In recent years, the notable absentee at the ATP Finals has been Roger Federer, with his last appearance in the tournament coming in 2019.

The lack of Federer at the showpiece event will be felt even more apparent this year after the Swiss maestro retired from tennis in September, though it is the absence of a player at the other end of his career that is more relevant in Turin.

World number one Carlos Alcaraz had to withdraw from the tournament after suffering an abdominal tear, which means his status at the top of the men's game is in jeopardy.

Rafael Nadal has spoken well of his 19-year-old compatriot in the past, but is not ready to pass the torch just yet, and could even topple Alcaraz from his number one spot.

The 22-time grand slam champion has finished as year-end number one five times previously, most recently in 2019. Should he accomplish the feat again this year it would put him in joint-second for most year-end finishes at the top of the ATP Rankings (since 1973) along with Pete Sampras (six).

In order to do so, Nadal will need to win the tournament, something he has never done before.

However, he comes into his 11th appearance in good form, and has won 32 per cent of his return games in 2022, the highest percentage by any player this year, and has converted 43.8 per cent of his break points in 2022, the third best amongst all players.

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas, meanwhile, is the other competitor who can knock Alcaraz off top spot, though his task to do so is a little more complicated as he needs to win every match on the way to the title in Turin. 

No player has played more matches in 2022 than Tsitsipas (80), 21 on clay, 11 on grass and 48 on hard courts; he has won 59 of them and lost 21.

Should neither man win at the Pala Alpitour, Alcaraz will breathe a sigh of relief and earn his first year-end number one finish, having taken his place after winning the US Open in September.

Nadal has been drawn into the Green Group with Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz, while Tsitsipas will be in the Red Group alongside Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic can equal Federer record

One man surprisingly unable to end the year as number one is Djokovic, despite having done so on more occasions than anyone else in history (seven).

However, the 21-time grand slam champion can still make his mark in Italy.

Djokovic has had an up-and-down year, only playing in two of the four grand slams due to his vaccination status, though he was able to win Wimbledon for the seventh time, beating Nick Kyrgios in the final.

Should the Serbian go all the way and lift what would be his sixth ATP Finals title, he will go level with Federer for most victories since the tournament began in 1970.

Among the eight participating players in this year's tournament, Djokovic has won 87 per cent of his service games in 2022, the best percentage among these players and the sixth overall.

It would be quite the ending to the year for Djokovic, who finds himself in the unusual position of sitting eighth in the world rankings, and at the age of 35, who knows how many more appearances he will make at the event?

 

Strong field promises fireworks

As is the intent of the format, the ATP Finals should be a tightly-contested few days as the best men's players in the world come together.

Ruud will be looking to add to an already impressive season, having reached two grand slam finals and winning three tour-level titles, while Fritz is aiming to carry on the fine lineage of American players to have won the tournament.

Players from the United States have won the ATP finals 16 times, with Sampras and Ivan Lendl winning five of them each. It is the most by any country and 10 more than next best Switzerland (six, all Federer) and Germany (also six, three wins for Boris Becker, one for Michael Stich and two for last year's champion, Alexander Zverev).

Auger-Aliassime has had a strong end to the year, beating Djokovic at the Laver Cup before winning three titles in as many weeks in Florence, Antwerp and Basel.

Only John Isner (895) has recorded more aces in 2022 than Auger-Aliassime, who has registered 852 in total, averaging 10.9 per match.

"All the players who participate [at the ATP Finals], I have already faced them, I have beaten them," the Canadian recently said. "So for me, there's no reason why I can't show up to this tournament with the aim of winning it."

Medvedev was world number one as recently as September but enters this tournament in fifth, though he did win the Vienna ATP 500 event last month, while his first opponent in Turin, Rublev, enters with a 2022 record of 49-18, looking for his second straight 50-win season.

Whoever comes out on top at this year's ATP Finals, the race for supremacy in 2023 promises to be as delightfully chaotic.

Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud were made to work hard for victory in their opening matches at the Paris Masters on Tuesday.

For Djokovic, a 10th win in a row came in an absorbing battle with his Paris-born American opponent Maxime Cressy, who displayed a typically aggressive approach on serve, with 15 aces and 10 double faults overall.

