Stan Wawrinka was forced into a huge battle before advancing in the Mexican Open first round on Monday.

Wawrinka, the third seed at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, needed two hours, 45 minutes to edge Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-1).

The Swiss three-time grand slam champion squandered four match points before battling through.

Wawrinka was the only seed in action on Monday, as two American qualifiers – Tommy Paul and Marcos Giron – progressed.

Adrian Mannarino overcame wildcard Cameron Norrie 2-6 6-3 6-3, Miomir Kecmanovic edged past Alex de Minaur 3-6 6-4 6-3 and Kyle Edmund hammered Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open, sixth seed Hugo Dellien got through the first round, while Roberto Carballes Baena and wildcards Thiago Seyboth Wild and Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera also won.

Wang Yafan's Mexican Open title defence came to an end in the first round, while Coco Vandeweghe also made an early exit on Monday.

Last year's champion, second seed Wang Yafan fell to Wang Xiyu 6-4 7-6 (10-8) in her opener in Acapulco.

Wang Yafan could convert just four of 12 break points, while Wang Xiyu capitalised on five of her eight.

A two-time grand slam semi-finalist, Vandeweghe suffered her fifth defeat in nine matches in 2020 with a 4-6 6-4 6-4 loss to seventh seed Heather Watson at the WTA International event.

Of the four seeds in action, Nao Hibino joined Watson in advancing, while Marie Bouzkova went down to Tatjana Maria to be one of two casualties alongside Wang Yafan.

Tamara Zidansek, Anastasia Potapova and Kateryna Bondarenko also progressed on Monday.

Amanda Anisimova claimed the scalp of an out-of-sorts Elina Svitolina and Petra Martic was among the other seeds who crashed out of the Qatar Open on Monday.

Svitolina has endured a disappointing start to the season and there was no upturn in fortunes in Doha, where she was beaten 6-3 6-3 in the second round.

Martic got past Barbora Strycova in the first round in Dubai last week, but the Czech gained revenge with a 4-6 6-1 6-1 victory to move into round two.

Alison Riske, the 13th seed, lost an all-American encounter with Jennifer Brady, while 17th seed Donna Vekic went down in straight sets to Iga Swiatek.

Kiki Bertens had no such trouble, winning 6-2 6-4 against Karolina Muchova to reach the third round, while Elena Rybakina came from a set down to oust Sorana Cirstea.

 

TEENAGER ANISIMOVA STARTLES SVITOLINA

Svitolina has won just four matches this year and it was 18-year-old Anisimova who inflicted another blow on the world number seven.

The American teenager claimed a first top 10 win of 2020, taking just 64 minutes to sail through in her first appearance in this tournament.

She struck 27 winners and saved all three break points faced and will take on either Swiatek or Svetlana Kuznetsova for a place in the quarter-finals.

 

RYBAKINA ROARS BACK

Rybakina suffered the agony of a defeat to Simona Halep in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday.

The 20-year-old rising star from Kazakhstan, up to a career-high 17th in the rankings, gave another demonstration of her fighting spirit by roaring back to beat Cirstea 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Rybakina already has 20 victories to her name this season and will be expected to make it 21 when she takes on Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round.

 

SUAREZ NAVARRO SETS UP BATTLE OF FORMER CHAMPIONS

Carla Suarez Navarro coasted to a 7-5 6-0 first-round victory over Zhang Shuai on day two of the tournament.

The Spaniard's reward will be a tough encounter with Petra Kvitova, two players who have experienced glory in Doha.

Suarez Navarro won the tournament in four years ago and Kvitova was crowned champion in 2018.

Novak Djokovic is wary of falling victim to an upset as he prepares to face Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

The world number one will meet Kohlschreiber in the last 16 after he eased to a 6-1 6-2 win over Malek Jaziri on Monday, while the German emerged triumphant from a three-set battle against Mohamed Safwat.

Djokovic fell to a shock 6-4 6-4 defeat to Kohlschreiber in Indian Wells last year on the last occasion the two players met on a hard court.

