Casper Ruud revealed his approach was to "fight fire with fire" in his huge win over Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals and is already relishing getting a shot at Daniil Medvedev.

The Norwegian has enjoyed a fine 2021, winning five ATP Tour titles, and has now moved into the semi-finals in Turin on his debut appearance at the prestigious year-ending event.

Ruud appeared to be on the way out when he was trailing by a set and a break against Rublev, having lost all four of the previous meetings between the pair.

But he fought back to win 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5) on Friday and extend his impressive season by at least one more match.

"The court is playing very fast and Andrey plays very fast," said Ruud, who triumphed despite only winning 98 of the 208 points played in an intense battle where his Russian opponent also impressed.

"He rips the ball harder than anyone on the tour and serves very well on his first serve. 

"We all want to play under control and with initiative, but it is not easy against Rublev because he makes you run and play defensively all the time. 

"I knew I had to fight fire with fire. 

"On the big points, I think I played quite smartly."

Aside from Ruud, the other three semi-finalists (Medvedev, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev) are all former ATP Finals winners, making this event the first since 1994 where that has happened.

US Open champion Medvedev represents a daunting challenge in the last four for Ruud, who bounced back from an opening Green Group loss to Djokovic by beating alternate Cameron Norrie before his high-quality winner-takes-all clash with Rublev.

"I am looking forward to Saturday already – it is going to be another tough battle," said the 22-year-old after firing down 14 aces in his victory.

"Medvedev is a different kind of player to Rublev. He is one of the best in the world, and he has proven himself as one of the best over the past two or three years. 

"I have played against him a couple of times and lost both, but I know a little bit about what I am going to face, and it is going to be a fun challenge.

"I am just enjoying the moment."

Two of the last three players to reach the last four on debut at the ATP Finals have gone on to win the tournament, Grigor Dimitrov (2017) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (2019).

Ruud will dream of replicating that duo, but Rublev must come to terms with a second consecutive group-stage exit in the ATP Finals.

"It is tough," Rublev said. "Hopefully I can get through it to get a good lesson, which will give me a huge improvement.

"In the moment, I got tight, which is normal. Casper played well. He has a great forehand – one of the best on tour."

Casper Ruud came from behind to defeat Andrey Rublev and reach the last four of the ATP Finals on his debut appearance at the event.

The Norwegian will play defending champion Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals after a gruelling 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5) victory over Rublev in Turin on Friday that lasted two hours and 26 minutes.

Ruud had lost all four of his previous meetings with Rublev, who promptly moved ahead by comfortably winning his ninth straight set in this head-to-head.

Rublev then looked poised for victory when he struck first in the second set but Ruud, who hit 39 winners, fought back with two breaks of his own to force the decider in a high-quality contest.

The 22-year-old again bounced back from being broken in the third set and ultimately prevailed in a tense tie-break, producing a big serve when it mattered most with his second match point.

Ruud therefore finishes second to Novak Djokovic in the Green Group, with Rublev exiting at the round-robin stage for a second straight year after narrowly losing the winner-takes-all clash.

With Alexander Zverev also through, this is the first time since 1994 that three of the four semi-finalists are former champions – with Ruud the exception.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Rublev - 33/22
Ruud - 39/31

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Rublev - 14/3
​Ruud - 14/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Rublev - 4/11
​Ruud - 3/5

Novak Djokovic felt he had produced "a great performance" to cruise past Andrey Rublev and reach the last four at the ATP Finals in Turin.

A 6-3 6-2 triumph for Djokovic in just 68 minutes on Wednesday moved him into the semi-finals with a match to spare.

Djokovic will face alternate Cameron Norrie on Friday already knowing he will finish top of the Green Group after straight-sets wins over Casper Ruud and Rublev this week.

The Serbian dropped serve in the first game of the match against world number five Rublev but had few problems from then on.

Victory took Djokovic to 50 wins on the ATP Tour this season. He has been beaten just six times in 2021 and is now two victories away from a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals success. 

The 34-year-old has won 12 of his 13 matches since the start of the US Open, losing only to Daniil Medvedev – his main rival for glory again here – in the final of that competition.

"It was a great performance overall," said Djokovic, who won 27 of 31 points on his first serve and had 14 aces to zero double faults. 

"I served well and that helped tremendously. I wanted to put him out of his comfort zone, taking away the time and mix up the pace.

"I knew that I had to be on my toes and start well.

"I dropped my serve again like in the first match against Ruud. It was quite a nervous start from both of us until 4-3, then with new balls I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time. 