Djokovic was strong on his own delivery, however, with the Serbian losing just six points on serve and not facing a break point on his way to a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 victory.

"I'm happy with the way I played," Djokovic said. "When chances were presented, I was able to use them, even though I did have some missed break points.

"But it was very challenging, first match with a guy who serves extremely well and strong and fast.

"He's comfortable coming to the net. It's nice to see. I think he's the only guy that really comes to the net after every first and second serve. I think it's good for tennis to see that, particularly in these modern times when most of the players are playing from back of the court. He's a very athletic guy.

"It's difficult to play him definitely in these kind of conditions where balls are flying through the court and it's quicker than it was last year. So tough to break.

"But I didn't make too many unforced errors. I'm very pleased with the way I served, with the way I was holding my service games. Just the way I felt, the way I played, it was all positive."

Third seed Ruud ground out a 6-1 7-6 (9-7) victory against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, with the Norwegian saving three of four break points in what proved to be a tightly fought contest.

Mistakes from Gasquet were ultimately costly, the veteran having 10 unforced errors in the second set compared to Ruud's two.

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev was also victorious, the Russian winning 6-2 6-3 against American John Isner, while the British duo of Jack Draper and Dan Evans progressed to the last-32 stage, beating Arthur Rinderknech and Brandon Nakashima respectively.

Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out of the Vienna Open after losing in a dramatic third-set tie-break against Borna Coric, who claimed his third successive win over the Greek ace.

The second seed was the highest-profile casualty in the Austrian capital on Thursday, as he succumbed to the Croatian once more 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

Coric rescued six match points before stunning Tsitsipas at the 2020 US Open, while he also triumphed when they collided in the Cincinnati showpiece in August.

The world number 27's chances of completing a hat-trick of victories appeared bleak at a set and break down, but he rallied to force a decider that went the distance, before holding his nerve for another notable win.

Coric's reward is a quarter-final clash with Hubert Hurkacz, who boosted his chances of qualifying for next month's ATP Finals with a 7-5 4-6 6-3 win over Emil Ruusuvuori.

Daniil Medvedev advanced to the last eight after a 6-3 6-3 victory over home favourite Dominic Thiem. Next up for the top seed is Jannik Sinner after the Italian saw off Francisco Cerundolo 7-5 6-3.

Third seed Andrey Rublev's ATP Finals hopes were dented after a 6-3 6-4 defeat by Grigor Dimitrov, who will play Marcos Giron after the American overcame seventh seed Cameron Norrie in straight sets.

Over in Basel, third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime required just 49 minutes to complete a commanding 6-1 6-0 rout of Miomir Kecmanovic for his 10th straight ATP win.

Meanwhile, Stockholm champion Holger Rune continued his momentum by recording a seventh straight victory after seeing off Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-2.

Sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut enjoyed a straight-sets win over three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray to set up a clash with home favourite Stan Wawrinka, who outlasted Brandon Nakashima in a deciding set.

Andrey Rublev defeated Sebastian Korda in straight sets in Sunday's Gijon Open final to land his 12th ATP Tour title.

The Russian had already prevailed in Belgrade, Dubai and Marseille this year and added another crown to his collection with a 6-2 6-3 victory against Korda in 75 minutes.

Top seed Rublev had dropped only one set in his three matches en route to the final and impressed against Korda with 29 winners, three breaks and just four unforced errors.

Korda, seeking a second Tour-level trophy following success in Parma last year, had his serve broken in the fourth and eighth games of the opening set.

Some heavy-hitting exchanges kept spectators gripped, though Rublev proved too strong for Korda in the second set and earned the only break in the sixth game.

Rublev got over the line with his fourth match point and remains sixth in the chase for an ATP Finals spot, with four of those ahead of him already qualified, along with Novak Djokovic. 

Andrey Rublev set up a final meeting with Sebastian Korda at the Gijon Open, overcoming Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the last four.

The world number nine battled through an up-and-down opener before remaining patient to seal the second set and the match on Thiem's serve, taking a 6-4 6-4 victory.

Russian Rublev has now won eight successive sets of tennis against the 2020 US Open champion, and he is one win away from his fourth title of 2022 after triumphs in Belgrade, Dubai and Marseille.