While he has won three meetings with the 36-year-old since then, twice on clay and in another on grass, Djokovic will be taking no chances.

"I am aware of what he is capable of," Djokovic said. 

"I lost to him in straight sets in Indian Wells last year. He actually likes playing top players on a big stage. 

"He has lots of experience. He's very fit. He keeps on playing even at that age on a high level.

"I certainly will not underestimate him, I will prepare myself."

Djokovic is playing in Dubai for the first time since 2016, when he retired due to an eye injury in a quarter-final meeting with Feliciano Lopez.

He is a four-time champion and also made the final in 2015, when Roger Federer defeated him.

"As I've said in the press conference prior to the tournament, I miss playing here," said Djokovic, who has a 14-0 record in 2020 following his ATP Cup and Australian Open triumphs.

"I really enjoy it. I enjoy night sessions and I'm feeling good on the court. 

"[The Jaziri match] was another testament to the way I feel. I have confidence, I am obviously striking the ball well. Hopefully that can continue in the next match."

Novak Djokovic earned an emphatic win over Malek Jaziri at the Dubai Tennis Championships in his first match since tasting Australian Open success.

The world number one eased to a 6-1 6-2 triumph over Tunisian veteran Jaziri in a contest lasting one hour.

Djokovic and Jaziri had met once before in their careers, with the Serbian defeating him by an identical scoreline at the same tournament back in 2016.

Three weeks on from his dramatic five-set win over Dominic Thiem in the Melbourne final, Djokovic did not have to defend a single break point and converted four of his eight opportunities in a display that saw him hit 22 winners.

He raced into a 5-0 lead in the first set and while Jaziri – ranked 260 in the world – was marginally more competitive in the second, Djokovic sprinted to victory after breaking at 2-2, converting his first match point with his seventh ace.

"It's a great way to start out the tournament," said Djokovic. "I think I've done everything as well as I imagined it could be for the first match. 

"Of course, there's things that always can be improved, things that can be better. But I have to be satisfied with the performance."

Elsewhere in the ATP 500 event on Monday, there were wins for Russian duo Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev.

Khachanov won 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 against Mikhail Kukushkin, while Rublev battled to a 6-4 6-4 triumph over Italian qualifier Lorenzo Musetti.

Richard Gasquet secured a hard-earned 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory in his contest with Lloyd Harris, while Philipp Kohlschreiber booked a round-two meeting with Djokovic when he recovered from losing the first set to eliminate wildcard Mohamed Safwat.

Coco Gauff has become the first 15-year-old in 15 years to reach the top 50 of the WTA rankings.

The American made a strong start to the year with her impressive run to the fourth round of the Australian Open, where she beat defending champion Naomi Osaka.

Those exploits from Gauff followed up on her breakout second half of the 2019 season. 

She burst onto the scene with a run to the last 16 at Wimbledon last year and went on to claim her first WTA Tour title in Linz.

Gauff's year-end ranking in 2018 was 686 and she had risen to 68 by the end of 2019.

Other WTA Tour results and points dropped for rival players saw Gauff reach a new peak of number 49 in Monday's latest version of the WTA rankings, the first time she has made the top 50.

The last 15-year-old to reach the top 50 wasSesil Karatantcheva, who achieved the feat in the week of August 1, 2005.

Gauff will look to continue her ascension when she returns to action at the Indian Wells Open next month, one of the biggest WTA tournaments outside of the grand slams due to its Premier Mandatory status.

She turns 16 in March, which means the current age restrictions which apply on the number of tournaments she is able to play will ease.

Australian Ash Barty remains top of the WTA rankings, while Bianca Andreescu is up to fourth, with Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin now in fifth position.

Belinda Bencic has fallen five places to ninth after her first-round loss at the Dubai Tennis Championships, an event she won last year.

Reilly Opelka overcame both Milos Raonic and Yoshihito Nishioka on Sunday to triumph at the Delray Beach Open.