"I made him play. Winning the first set I put additional pressure on him, and I started to maybe play more consistently from the back of the court."

Rather than 2019 winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has withdrawn with an elbow injury, Briton Norrie is up next for the world number one at the ATP Finals.

"I always like playing new players, particularly in one of the greatest tournaments in the world here in Turin," added Djokovic.

"Cameron deserves to be here, it is not lucky. He worked his way to Turin with great wins in Indian Wells and some other tournaments.

"So it will be fun to watch him play against Ruud and I will get ready for my next match."

Djokovic has now made the last four of the ATP Finals on 10 occasions, with this being his 40th career win in the tournament (16 defeats).

Novak Djokovic secured his spot in Saturday's semi-finals with a straight-sets victory over Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals in Turin.

The world number one claimed a 6-3 6-2 win over world number five Rublev in the first-ever meeting between the two on Wednesday.

Djokovic confirmed his place as winner of the Green Group with his second consecutive victory, having also beaten Casper Ruud in straight sets in his opening match on Monday.

Despite Rublev's ranking, Djokovic dispatched his opponent in one hour and eight minutes as he raced to a 40th career ATP Finals victory and his 50th on tour this year.

The start of the match was close as the Russian broke Djokovic in the opening game, but the world number one responded in kind in the next game and eventually eased away to win the first set 6-3 as Rublev made some costly unforced errors. 

The second set was decided in similar fashion, with Rublev fading as Djokovic, who faces Cameron Norrie in his last round-robin match on Friday, broke twice to comfortably claim the victory.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Djokovic – 19/8
Rublev – 18/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Djokovic – 14/0
Rublev – 6/1

BREAK POINTS WON 

Djokovic – 4/6
Rublev – 1/1

Andrey Rublev returned to form by downing Stefanos Tsitsipas in their first match of the ATP Finals in Turin on Monday. 

Rublev had only won two of his past seven contests before arriving at the season-ending tournament at the Pala Alpitour but saw off fourth seed Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4. 

The fifth seed from Russia gained sweet revenge, having lost to his Greek opponent in this event in London last year. 

Rublev did not face a break point as he levelled his head-to-head record with Tsitsipas at 4-4 with a statement win. 

The Moscow native won 90 per cent of points behind his first serve and broke Tsitsipas once in each set, sealing victory in an hour and a half. 

Rublev joined world number one Novak Djokovic at the top of the Green Group on a night to forget for Tsitsipas. 

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Rublev – 31/7
Tsitsipas – 31/17

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Rublev – 9/3
Tsitsipas– 12/2

BREAK POINTS WON 

Rublev – 2/7
Tsitsipas – 0/0

Top seed Andrey Rublev crashed out of the St Petersburg Open after a straight-sets defeat by Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

A recent US Open quarter-finalist, world number 69 Van de Zandschlup claimed the first top-10 win of his career on Friday.

The 26-year-old also advanced to the semi-finals of an ATP event for the first time.

There, he will face 2011 champion Marin Cilic, who was a 6-4 3-6 6-3 winner over third seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Denis Shapovalov was another big-name casualty in Russia, the second seed going down 4-6 3-6 against world number 53 Jan-Lennard Struff.

Although, there were better fortunes for fifth seed Taylor Fritz. The Indian Wells semi-finalist is yet to drop a set this week after prevailing 6-4 6-2 against John Millman.

Elsewhere, Matteo Berrettini was the victim of another upset at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

The Wimbledon champion went down 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (5-7) following a two-hour 40-minute battle with Carlos Alcaraz.

Reaching his first ATP 500 semi-final, the Spanish teenager claimed another big scalp having defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas at Flushing Meadows last month.

However, second seed Alexander Zverev remained on course for a fifth title of the season, as he claimed his 300th tour-level win.

The Australian Open finalist beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 3-6 6-3, avenging his fourth-round defeat by the Canadian at Wimbledon in July.

Jannik Sinner continued his push for an ATP Finals spot with a straight-sets defeat of Reilly Opelka in the first round of the Vienna Open, while Carlos Alcaraz exacted revenge on Andy Murray.

Sinner won his fourth title of what has been an outstanding season for the Italian in Antwerp last weekend and is only 110 points adrift of Hubert Hurkacz in the battle for the final place in the season-ending event in Turin.

Murray did the 20-year-old a favour by knocking Hurkacz out of the ATP 500 tournament in the Austrian capital on Monday and seventh seed Sinner eased to a 6-4 6-2 win over American Opelka two days later.