Speaking on court after the win, Rublev said: "I was lucky I played a really good game and Dominic helped me out a little bit.

"Then I felt more confident and I was able to win in two sets, which was the most important thing. This week I have been playing really well, and I'll try to show my best tennis of the week tomorrow."

Korda will be Rublev's opponent on Sunday after the American saw off France's Arthur Rinderknech for a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win.

Meanwhile, at the Firenze Open, top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime saw off home favourite Lorenzo Musetti 6-2 6-3, moving one step closer to a second ATP Tour title.

The Canadian will face JJ Wolf in the final in Florence, after the American clinched a 6-4 6-4 win over Sweden's Mikael Ymer.

Andy Murray's run at the Gijon Open came to an end with a three-set loss to Sebastian Korda on Friday, dashing his hopes of a semi-final appearance in Spain.

Murray earned his fourth Tour-level quarter-final spot of 2022 by beating Pedro Cachin, but American Korda defeated the former world number one 6-4 1-6 6-1.

Korda will face Arthur Rinderknech in the last four after he upset second seed Pablo Carreno Busta, taking an epic final-set tie-break to triumph 4-6 6-3 7-6 (18-16).

The other side of the draw will play host to an enticing semi-final meeting between Dominic Thiem and top seed Andrey Rublev after they secured straight-sets wins over Francisco Cerundolo and Tommy Paul respectively.

Thiem said after his 6-4 6-3 triumph over Cerundolo: "From the first match on, I have felt great on this court.

"It is very important for me as I am trying to climb up the rankings. The semi-finals at an ATP event is helping a lot."

Meanwhile, top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Brandon Nakashima 6-3 6-4 to reach the Firenze Open semi-finals, where he will face home favourite Lorenzo Musetti.

The third seed from Italy downed Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-2, but fellow seed Alexander Bublik went down 3-6 7-5 6-1 to J. J. Wolf.

Novak Djokovic progressed to the Astana Open final after Daniil Medvedev retired from their last-four clash due to injury.

The two played out a thrilling first two sets, with Medvedev taking the lead before Djokovic fought back to level the match via a tie-break.

However, the Russian was unable to continue after sustaining a leg injury, keeping Djokovic in the hunt for back-to-back titles when he competes in the showpiece, where he will face Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"I really hope that his injury is nothing too serious,” said Djokovic. "I know Daniil, he's a great guy, he's a fighter, he's a big competitor.

"He wouldn't retire a match if he didn't feel that he [could] continue or [if it wouldn't] worsen his injury. He told me that he pulled an adductor muscle in his leg.

"It was such a close match, particularly in the second set. I would probably say he was a better player on the court in both sets. I was fighting and trying to find a way.

"I found a way to win the second, but I'm just sad for the tournament and for these people who were enjoying the battle, and for Daniil that it had to end this way."

Third seed Tsitsipas started slowly in the first set against Andrey Rublev but managed to triumph 4-6 6-4 6-3 in Saturday's other semi-final.

"My mentality kind of changed," said Tsitsipas, who will seek his first ATP 500 title at the ninth attempt. "I played with more of an aggressive game style and didn’t have anything by luck."

At the Japan Open, Taylor Fritz battled back from 3-1 down in the deciding set against Denis Shapovalov to claim a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 semi-final victory and book his place in his third ATP Tour final this season.

Third seed Fritz faces an all-American clash in Sunday's final against Frances Tiafoe, who dropped his first set of the week as Soonwoo Kwon bageled him, but the US Open semi-finalist recorded a 6-2 0-6 6-4 win.

"It was a weird match, but I'm happy to get through," said Tiafoe, who progressed into his second final of the season and fifth overall.

"It's not always going to be pretty, it's not always going to be the best stuff, but a win is what matters."

Novak Djokovic set up a semi-final meeting with Daniil Medvedev at the Astana Open on Friday, cruising past Karen Khachanov in the last eight.

Djokovic complemented a fine display of serving by converting three of his five break points in a 6-4 6-3 victory, recording his seventh consecutive win following his absence from the US Open.

The 21-time grand slam champion has now reached six semi-finals this year, but saw room for improvement in his performance after beating the world number 18.

"I didn't play as well from the baseline as I did in the first two matches, but still it was enough," Djokovic said. "I managed to produce some good tennis when it was most needed in both sets."