With Saturday's play affected by rain, the big-serving American had only hours to prepare for the final after an impressive defeat of Raonic in 127 hard-hitting minutes.

Opelka edged the ace count 19 to 16 and also saved a match point against the Canadian in their semi-final, eventually coming out on top 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

The world number 54 broke Raonic for the first time at 3-3 in the final set and then again to love to book his place in the final, where he showed no signs of tiredness when seizing the initiative by claiming the third of three set points to forge ahead against Nishioka.

However, Nishioka's return game began to click into gear and he levelled the match when Opelka sent a forehand long to lose a tense tie-break.

An immediate break put Opelka in charge of the decider, though, and he moved 5-2 up when a furious Nishioka sent a backhand wide having previously saved three break points.

Opelka secured his second ATP Tour title with a 27th ace, once again prevailing in a three-set tussle.

Cristian Garin continued his tremendous form on Sunday, winning the Rio Open final against Gianluca Mager.

The Chilean third seed proved too good for qualifier Mager in the decider, winning 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 after one hour, 34 minutes on the clay in Brazil.

The title win was the fourth of Garin's career and second this month, adding to his Cordoba Open success.

But it was his first at ATP 500 level, having earlier beaten fifth seed Borna Coric in the semi-finals.

Mager, who needed almost three hours to win his semi over Attila Balazs, recovered from a break down in the first set before being edged in a tie-break.

The Italian started the second set well, going a break up and appearing set to force a decider.

But Garin came from 5-3 down, winning 16 of the last 20 points and four straight games to clinch the title.

Defending WTA Qatar Open champion Elise Mertens strode confidently into the second round with a straight-sets win over Wang Qiang.

The Belgian, seeded 16th in Doha, produced a dominant display to triumph 6-1 6-2 and set up a meeting with either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Yulia Putintseva.

Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza endured a much tougher outing at the WTA Premier 5 event than Mertens, requiring three sets to see off Daria Kasatkina.

The two-time grand slam champion prevailed 7-5 5-7 6-3 after two hours and 49 minutes, with Ajla Tomljanovic up next for the Spaniard.

Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017, was pushed all the way in a 7-5 2-6 7-5 victory over Jil Teichmann, while top seed Ash Barty learned that she will face Laura Siegemund following the German's defeat of Yaroslava Shvedova.

Elsewhere in the draw, Veronika Kudermetova dumped out Kristina Mladenovic despite losing the second set 6-0, Svetlana Kuznetsova ousted Cagla Buyukakcay, and Karolina Muchova was too strong for Magda Linette. 

Tomljanovic beat fellow Australian Priscilla Hon, and there were also wins for Bernarda Pera, Alison Van Uytvanck, Amanda Anisimova and Ons Jabeur.

Stefanos Tsitsipas sealed a stunning defence of his Open 13 Marseille title as he crushed the hopes of Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The brilliant Greek has endured a rocky start to 2020 but put a run of early-tournament defeats behind him with another success in the south of France, beating Canadian Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-4 in the final.

It means that for the second yet in a row, Tsitsipas has run through the Marseille draw without dropping a set, while for Auger-Aliassime the wait for a first ATP singles trophy goes on.

This setback makes it five defeats in five finals for the 19-year-old Canadian, including a loss to Gael Monfils in Rotterdam last weekend.

Tsitsipas was highly impressive and the 21-year-old roared in delight when Auger-Aliassime ripped a forehand over the baseline on match point.

The trophy presentation became a charming love-in between two of the stars of the new generation in the men's game.

Addressing Auger-Aliassime, who held a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head before this clash, Tsitsipas said: "It's great to be fighting on the court against you.

"I feel like you make me a better a player. And I hope I make you that too.

"I would like to congratulate you on a great week. Someone had to win the title - it was a very close match.

"I've been following you, even when you've not been playing the same tournaments as me.

"Keep putting in the extra work and I'm sure you can achieve a lot of things in the future which will be very good for our sport and for the younger generations."