Sinner, who will overtake Pole Hurkacz if he reaches the semi-finals this week, won 93 per cent of points behind his first serve and did not face a break point in a resounding win and will play Dennis Novak in the second round.

Murray beat Alcaraz at Indian Wells this month, but the 18-year-old rising star from Spain turned the tables on the three-time grand slam champion with a 6-3 6-4 second-round win in Vienna.

Former world number one Murray struggled with his serve and was broken five times as he made an early exit.

Third seed Matteo Berrettini beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3 to reach the third round, while Diego Schwartzman, Gael Monfils and Lorenzo Sonego moved into the second round.

In the St Petersburg Open, defending champion Andrey Rublev beat Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals along with Denis Shapovalov, a 2-6 6-3 6-0 winner against Pablo Andujar.

Jan-Lennard Struff also moved into the last eight, with Karen Khachanov and Marin Cilic securing first-round wins.

Andrey Rublev's hopes of retaining the Kremlin Cup on home soil in Moscow are over after he suffered a surprise defeat to Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino ultimately came out on top 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 but he had to do it the hard way, coming back from match point down to set up a meeting with Ricardas Berankis, who lost only tree games in a 6-2 6-1 win over Federico Coria.

Rublev was never cruising, however, as Mannarino only just fell short in the first set and then took the second to a tiebreak, which he eventually won to turn the tide.

The 33-year-old, who lost to Rublev in the final two years ago, took things up a notch in the decider and did not face a single break point as he got the job done despite the home support.

"The crowd was cheering for Andrey but that is normal," he said after reaching the quarter-finals. "I was happy to play with such a nice atmosphere.

"We have been playing for a long time without fans, so it is nice to enjoy a stadium with crowds now."

Second-seed Aslan Karatsev is now the favourite in Moscow, and the Russian had few issues in a 6-4 6-3 defeat of Egor Gerasimov.

Karatsev will face Gilles Simon next following his 6-3 6-2 win over Mackenzie McDonald, while Pedro Martinez won 6-3 6-4 over Filip Krajinovic to book his passage.

At the European Open in Antwerp, Andy Murray's hopes of winning a first ATP Tour title in two years were ended by number two seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Argentinian trailed 4-1 in the first set but fought back to win 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in his first ever match against the Scot, whose last tour triumph was in Antwerp.

In his on-court interview, Schwartzman said: "It was a pleasure to play against Andy. We had not played before and he is coming back and every week he is playing better and moving better.

"I have a lot of respect because when I grew up playing tennis, I was watching Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Andy and Novak [Djokovic] and right now playing against him is a pleasure for me."

Seventh seed Lloyd Harris is also into the quarter-finals after a straightforward 6-2 6-3 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff in just 72 minutes, Marton Fucsovics came through 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-1 against Roberto Bautista Agut and Brandon Nakashima edged past Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to earn the right to face Schwartzman.

Top-10 seeds Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov were bounced from the Indian Wells Masters on Monday as number one seed Daniil Medvedev hit a season milestone. 

Tommy Paul took down Rublev, beating the fourth seed for the first time in four meetings, while the ninth-seeded Shapovalov fell to Aslan Karatsev.

The news was not all bad for the higher seeds, though, as US Open champion Medvedev picked up his 50th win of the year. 

 

PAUL DOWNS RUBLEV

Playing in the main draw at Indian Wells for the first time, the 24-year-old American Paul outlasted Rublev 6-4 3-6 7-5 for his second win in eight career matches against top-10 players.

Paul was on the offensive throughout the match, firing 41 winners while making 37 unforced errors, while Rublev had 23 of each. 

The Russian will lament missed opportunities, as he converted just four of 14 break point chances before watching Paul break him twice in the final set to prevail. 

Paul moves on to face 21st seed Cameron Norrie, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 5-7 6-3.

 

MEDVEDEV NOTCHES 50TH WIN

Medvedev had to work a bit to get past 27th seed Filip Krajinovic 6-2 7-6 (7-1), improving to 38-5 on hard courts in 2021. Only Stefanos Tsitsipas (52) has more victories overall this year. 

The Russian had 25 winners and 18 unforced errors while winning 70 per cent of points on his first serve. 

He next faces 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov, who downed 16th seed Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4. 

 

KARATSEV UPSETS SHAPOVALOV

Playing at Indian Wells for the first time, 19th seed Karatsev upset Shapovalov 7-5 6-2, saving the only break point he faced in the match.

Casper Ruud, seeded sixth, rallied past Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 as he seeks his sixth tournament title this year. 

