Arthur Rinderknech continued his fantastic season by defeating Federico Delbonis at the European Open, while Marin Cilic battled through in the Kremlin Cup.

Rinderknech, who sits 65th in the world rankings, had not recorded a Tour-level victory before 2021 but has now triumphed 15 times after cruising past Delbonis 6-4 6-4.

The Frenchman will meet eighth seed Dusan Lajovic in the second round in Antwerp, after the Serbian downed Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 on Monday.

The other first-round clash in Belgium saw Alexei Popyrin capitulate in the third set as he succumbed to a 4-6 6-3 0-6 defeat against world number 62 Botic van de Zandschulp.

Americans Jenson Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima also booked their places in the main draw. Brooksby defeated Norbert Gombos 6-4 6-2, while Nakashima overcame Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2 6-4.

Meanwhile in Russia, Cilic – who has claimed the crown in Moscow twice previously – recovered from a first-set scare in his round-of-32 tie with qualifier Damir Dzumhur, eventually triumphing 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-1.

John Millman experienced similar difficulties, with Benjamin Bonzi claiming the first set before the Australian succeeded 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3 to set up a potential second-round match against fifth seed Alexander Bublik.

Pablo Carreno Busta headlined the casualties at the Winston-Salem Open, where the top seed was shocked in straight sets by Ilya Ivashka.

The 2016 champion, Carreno Busta had his sights set on the semi-finals of the ATP 250 tournament but he suffered a surprise 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 loss on Thursday.

"Of course it's a great feeling. I had a great match today. These conditions suit me," Ivashka said. "I think he had more pressure because he's the top seed so for me it was a good challenge to see what my level is and to compete with these guys, so for me it was a great match."

Carreno Busta – who trumped world number one and 20-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic to win bronze at the Olympic Games – was not the only seed to fall.

Richard Gasquet and Frances Tiafoe also crashed out in the quarter-finals following defeats to Emil Ruusuvuori and Mikael Ymer.

The only seed to advance to the semis was 15th seed Carlos Alcaraz, who saw off Marcos Giron.

Pablo Carreno Busta sailed into the quarter-finals of the Winston-Salem Open an the top seed was joined by Richard Gasquet.

Carreno Busta – the 2016 champion – was too good for Dominik Koepfer 6-2 6-3 at the ATP 250 tournament on Wednesday.

The Spaniard, who stunned world number one Novak Djokovic to win bronze at the Olympic Games, will meet Ilya Ivashka, who upstaged ninth seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2 6-1.

"It was a very good match. I think I played very aggressively today, I made a lot of winners," Carreno Busta said. "I played against him the last two tournaments so it was important to me at the beginning of the match to be very focused and play very aggressive so I think this was a very good match for me.

"I'm feeling really comfortable playing this year, also. We know next we have the US Open but day by day I need the confidence, I need the rhythm. I think that I'm playing at a really good level so I would like to continue this way."

Former world number seven Richard Gasquet saw off third seed Daniel Evans 6-4 7-6 (7-4), Frances Tiafoe defeated Thiago Monteiro 7-5 7-6 (7-2), while fourth seed Marton Fucsovics was sent packing by Carlos Alcaraz 6-3 0-6 6-2.

Lucas Pouille continues to build momentum at the Winston-Salem Open after overcoming veteran Feliciano Lopez in straight sets.

Pouille was on the brink of elimination in qualifying after facing match point before booking his spot in the main draw.

Now, the Frenchman is preparing for the second round following his 6-1 6-4 victory over Lopez on Monday.

Pouille saved all four break points he faced as the former world number 10 claimed his first ATP Tour-level victory since April's Monte Carlo Masters.

Awaiting Pouille in the second round is third seed Daniel Evans, who received a bye in the opening round.

As for 14th seed Richard Gasquet, he prevailed 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (8-6) against Egor Gerasimov at the ATP 250 event.

Elsewhere, Federico Coria and Jordan Thompson were among the players to progress.