It was a fifth tour title for Tsitsipas, and it seems only a matter of time before Auger-Aliassime begins carrying off the big trophies.

These two could contest many more finals in the years ahead.

Auger-Aliassime said: "We've known each other since juniors. It's getting tougher and tougher to play you - we're equal now - two wins each - so it's a great rivalry and a great fight every time against you, but congrats for this one."

Gianluca Mager upset Dominic Thiem and then moved within reach of a maiden ATP Tour final as rain continued to impact the Rio Open.

Down a set when forced off on Friday, top seed Thiem failed to stave off a quarter-final loss once play resumed on Saturday.

Italian qualifier Mager turned his overnight advantage into a 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 victory before again taking to the court later in the day for his semi-final.

The 25-year-old's opponent, lucky loser Attila Balazs, earlier beat Pedro Martinez 2-6 6-4 6-2 but was left clinging onto a place in the tournament when the rain returned, the Hungarian trailing 7-6 (7-4) 3-3 against Mager.

The winner will likely face Cristian Garin in the final after the Chilean third seed opened up a 6-4 4-4 lead over Borna Coric in the other postponed semi-final.

Poor conditions also interrupted the Delray Beach Open, where Milos Raonic was unable to get underway against Reilly Opelka.

The big servers had their semi-final rescheduled for Sunday and will compete for a spot in the decider against Yoshihito Nishioka, who battled from a set down to defeat Ugo Humbert 1-6 6-4 6-0.

Nishioka has reached the final despite dropping the opener in three of his four matches at the ATP 250 event.

"After the first set I just figured out how to play against him and just kept trying to do it and then it worked," he said, as quoted by the ATP Tour.

"If I lose the first set it's okay, I just figure out how he's going to play, how I have to play against him and then from the second set I say, 'Okay, let's do it this way.'"

Felix Auger-Aliassime is into a second successive ATP Tour final after seeing off Gilles Simon in straight sets in the Open 13 Marseille semi-final and he will face defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas for the title.

Second seed Tsitsipas was in impressive form as he dispatched Alexander Bublik in the day's first match, running out 7-5 6-3 victor to reach the final of the tournament for a second year in a row.

The Greek continued his run of not dropping a set at the competition since a first-round defeat to Nicolas Mahut two years ago, racking up a 14th successive win in Marseille.

Tsitsipas was particularly devastating on his own serve in the second set, dropping just a single point, and he was delighted to be able to keep Bublik under control.

"I tried to stay in the match as much as possible and play each point individually," he said, according to quotes on the ATP Tour website. "I know he can be [Bublik] quite unexpected.

"You don't know what to expect. I didn't know what to expect from today's opponent. I am really happy with myself that I found a balance and I didn't panic when things got tight.

"That is a great attitude that I put out on the court. It keeps getting better and better."

Auger-Aliassime will be hoping to go one better than he did in Rotterdam last week, having lost in the final of that event to Gael Monfils.

The Canadian did not have it all his own way against Simon, who eliminated top second Daniil Medvedev in the last round, but Auger-Aliassime showed admirable resilience to claim a double break in the first set after losing his own serve early on.

Simon took the second set to a tie-break, but he rarely appeared to be in the conversation at that stage, with Auger-Aliassime eventually winning 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

Simona Halep clinched her 20th career WTA title and first of 2020 as she overcame Elena Rybakina to win the Dubai Tennis Championship in thrilling fashion.

World number two Halep had to come from a set down against Rybakina, who put in a wonderful display and came within a break of securing her second title of 2020.

But the 20-year-old ultimately fell short in a final-set tie-breaker as Halep triumphed 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) after two hours and 29 minutes on Saturday.

Halep, a Dubai champion in 2015, saved a break point in just the second game of the match but could not keep Rybakina at bay when the next opportunity came, going long in the sixth to fall behind.

Rybakina saw off two late openings to claim the set, only for Halep to make a brilliant start to the second and soon secure a trio of opportunities, breaking to love when Rybakina failed to pick out the left corner of the court.