He will face 11th seed Diego Schwartzmann, who beat 18th seed Daniel Evans 5-7 6-4 6-0 to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells for the first time.

Eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz had little trouble with Frances Tiafoe, rolling past the American in straight sets.

Jannik Sinner, the 10th seed, advanced via walkover when John Isner withdrew from the tournament to fly home and be with his wife Madison with their third child expected to arrive ahead of schedule on Tuesday. 

Top seed Daniil Medvedev made quick work of Mackenzie McDonald in his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters, cruising to a 6-4 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Medvedev – the US Open champion – has lost only three of his last 41 sets, and has never dropped one to McDonald in five career meetings with the American as he maintained his red-hot form. 

Russian star Medvedev is now 37-5 on hardcourts this year and appears well-positioned to make it past the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time as he awaits Filip Krajinovic.

"I'm actually really pleased, because usually I haven’t played well in Indian Wells and I haven’t been playing that well in practices before [the tournament]," Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "[I am] really happy with my performance. That’s the most important [thing] no matter how I played before the tournament."

RUBLEV ROLLS PAST TABERNER

Medvedev's countryman Andrey Rublev closed out the night session with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of Carlos Taberner, who was facing a top-10 opponent for the first time. 

Fourth seed and world number five Rublev won 66 per cent of points on his first serve and hit 30 winners to Taberner's 12. 

Rublev improved to 47-16 this season, 31-9 on hard courts, and will face Tommy Paul in the third round. 

 

SHAPOVALOV WINS IN NEAR-WALKOVER

Most of the seeded players in action had an easy time of it, none more so than Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov's opponent and countryman Vasek Pospisil retired with an apparent back injury after dropping the first three games of the match. 

Sixth seed Casper Ruud blew past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-2, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz downed Alexei Popyrin 6-1 7-5. 

Diego Schwartzman had to work harder to advance, the 11th seed outlasting qualifier Maxime Cressy 6-2 3-6 7-5. 

Top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, the 16th seed, beat Taro Daniel 7-5 6-3 for his first main-draw victory at Indian Wells in four attempts. 

Daniel Evans also went the distance to defeat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-3 6-4, while former world number three Grigor Dimitrov, 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev and Frances Tiafoe were among the other players to advance.

Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud will meet in the San Diego Open final after top seed Andrey Rublev and Grigor Dimitrov were beaten.

There was an upset at the ATP 250 tournament, where Russian star Rublev fell to Norrie 3-6 6-3 6-4 in San Diego on Saturday.

Norrie clinched his third career top-10 win as the Brit looks to secure his second ATP Tour-level title on Sunday.

"It's nice to get some revenge. He beat me easily last time, so it's good to see I've improved a little bit," said Norrie, who lost to Rublev in St Petersburg last year.

Standing in Norrie's way is second seed Ruud, who saw off former world number three Dimitrov 6-4 4-6 6-4.

Norway's Ruud – ranked 10th in the world – has the chance to win his fifth title of the season, the most of any player on the ATP circuit.

Norrie holds a 41-19 win-loss record in 2021 and the 26-year-old added ahead of Sunday's decider: "I'm just trying to enjoy today and then I'll try to rest up and get ready for [the final].

"I've been watching both of them this week and they've been playing some of their top level. I'm looking forward to that one tomorrow."

Top seed Andrey Rublev brushed aside Brandon Nakashima in just over an hour to clinch a spot in the San Diego Open quarter-finals.

Rublev – the world number five – won 6-2 6-1 over local 20-year-old Nakashima at the ATP 250 tournament on Wednesday.

Nakashima claimed only two of 18 second serve points for the match, with Rublev breaking him six times and triumphing in one hour, two minutes midweek.

The result improves 2021 Australian Open quarter-finalist Rublev's record to 45-15 this calendar year.

Rublev will take on sixth seed Diego Schwartzman, who rallied to defeat Lloyd Harris 4-6 6-3 6-2 in San Diego.

Fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz moved into the next round with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 victory over Australian qualifier Alex Bolt.

Hurkacz will face Russian and 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev in the round of 16.

Daniel Evans – the eighth seed – overcame former Wimbledon and US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 after more than two hours on court.

Evans will meet countryman Cam Norrie next.

John McEnroe promised Team World would bounce back after suffering a 14-1 thrashing by Team Europe at the Laver Cup in Boston.

Europe wrapped up a fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph as Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev capped off a dominant performance.