Looking ahead to his final-four match, the Serb added: "I always expect highs from myself. Hopefully I can elevate still the level of my game for tomorrow, because it's going to be needed." 

Djokovic will face an 11th tour-level meeting with Medvedev in the next round after his fellow former world number one recorded a dominant 6-1 6-1 win over Roberto Bautista Agut.

On the other side of the draw, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (10-8) 6-3, and will now face Andrey Rublev after he eased to a 6-1 6-2 win over Adrian Mannarino.

At the Japan Open, a knee injury forced Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios to withdraw from his meeting with Taylor Fritz, with the American set to take on Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals.

Seventh seed Shapovalov saw off Borna Coric 6-4 6-3 to reach the final four, while fourth seed Frances Tiafoe advanced with a 6-0 6-4 win against Miomir Kecmanovic.

South Korea's Kwon Soon-woo claimed the final place in the semi-finals in Tokyo, beating Spain's Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-0

World number nine Andrey Rublev comfortably beat qualifier Laslo Djere 6-4 6-3 to secure his place in the second round of the Astana Open.

The fifth seed found a crucial break of serve when leading the opener 5-4 to take the first set in Kazakhstan, before winning the next three games to put himself in the ascendancy in the second.

And despite a desperate last stand to stay in the match from Djere, Rublev held serve three times with relative ease to finish off his Serbian opponent.

Eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime served 14 aces to Roberto Bautista-Agut's two in their first-round match, but it was the Spaniard who advanced with a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) success.

Meanwhile, world number 10 Hubert Hurkacz overcame Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets.

Adrian Mannarino, the runner-up in Astana in 2020, came from a set down to beat Stan Wawrinka – playing as a wildcard – 1-6 6-2 6-3, and qualifier Zhizhen Zhang romped to victory with a superb third set to seal a 4-6 6-4 6-1 comeback win of his own over Aslan Karatsev.

At the Tokyo Open, fourth seed Frances Tiafoe cruised into the second round with a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Yasutaka Uchiyama, one of three Japanese players who crashed out at the first-round stage of their home tournament.

Uchiyama's countrymen Taro Daniel and Shintaro Mochizuki also tasted defeat at the hands of Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Brandon Nakashima, respectively.

Frances Tiafoe celebrated a "crazy" win after his defeat of Andrey Rublev saw him become the first American man to reach the US Open semi-finals in 16 years.

Tiafoe stunned Rafael Nadal on Monday and followed up that career-high by reaching the last four of a major for the first time on Wednesday.

Ninth seed Rublev, who has lost all six of his grand slam quarter-finals, stood in his way but Tiafoe prevailed 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-0) 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 24-year-old is the first male player from the United States to reach a semi-final at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick in 2006.

Roddick went on to reach the final that year, though fell short of winning a second US Open final as he lost to Roger Federer.

This time around, Tiafoe will face either Jannik Sinner or Carlos Alcaraz, who has a shot at becoming the new world number one. 

"This is wild, this is crazy," world number 26 Tiafoe said after his win. 

"I had the biggest win of my life 48 hours ago and coming out and getting another big win. Andrey's a hell of a player, and to back it up, that's huge. It's tough to turn the page, but I did and now I'm in the semis.

"I feel so at home on courts like this. This court is unbelievable. [The crowd] gets so far behind me, I want to play, I want to give my best. I always find a way somehow on this court, I always play some great tennis and I have been. Let's enjoy this, we've got two more."

Tiafoe might well be the only home hope left for the American crowd to back in New York come the end of play on Wednesday, with Jessica Pegula facing the daunting task of taking on world number one Iga Swiatek in the women's singles.

World number one Daniil Medvedev strolled to victory for his first title of the year at the Los Cabos Open with a 7-5 6-0 demolition of reigning champion Cameron Norrie on Saturday.

The Russian, returning to hard-court tennis in Mexico this week ahead of his US Open title defence, pulled away after an injury timeout late in the first set to comfortably triumph against the 12th-ranked Briton.

Medvedev won every game after the timeout, taken for treatment on a hand issue, after scores were locked at 5-5, with both players having broken serve in the first set.

The third-seeded defending champion had no answers in a lopsided second set which only lasted 26 minutes.

