good."

Next up for 2014 US Open finalist Nishikori is 13th seed Cristian Garin.

Ilya Ivashka topped Tallon Griekspoor 6-3 6-1 and the qualifier's reward is a showdown with top seed and 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal.

Cameron Norrie, Pablo Andujar, Jeremy Chardy, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Jaume Munar, Federico Gaio, Egor Gerasimov and Bernabe Zapata Miralles all advanced to the last 32.

At the Serbia Open, seeds Filip Krajinovic and John Millman booked their spots in the round of 16.

With the ATP 250 tournament being staged for the first time since 2012 and headlined by world number one Novak Djokovic, Serbian fifth seed Krajinovic overcame Stefano Travaglia 7-5 5-7 6-3 in a Belgrade rollercoaster.

Millman – the Australian seventh seed – took down local wildcard Danilo Petrovic 7-5 6-4 as Marco Cecchinato and Nikola Milojevic won through.

Belinda Bencic claimed her first win on clay since the 2019 French Open as she saw off teenager Nastasja Schunk at the Stuttgart Open.

The world number 12 eased to a 6-4 6-2 victory over the 17-year-old qualifier, who saved five match points in her final service game before Bencic closed things out.

"My love affair with clay is... I'm trying to improve myself on it," Bencic said after her first-round triumph.

"I think I'm getting better and I'm taking falls sometimes. I'm trying my best on this surface."

Maria Sakkari was similarly comfortable in progressing to the next round, hitting 24 winners as she dispatched Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-2 on her debut at the tournament.

At the Istanbul Cup, four of the five scheduled matches were completed before rain stopped play with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Anastasia Potapova level at a set apiece.

Eighth seed Wang Qiang fought back from a set down to beat Anastasia Gasanova 4-6 6-1 6-2.

There were also wins for Ana Konjuh, Katerina Siniakova and Viktorija Golubic.

Australian Astra Sharma scored a shock win over top seed Ons Jabeur in the final of the MUSC Health Women's Open, landing her first WTA Tour singles title.

The world number 165 made a slow start to the match but eventually overwhelmed Jabeur 2-6 7-5 6-1 in Charleston.

Having risen to 27th in the world rankings without a trophy to her name, the 26-year-old Jabeur looked to have an ideal opportunity to put that right.

Sharma recovered from the one-sided opening set to lead early in the second, and despite Jabeur getting it back on serve, the underdog surged ahead again to level the contest.

In her second WTA singles final and first for two years, Sharma went one step further than when she was runner-up in Bogota, racing through the deciding set as she swatted away Jabeur's threat.

Jabeur said the defeat was "very tough" to take, while Sharma said of her breakthrough week: "This has been an amazing event. I've really enjoyed playing here."

Roger Federer has confirmed he will grace the clay courts at the French Open and Geneva Open.

The 20-time grand slam champion made his comeback at the Qatar Open last month after a long absence following knee surgery.

Federer was beaten by Nikoloz Basilashvili at the quarter-final stage in Doha before opting against playing in Dubai and Miami.

The 39-year-old Swiss on Sunday announced he will feature on home soil in a Geneva Open event that gets under way on May 16.

World number seven Federer will also be in the draw for the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros, where he reached the semi-final two years ago in his first appearance at the Paris major since 2015.

He tweeted: "Hi everyone! Happy to let you know that I will play Geneva and Paris.

"Until then, I will use the time to train. Can't wait to play in Switzerland again."

Rafael Nadal will be a strong favourite to surpass Federer's tally of grand slam titles in Paris, where he has won the French Open a record 13 times.

Stefanos Tsitsipas landed the first Masters 1000 title of his career as he scored a thumping 6-3 6-3 win over Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo.

The Greek star had lost his previous two finals at this level, with Rafael Nadal denying him in Toronto and Novak Djokovic beating him in Madrid.

However, he had the measure of Russian Rublev on the Monte Carlo clay on Sunday, breaking his opponent's serve three times and giving away nothing on his own delivery.

Tsitsipas, who lives in Monte Carlo, said he had experienced an "unbelievable week", declaring it was the pinnacle of his career to date.

"I can't describe the feelings right now," he said on Amazon Prime. "I'm overwhelmed by so many different emotions.

"It's incredible I'm able to be in the position I am, and I think we both deserved being in the final and put on an amazing fight and an amazing show.

"Generally I would consider it the week of my life so far. I knew he was going to be a very difficult opponent to face and there were a lot of nerves coming into that match.

"I've played him in the past, he always wants to bring the best out of us when facing each other."

Rublev beat 11-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal in the quarter-finals, but the 23-year-old could not hit the heights of that performance in the title match.