Andy Murray looked sharp in his first singles match since Wimbledon, rolling to a straight-sets win over Richard Gasquet at the Western and Southern Open. 

Murray defeated the veteran Frenchman 6-4 6-4 on a rainy opening day in Cincinnati, capitalising on a strong service game to advance. 

Murray had 14 aces to just two double faults and won 81 per cent of points on his first serve while saving four of the five break points he faced. 

A two-time champion at the ATP 1000 event, he will face the winner of Tuesday's match between Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the second round. 

Two players who shared a birthday Monday also prevailed on their big day. 

On the day he turned 20, 11th seed Jannik Sinner defeated Federico Delbonis 6-2 7-5, while 10th seed Diego Schwartzman had to work a bit harder on his 28th birthday to down Daneil Evans 6-2 4-6 6-3. 

Elsewhere, 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (7-0) 6-3, while 14th seed Alex de Minaur rallied to down Filip Krajinovic 0-6 6-4 6-4. 

Fifteenth seed David Goffin fell 6-3 6-3 to Guido Pella in the only seeded upset of the day. 

Other winners Monday included Karen Khachanov, Fabio Fognini, Lloyd Harris, Dominik Koepfer, Benoit Paire, Albert Ramos Vinolas and Mackenzie McDonald. 

Among those set to play their opening matches Tuesday are third seed Alexander Zverev, who will face Harris, and sixth seed Denis Shapovalov, who plays Paire. 

Carlos Alcaraz won his first of possibly many ATP Tour titles on Sunday with an emphatic victory over Richard Gasquet at the Croatia Open. 

The 6-2 6-2 win in Umag meant 18-year-old Alcaraz became the youngest tour-level champion since Kei Nishikori won at Delray Beach in 2008, also aged 18.

Despite his tender years, seventh seed Alcaraz was too hot to handle for Gasquet, the highly rated Spaniard cruising past his significantly more experienced opponent in one hour and 17 minutes.

"I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players," Alcaraz told atptour.com.

"I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It's going to be useful for the future."

Gasquet, who needed more than three hours to overcome Daniel Altmaier in the last four, was hoping to win his first tour title since 's-Hertogenbosch in 2018.

"It was tough for me to play [with] full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin," Gasquet said.

"He’s playing unbelievable. He’s only 18 and of course he has a great future and I just couldn’t play at his level and his intensity.

"That was the key of the match and he didn't lose a point. He played well, very solid. He's a great player."

Roberto Bautista Agut crashed out to Arthur Rinderknech in the second round of the Swiss Open Gstaad on Wednesday, while fifth seed Federico Delbonis also failed to progress.

Rinderknech, who is ranked exactly 100th in the world, picked up the biggest win of his career in style as he dispatched of second seed Agut with a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victory

In another upset, world number 155 Hugo Gaston laid down an early marker with a first-set demolition of Delbonis, who lost out to eventual winner Pablo Carreno Busta in the Hamburg European Open semi-finals last week, before he triumphed in three sets, 6-0 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-3).

Fourth seed Cristian Garin cruised past Marc Polmans 6-3 6-0 to wrap the match up in less than an hour and seal his fifth ATP quarter-final of 2021.

Another semi-finalist in Hamburg, Laslo Djere survived a second-set scare to eliminate Zizou Bergs with a 6-2 4-6 6-2 win, which sets up a last-eight tie with Rinderknech.

At the Croatia Open in Umag, fourth seed Richard Gasquet battled past qualifier Alessandro Giannessi to secure a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 victory.

Top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas also progressed, winning 7-5 6-4 to eliminate Duje Ajdukovic on his home turf.

Benoit Paire was gifted a place in the second round at the Hamburg European Open by Ricardas Berankis' foot injury, but fellow countryman Richard Gasquet could not get past Marco Cecchinato in his first-round clash in Sweden.

Lithuania's Berankis forced Paire to a first-set tiebreak but, due to rolling his ankle earlier in the game, then had no option but to retire hurt.