This year's Australian Open runner-up, playing in his fourth final of the season, sent down 5-0 aces and converted six of 10 break points for the match to secure his 14th career title. He was exceptional on serve, with a 67 per cent first-serve win percentage.

The triumph capped an excellent week for Medvedev, who did not drop a set across five wins.

"Every match was very good, but the final match is always special," Medvedev said on court after the match. "It's always a high-level match and I'm really happy I managed to show some good levels and play some good shots."

Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios will take on unseeded Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in the Washington Open final on Sunday after maintaining his unblemished record at this year's event with a 7-6 6-3 victory over Mikael Ymer on Saturday.

Kyrgios, who won in Washington DC in 2019, had played twice on Friday following rain delays on Thursday but found his passage through with 10 aces including one on match point to secure victory in one hour and 34 minutes.

"I didn’t play anywhere near my best tennis today," Kyrgios said. "I served pretty solid, but from the back of the court I didn’t play well at all. I'm just happy to be in the final once again."

Kyrgios is yet to drop serve throughout this year's tournament and has knocked off seeds Francis Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul along the way.

The Australian will take on Nishioka who stunned top seed Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 20 minutes to secure a spot in his third career final, beating a top 10 opponent for the third time in his career.

Rublev blasted 21-8 winners but also hit 31-14 unforced errors, with the Japanese's consistency proving enough for victory.

Nick Kyrgios started his Friday by finishing off his third-round win against Reilly Opelka, and his business was not finished until after 1am local time when he defeated Frances Tiafoe 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (14-12) 6-2 in the quarter-final.

Due to length rain delays on Thursday, Kyrgios was one of five players forced to abandon their matches and return to finish them first thing on Friday, with Kyrgios and Russia's Andrey Rublev the only two to successfully navigate both.

Tiafoe defeated Botic van de Zandschulp 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the morning, but Kyrgios' ability to keep his service games short was a decisive factor, winning the ace count 35-14 and not conceding a single break all match.

Rublev had to deal with Maxime Cressy in the morning, winning 6-4 7-6 (10-8), setting up a quarter-final later at night against J.J. Wolf after the American defeated Holger Rune 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Rublev made his second match look far easier, cruising through 6-2 6-3 to earn a semi-final against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka after he needed over three-and-a-half hours to beat Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-5.

In an all-unseeded semi-final, Kyrgios will play Sweden's Mikael Ymer, who fought his way past Sebastian Korda 6-2 5-7 6-3 after the American beat Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 4-6 6-1 6-2 earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, down in Mexico at the Los Cabos Open, Daniil Medvedev earned his spot in the final by defeating Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 (7-0) 6-1.

Medvedev will play England's Cameron Norrie for the title after he prevailed in arguably the match of the tournament against top-10 talent Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Nick Kyrgios barely broke a sweat on his way to a 6-3 6-2 win against Marcos Giron in the opening round of the Washington Open, finishing the job in an even 60 minutes.

The talented Australian, who won the doubles title at last week's Atlanta Open with compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, showed off his imposing serve against Giron. He won the ace count 12-to-four, while converting 82 per cent (28-of-34) of his successful first serves into points.

Earlier in the day, Daniel Evans won an all-English showdown against Kyle Edmund 6-1 6-2, but fellow Englishman Jack Draper was not so lucky against Russia's Andrey Rublev, going down 6-4 6-2.

Winner of the singles title at the Atlanta Open, Jenson Brooksby could not keep his strong form going as he lost 6-4 6-3 to Yoshihito Nishioka. Mackenzie McDonald lost to Brooksby in Atlanta, and he was also bounced in the first round by Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 1-6 6-4 6-4.

America's Chris Eubanks won a tough three-setter against France's Benjamin Bonzi 3-6 6-3 7-5, and Sebastian Korda passed the test of in-form Ilya Ivashka 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

Veteran Jack Sock got the better of Belgium's David Goffin 7-6 (7-4) 6-4, and the Netherlands' Botic van de Zandschulp fought off frisky Croatian Borna Gojo 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 to narrowly avoid an upset from a player ranked 170 spots lower.

Meanwhile, at the Los Cabos open in Mexico, Kokkinakis continued his march back up the rankings with a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 win against Fernando Verdasco.