Tsitsipas, 22, said: "I'm just proud of the way I managed to behave and to be out on the court today.

"The clay-court season couldn't start better and it's the best thing right now, winning my first Masters 1000, and it's even more special doing it here on home soil in Monte Carlo and doing it on clay which is my favourite surface."

Ons Jabeur earned revenge on Danka Kovinic with a 6-3 6-0 hammering in the semi-finals of the MUSC Health Women's Open.

It was only a week ago the top seed was defeated by the same opponent on the same Charleston court at the same stage in the Volvo Car Open.

But a day on from needing just 45 minutes to hammer Nao Hibino 6-1 6-0, Jabeur required a little over 90 minutes to progress to Sunday's showpiece.

Jabeur is now 18-7 for the year, with only Garbine Muguruza holding more wins on the WTA Tour in 2021.

On the other side of the draw, Astra Sharma overcame Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

It marks Sharma's second WTA final and her first in two years.

Andrey Rublev reflected on an "amazing feeling" as he booked a Monte Carlo Masters final appearance against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Russian has had a remarkable week at the Masters 1000 event that included a stunning win over 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.

Rublev continued his fine run with a 6-3 7-5 win over Casper Ruud on Saturday to ensure he will do battle against Tsitsipas in his first final at this level.

Tsitsipas comfortably saw off Dan Evans – who had beaten Novak Djokovic earlier in the tournament – winning his semi-final 6-2 6-1.

Rublev had 21 winners in his 80-minute victory over Ruud and has a record of 24-4 this season, the ATP Tour's best.

"It is an amazing feeling - it is my first [Masters] final, so I am really happy," said Rublev. 

"We will see what is going to happen [in the final]. I will try to do my best.

"Casper is a really amazing player, especially on clay. Since the beginning he put a really high intensity [on the court] and was really tough. 

"I knew that I needed to raise my level if I wanted to fight against him, because if I [did] not raise the level I [would] lose for sure."

Rublev defeated Tsitsipas in straight sets on his way to winning an ATP 500 title in Rotterdam last month.

Six of his eight ATP titles have come since the start of last year.

It took Tsitsipas, who has not won a tournament for 14 months, only one hour and nine minutes to see off the challenge of Evans, forcing 11 break points to the Briton's one.

"I am indeed pleased with the performance," Tsitsipas said, with the Greek yet to drop a set in Monte Carlo.

"I found ways to play at my best. It was really difficult to maintain my level of consistency and I am really happy I managed to deal with all the different moments during the match.

"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling energised. I still have plenty of gas and energy left in me. I was able to have all of my matches done in two sets, so that is a big plus. 

"I am happy to be able to play that way, just take it match by match, approach each individual match with the same intensity and energy - I'm really focused for Sunday."

Rublev has won three of his six career meetings with Tsitsipas and one of their two battles on clay.

Tsitsipas will be competing in his third Masters final, having lost to Nadal and Djokovic in his two previous appearances, the last of which came two years ago in Madrid.

Overall, Tsitsipas has won just five of his 13 ATP finals.

Top seed Ons Jabeur moved through to the MUSC Health Women's Open semi-finals after easing past Nao Hibino.

Jabeur – eyeing her first WTA Tour title – made light work of Hibino 6-0 6-1 in Charleston on Friday.

Next up for the Tunisian is high-flying Danka Kovinic at the WTA 250 tournament.

For the second week in a row, Kovinic reached the semi-finals in Charleston after taking down hometown favourite and third seed Shelby Rogers 7-5 6-1.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, who claimed her maiden singles title at the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota last week, was leading 6-4 1-0 when Clara Tauson retired.

Meanwhile, Astra Sharma defeated 15-year-old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova 6-4 6-3.

Rafael Nadal was dumped out of the Monte Carlo Masters as Andrey Rublev completed a superb 6-2 4-6 6-2 victory in their quarter-final clash.

Nadal went into the meeting with a 73-5 record at the event but Russian Rublev was in inspired form to stun his Spanish opponent.

The 11-time champion looked set to complete a trademark comeback after taking a 74-minute second set, yet Rublev held firm in the decider to claim a memorable victory after two hours and 33 minutes on court.

"I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay and you have that pressure every time," Rublev said, according to the ATP Tour website.

"I think for him it must be incredibly tough every time. I am in shock [with] the way he is playing under this pressure and that is why he is a legend."

Rublev will face Casper Ruud in Saturday's semi-final after he overcame defending champion Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3.

Dan Evans followed up his superb victory over Novak Djokovic on Thursday with a slender win over David Goffin to reach his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

World number 33 Evans, who had come into the tournament having lost his previous 10 matches on clay, overcame Goffin 5-7 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 42 minutes.