Halep was made to work to consolidate the break but then had another two break points in the next game.

However, she passed up both opportunities, allowing Rybakina to roar back and break to love, with Halep signalling for her coach after going wide at the end of the rally.

Halep got the motivation she needed and chances came thick and fast in a mammoth game, which she eventually claimed en route to levelling the match when Rybakina slowed and a fourth break point was taken.

Momentum in the decider similarly swung back and forth, with Rybakina in control when Halep double-faulted before that advantage was immediately cancelled out.

A stunning volley put Rybakina 5-4 up, but Halep rallied to hold serve before breaking in the next game to take a 6-5 lead.

Yet Rybakina was not beaten and, at the second attempt, broke serve to force the tie-break.

Rybakina squandered the chance to take a 6-4 lead in the tie-break on her own serve, though, and Halep duly took advantage, with an overhit return handing the Romanian her second triumph in Dubai.

Top seed Dominic Thiem trails by a set and a break in his quarter-final against qualifier Gianluca Mager after the Rio Open was washed out for the day.

Rain wreaked havoc in Rio, where only two quarter-final matches were completed at the ATP 500 tournament on Friday.

Thiem's back is against the wall, with the Australian Open runner-up and world number four down 7-6 (7-5) 2-1 against Mager – who is featuring in his first ATP Tour quarter-final.

Lucky loser Attila Balazs and qualifier Pedro Martinez were also playing when the rain returned in Brazil, with the latter leading 6-2 2-2.

Cristian Garin managed to win through to the semi-finals after the third seed claimed his seventh successive victory by rallying past Federico Coria 2-6 6-3 7-5.

Next up for Garin is fifth seed Borna Coric, who defeated Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 on the Brazilian clay.

At the Delray Beach Open, second seed Milos Raonic and fellow big server Reilly Opelka will meet in the semi-finals.

Raonic beat Steve Johnson 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 and 2019 New York Open champion Opelka took down Kwon Soon-woo 6-3 6-4 at the ATP 250 event.

"It's going to be tough. He gets a lot of free points on his serve and you've got to make him play," Raonic said.

"You can't just make him play though because he goes for it from the centre of the court. You've got to move in, you've got to find a way to be aggressive."

Elsewhere, Yoshihito Nishioka overcame teenager Brandon Nakashima 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 and sixth seed Ugo Humbert eased past 2018 winner Frances Tiafoe 6-1 6-2.

Simona Halep cruised into her first final of the year after a devastating 6-2 6-0 semi-final defeat of American qualifier Jennifer Brady at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Top seed Halep came through a testing quarter-final with Aryna Sabalenka, but her last-four match was significantly more straightforward on Friday.

Halep blitzed through the encounter in just 62 minutes, the 2015 champion appearing way more at ease than in the pair's first-round clash at the Australian Open in January, when Brady succumbed 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

World number two and two-time grand slam champion Halep faced only two break points in the entire match and she saved both, while she also hit 16 winners to eight unforced errors in a performance she felt was almost perfect.

"It's fun when you feel the ball and when you can do anything you want," Halep said. "Today it was one of those days, I could open the court easily. I felt like every time I hit the ball, I feel it.

"It's always a nice opportunity and privilege to play the last match of the tournament. I play for another trophy, so I'm relaxed. I'm focused. I really want it."

Elena Rybakina will be Halep's next opponent, with the Kazakh securing progress to a fourth final already this year.

Rybakina showed her resilience to come through a gripping duel with eighth seed Petra Martic, saving set points in both sets before eventually winning 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2).

The 20-year-old has already beaten Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and former world number one Karolina Pliskova in Dubai, and now she is aiming for the biggest scalp of the lot – and Halep knows she will need to be aggressive to upset the upstart's rise.

"It's amazing what [Rybakina's] done already this year," Halep added. "I saw her a little bit during some matches.

"She has a big serve. I have to pay attention on my return and to be like today: confident, aggressive if there is a chance, just fighting. It's the best thing to do now."

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