Kokkinakis will play American Steve Johnson in the second round after he collected a straight sets 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win against Argentina's Gonzalo Villanueva.

Romania's Radu Albot defeated Spain's Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to book his place in the second round against Australian Jason Kubler, who won his 10th match from his past 12 fixtures to beat Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-1.

The only Mexican in the draw, Alex Hernandez, made the most his wildcard to win his first tour-level match, defeating Nicolas Barrientos 3-6 6-4 6-4 to become the first Mexican player to win at Los Cabos.

Facundo Bagnis was the only of the three Argentines to make it through, with a 6-3 6-1 win over Ernesto Escobado, Brandon Nakashima defeated Kaichi Uchida 7-6 (7-1) 6-2, and Jordan Thompson rounded out the day's action with a comfortable 6-3 6-0 triumph over Yannick Hanfmann.

Andrey Rublev crashed out of the Hamburg European Open in straight sets against Francisco Cerundolo, as top seed Carlos Alcaraz cruised past Filip Krajinovic to reach the quarter-finals.

Second seed Rublev was the latest scalp of Cerundolo's fine run of form, the Argentine making it seven consecutive wins by wrapping up a 6-4 6-2 success in just an hour and a half in Germany.

Having furthered his momentum with a second top-10 win in as many weeks, Cerundolo said: "It is the first time it has happened for me. I am playing against the top guys and I am playing well, it is unbelievable."

Cerundolo will face Aslan Karatsev in the last eight after he recovered from a set down to beat Daniel Elahi Galan 3-6 6-3 6-4.

World number six Alcaraz fared better than Rublev, registering a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win over Krajinovic to tee up a final-four meeting with Karen Khachanov, who beat Fabio Fognini in straight sets.

Meanwhile, a host of big names including Casper Rudd and Matteo Berrettini reached the last eight of the Swiss Open in Gstaad, as Dominic Thiem continued his revival with a win over Federico Delbonis.

Thiem reached his second quarter-final in as many weeks with an impressive 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 triumph despite letting a 5-2 lead slip in the opener, registering his first tour-level straight-sets victory since May 2021.

Having set up a meeting with Juan Pablo Varillas, the 2020 US Open champion beamed: "I have won two matches which means a lot to me right now, I really need those ranking points. Every match win is something very special."

The Austrian will be joined in the next round by first and second seeds Ruud and Berrettini, who eased past Jiri Lehecka and Richard Gasquet respectively.

Spanish duo Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pedro Martinez also both progressed to the last eight despite dropping a set, with the latter setting up an enticing clash with Berrettini on Friday.

Pablo Carreno Busta saw his title defence at the Hamburg European Open come to an early end as he crashed out on Wednesday, while Andrey Rublev progressed with ease.

Carreno Busta fell to a 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-5) second-round defeat against Slovakian Alex Molcan, who progressed to a fourth ATP Tour quarter-final this season.

World number 48 Molcan will next meet Borna Coric after the Croatian eased past Tallon Griekspoor 6-3 6-4, registering back-to-back tour-levels wins for the first time in 17 months.

Second seed Rublev coasted through his first-round clash with Ricardas Berankis, triumphing 6-3 6-4 as he improved his record at the ATP 500 clay-court event in Germany to 10-2.

"I am happy with my performance. Ricardas is a really tough player," said world number eight Rublev, who is aiming for his fourth title of the season after success in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade.

"He hits the ball really hard and plays fast, so I had to bring intensity from the first game. I am really happy with how I was serving today and I hit some great shots from the baseline.

"The game he broke me in the second set he played really well. He returned really aggressively and I don’t think I made one first serve. But then I kept [my] focus and broke him straight away again."

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was another comfortable winner, easing past Jozef Kovalik 6-2 6-2 to set up a quarter-final contest with Lorenzo Musetti, who beat Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 7-5.

Play was suspended early at the Swiss Open due to bad weather, with Spaniard Jaume Munar downing Alexander Ritschard 6-3 6-3 in the only match of the day to reach the last eight.

That meant top seed Casper Ruud will have to wait until Thursday to face Jiri Lehecka in Gstaad, with third favourite Roberto Bautista Agut also seeing his match with Juan Pablo Varillas pushed back a day.

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