"I am proud of how I came back today, especially with what happened in the first set," he said after the match.

"I felt my concentration wasn't great and I am really happy with coming through. Yesterday would not have been worth it with a bad performance today."

Evans will face Stefanos Tsitsipas, who progressed when opponent Alejandro Davidovich Fokina retired injured in their quarter-final.

Spaniard Davidovich Fokina did not return for the second set after earlier receiving treatment during the first, which Tsitsipas won 7-5.

Ons Jabeur and in-form Maria Camila Osorio Serrano both progressed to the quarter-finals of the MUSC Health Women's Open.

Top seed Jabeur eased past American world number 313 Alycia Parks 6-4 6-0 in Charleston on Thursday.

Eyeing her first WTA Tour title, Tunisian Jabeur will face Nao Hibino for a place in the semi-finals.

Colombia's Osorio Serrano, who claimed her maiden singles title at the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota last week, rallied past Christina McHale 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-1).

Osorio Serrano and Clara Tauson will go head-to-head in the quarters at the WTA 250 event.

Linda Fruhvirtova – the 15-year-old Czech teen – and Astra Sharma also advanced at the expense of Emma Navarro and eighth seed Madison Brengle.

Novak Djokovic admitted he played an "awful" match against Dan Evans at the Monte Carlo Masters as Rafael Nadal advanced with ease to the quarter-finals.

World number one Djokovic, playing in his first tournament since winning a ninth Australian Open in February, suffered his first defeat of 2021 on Thursday.

Evans, who had never before reached the last eight of a Masters 1000 tournament, won 6-4 7-5 with a performance that belied his relative lack of success on clay.

The 30-year-old Briton will now meet David Goffin, who surprised fifth seed Alexander Zverev 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

"To be honest, this has been probably one of the worst matches and performances from my side I can recall in the last years," said Djokovic. "I don't want to take anything away from his win, but from my side, I just felt awful on the court overall. Just nothing worked. It's one of those days."

Saying he felt "completely the opposite" to Wednesday's win over Jannik Sinner, Djokovic added: "Just was obviously very, very windy, tough to play in these kinds of conditions against a guy like Evans who makes you move. He's very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game."

Eleven-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal had no such problems in his match as he dismissed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-1 in 55 minutes.

Nadal, who boasts a 14-1 career record against the Bulgarian, did not face a break point in either set against his off-colour opponent.

Dimitrov started the match with three double faults in his opening service game and was 4-0 down in each set.

"[I am] sorry for him. He played a bad match. That is the truth," said Spaniard Nadal. "He made a lot of mistakes. I was there. I was doing the right thing, but it is true that today was more his fault than my good tennis."

Nadal will face Andrey Rublev after the Russian battled past Roberto Bautista-Agut 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-3.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Cristian Garin 6-3 6-4, will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina next, while Fabio Fognini's straight-sets win over Filip Krajinovic set up a meeting with Casper Ruud.

Dan Evans produced a stunning victory over Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo Masters, revealing the world number one had irritated him before the match even began.

A 6-4 7-5 victory for 33rd-ranked Evans in his first career clash with Djokovic carried the Briton through to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final and inflicted a first defeat of 2021 on his opponent.

The seeds of the upset were planted before the players hit the court, Evans later revealed, with the 30-year-old having been irked at having to wait for Djokovic in the locker room.

Top seed Djokovic was playing his first tournament since winning the Australian Open in February, for his 18th grand slam title, and he found it tough against a player who has previously enjoyed little success on clay.

"I thought I did a good job to get out of my service games. He had so many break points but didn't take them, so I was a little lucky there," Evans told Amazon Prime.

"I ran around the first second serve I got, to tell him I'm not going to just stand back and rally, I'm going to try to hit his second serve a little, and I got a few doubles out there."

Djokovic served four double faults, with Evans setting the tone for the match by surging 3-0 ahead early in the opening set.

"He kept me waiting at the start of the match in the changing rooms a little bit, so it was a little annoying," Evans said. "I was ready to go from that, so that got me a little extra fired up."

Rather than being intimidated by the presence of Djokovic on the other side of the net, Evans indicated he treated the Serbian like just another opponent, there to be beaten.

"That's why we roll the balls out, it's one against one and we've got to see who wins," Evans said.

"He gave me some cheap ones today which he never normally does, so I was a little lucky there, but I'm just really happy with coming through."

Evans' win was hailed by former British number one Tim Henman, who said: "He played fantastic tennis. In difficult conditions, he was the one that really dealt with it so well.

"Those first three games where he got up a double break, that probably changed his mindset. It increased his belief and Djokovic was frustrated, but in so many critical moments it was Evans who came up with the great tennis.