Having won all four matches on Saturday, Europe needed just one more victory to again retain the trophy, preserving their record of having won each edition of the tournament.

That duly arrived as Rublev and Zverev prevailed against Reilly Opelka and Denis Shapovalov in their doubles clash.

They emerged 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 10-3 victors, to spark European celebrations.

Next year's match will be played in London, and Team World captain McEnroe said: "No one wins the Laver Cup, beats us, John McEnroe, five times in a row. You've got to keep going.

"Team Europe is a great team, no question, incredible team. They had good team spirit. We did, as well."

McEnroe, quoted on the Laver Cup website, added: "If you get a couple of different results, we could have put more pressure on them. But we just came up short in four tiebreakers. You win half those, it's totally different story. We gave it our best, but they were just too good."

Zverev reflected on Europe's win, saying: "The score says that it was 14-1, but it could have gone both ways a lot of the time.

"We [did] a lot of hard work for this victory throughout the whole week. The group of this team has been absolutely amazing.

"I think a lot of us came a lot closer together and to be honest I can't wait for London next year."

Team Europe are on track for their fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph after earning an early 3-1 lead against Team World.

Opening-day honours went to Bjorn Borg's Team Europe at TD Garden in Boston, where the defending champions moved into the box seat thanks to wins for Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud in the singles on Friday.

John Isner and Denis Shapovalov managed to get Team World on the board in the evening's final doubles match against Alexander Zverev and Berrettini 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-1.

Roger Federer and Rod Laver were in the crowd as Team Europe – headlined by newly crowned US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and consisting of six of the world's top 10 – made a strong start courtesy of Norwegian Ruud, who overcame Reilly Opelka 6-3 7-6 (7-4), improving his career record to 3-0 against the towering American, and beating him in straight sets for the first time.

Italian star Berrettini then overcame Team World's Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 10-8 in the competition's longest match at two hours, 52 minutes.

Berrettini escaped with the second set after facing two break points in the penultimate game before prevailing against the Canadian in a thrilling match tie-break.

"One of the best matches bar none that I've ever seen played, absolutely just enthralling," said captain John McEnroe, whose Team World are eyeing their first Laver Cup trophy.

Rublev rallied past Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, who won the opening set and led 6-2 and 8-5 in the match tie-break before losing 4-6 6-3 11-9.

"Today we are a bit more lucky; Matteo won a tough match against Felix in a super tiebreak, now you saw my match," said Russian star Rublev.

"It was so close; Diego was leading all the super tiebreak, but in the end I find a way to win.

"This happens. This is tennis, this is sport. It’s emotions. Someone has to win, someone has to lose."

On day two, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Zverev headline the day session against Team World's Nick Kyrgios and Isner.

In the evening, Medvedev will meet Shapovalov before Rublev and Tsitsipas team up for a doubles battle with Kyrgios and Isner.

Alexander Zverev believes world number one Novak Djokovic remains the favourite for the upcoming U.S. Open despite the German backing up his Olympic gold medal with victory in Cincinnati.

The German world number four defeated Andrey Rublev in straight sets on Sunday to win the Western and Southern Open, claiming his fourth title of the ATP season.

The 2021 U.S. Open begins next Monday with Dominic Thiem, who defeated Zverev in the 2020 final, withdrawing from the men's draw along with superstar Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Their absences have opened up an opportunity for the in-form Zverev to have a run at the title but the German insisted Djokovic, who he defeated in the Olympic semi-finals, is the player to beat.

"I do think that he's still the favourite," Zverev told reporters after his win in Cincinnati.

"I do think he's going to be playing incredible tennis there. He's going to be fresh, and I think there is also other guys that are in very good form. I think Rublev is in very good form, [Daniil] Medvedev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, all those guys are playing great tennis.

"It's definitely going to be an interesting US Open. But I'm also looking forward to it, because I know where I stand, I know how I'm playing, and I hope I can continue the work and hopefully play even better in New York."

Djokovic has not played since Tokyo 2020, where he lost his bronze medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta after his semi-final defeat to Zverev.

The Serbian world number one opted to withdraw from the mixed doubles' semi-final afterwards, citing a left shoulder injury.

"I think Novak will be back. He's obviously going to be the favourite but I think other guys are going to be in great shape,” Zverev said.

"I'm looking forward to the week. Let's see how it goes. But there is still one week to go. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to find my rhythm in New York, as well."

Zverev, who had never won a match in Cincinnati prior to this year's event, has not lost a match since his Wimbledon fourth-round exit to Felix Auger-Aliassime in July.

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