"It's an unbelievable achievement. Evans has won so few matches on clay so to beat the world number one, it's an amazing win."

Shelby Rogers booked her spot in the MUSC Health Women's Open quarter-finals, but fellow seeds Ajla Tomljanovic and Lauren Davis crashed out.

Following her third-round appearance at the Volvo Car Open, Charleston native Rogers moved through to the quarters of her second hometown tournament in as many weeks after easing past qualifier Claire Liu 6-2 6-2.

"I think I was due for a couple of tame matches," said third seed Rogers, who lost to world number one Ash Barty at last week's Volvo Car Open. "I've had quite a few mental battles over the last couple of months, so it's been nice to just take care of business in straight sets, get in and get out."

Next up for Rogers at the WTA 250 event is in-form Montenegrin opponent Danka Kovinic, who upstaged seventh seed Davis 6-1 1-6 6-3 on Wednesday.

Australian sixth seed Tomljanovic was swept aside by teenager Clara Tauson 6-1 6-4, while Nao Hibino beat Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-4 6-3.

Rafael Nadal's bid to win a 12th Monte Carlo Masters title got off to an emphatic start as the Spaniard swept Federico Delbonis aside after Novak Djokovic had also booked his passage to the third round.

Nadal, 34, has won the competition more times than anyone else in its history and looked in good shape as he returned to the court for the first time since losing to Stefano Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-finals on February 17.

He needed just 81 minutes to get past the Argentinian qualifier 6-1 6-2 as he improved his record in the tournament to 72-5, breaking Delbonis' serve five times and only dropping his own once.

He is not getting carried away, however, with Grigor Dimitrov likely to provide a sterner test in the next round after beating Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

"It was solid match, I think. Of course, a very positive result. He's a good player on clay. [It was a] positive start for me," Nadal said in his post-match interview.

"I think I just really played a solid match. Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. Just a solid match, a positive start. I think I did what I had to do."

On Dimitrov, Nadal added: "We've had some great matches. In Melbourne, of course... we played another great match in Beijing, another one in Shanghai. He's a good friend, a good guy, and a great player. It's going to be a tough test in my second round.

"It's going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament."

A little earlier in the day, world number one Djokovic was in a similarly unforgiving mood as he overcame the potentially tricky obstacle of Jannik Sinner, the Serbian and two-time Monte Carlo champion winning 6-4 6-2.

Like Nadal, Djokovic was back in action for the first time since the Australian Open – which he won – and appeared fresh as he gave the promising young Italian something of a lesson in game management, reaching 10 matches unbeaten at the start of a season for the sixth time.

"It feels great [to be back and] also playing in Monaco, where I reside," Djokovic said. "I have used this club as a training base for almost 15 years, so it feels like playing at home."

Despite the rather commanding nature of his win, Djokovic was keen to pay tribute to the 19-year-old Sinner, adding: "It was a very good encounter. I thought it was a great first match [and] a big challenge for me. Jannik is in form. He played the final [in] Miami and has been playing well. I just hung in there today and managed to find the right shots and the right game at the right time.

"He has got a lot of talent and he has proven that he is the future of our sport. Actually, he is already the present of our sport. He played a final [in an] ATP Masters 1000 [tournament] already. He is making big strides in professional tennis."

Dan Evans awaits Djokovic after an impressive 6-4 6-1 win over Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz, while Alexander Zverez and Andrey Rublev – the fifth and sixth seeds – moved into the next round with respective straight-set victories over Lorenzo Sonego and Salvatore Caruso.

There were mixed fortunes for the other two top-10 seeds in action on Wednesday, as Pablo Carreno-Busta defeated Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-3, but Diego Schwartzman was sent packing by Casper Ruud, the Norwegian winning 6-3 6-3.

Top seed Ons Jabeur advanced to the last 16 at the MUSC Health Women's Open, while Magda Linette was a casualty on Tuesday.

Jabeur – who reached the semi-finals of the Volvo Car Open – made a winning start at the WTA 250 event after toppling Stefanie Vogele 6-4 6-1.

The Tunisian won 88.9 per cent of her first serves to set up a clash with qualifier Alycia Parks – the latter eased past fellow American Grace Min 6-1 6-4.

However, second seed Linette crashed out at the hands of in-form Colombian Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.

Osorio Serrano, who claimed her maiden singles title at the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota last week, upstaged Linette 6-3 4-6 7-5.

Elsewhere, 15-year-old wildcard Linda Fruhvirtova – in just her second WTA main-draw appearance – progressed 6-2 6-7 (7-9) 4-4 after fourth seed Alize Cornet retired in the final set.

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