His retirement granted Paire just his third ATP win of 2021.

At the same event, there was also a first ever ATP win for Sebastian Baez, who coasted past Corentin Moutet 6-1 6-2 to claim a straight-sets victory.

In the Nordea Open, held in Bastad, Italian Cecchinato triumphed over former world number seven Gasquet 6-2 5-7 6-3 to reach the second round.

The 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, who fought off Gasquet's second-set comeback, will now face either Federico Coria or Francisco Cerundolo in the next round.

In the other first-round ties, Yannick Hanfmann recorded a straight-sets win over Thiago Monteiro, while Elias Ymer, playing in his home country, beat Taro Daniel 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-4.

Roger Federer cruised into the third round of Wimbledon with a straight-sets win over Richard Gasquet on Thursday.

The sixth seed, seeking a record-extending ninth title at the All England Club, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 54 minutes to set up a tie with home hopeful Cameron Norrie.

Federer was slightly fortunate to overcome Adrian Mannarino in his opening match, and the world number eight was initially given a tough time by another Frenchman in Gasquet.

He saved three break points in the second game and held serve throughout the remainder of the opening set, as did his opponent to force a tie-break that proved one-sided.

Using the momentum, Federer broke Gasquet in the second and fourth games and sealed the second set with one of his 10 aces.

Gasquet had not defeated Federer since 2011 and any hopes of ending that run faded further when he was forced into an error in the seventh game of the third set for the only break.

Federer had little trouble in seeing out the win on Centre Court, confirmed when Gasquet failed to overturn a decision from Hawk-Eye after running out of challenges.

"I know Richard really well. We've played so many times against each other," Federer said in his on-court interview. "It's always a pleasure playing against him.

"It was a wonderful match. I'm happy with my performance. It was a tough first set. I was happy with the second set and I was better in the third, so I'm very, very happy."

 

Data Slam: Dominant Federer finding his feet

Federer may not be a clear favourite for this year's competition as he makes his latest return from injury, but the 20-time major winner will still take some stopping in SW19.

He won 84 per cent of the points behind his first serve and proved far too strong for Gasquet with 49 winners helping to stretch ​his own record for Wimbledon match wins to 103.

Next up is a challenge of a different type, with Federer taking on British number two Norrie in front of an expectant home crowd on Saturday.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 50/26
Gasquet – 20/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer – 10/0
Gasquet – 3/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 3/6
Gasquet – 0/5

Rafael Nadal stormed into the third round of the French Open with a straight-sets defeat of Richard Gasquet under the floodlights in Paris.

Gasquet, the final French player in either the men's or women's draws, offered some resistance after a terrible start but succumbed 6-0 7-5 6-2 in two hours and 14 minutes.

Nadal has now beaten Gasquet in all 17 of their meetings on Tour, with the Frenchman falling to a Spaniard for the second tournament running, having lost 6-1 6-1 to Jaume Munar in Parma last month.

The 20-time major singles champion turned 35 on Thursday and seemed eager to go and enjoy what remained of his birthday as he reeled off the first seven games in a row inside half an hour.

Gasquet at last got on the board after a couple of strangely errant forehands from the defending champion, who broke Gasquet again at the third time of asking as he moved 4-1 ahead in the second set.

Gasquet might have dropped to 53 in the rankings, but he offered glimpses of the form that saw him climb as high as seven in the world back in 2008, the one-handed backhand and drop-shot game causing Nadal some problems.

There was a shock when he broke back at 4-5 behind in the second set as Nadal looped another forehand long, but Nadal piled on the pressure at 6-5 and took a 2-0 lead when Gasquet slapped a forehand into the bottom of the net.

A sublime volley and a rasping passing shot saw Gasquet fend off two more break points at 1-2 in the third, but his resistance was finally broken in a mammoth sixth game.

Gasquet's serve deserted him at the wrong moment as he handed Nadal two match points, the second of which was taken via another forehand into the net.

Data Slam: Nadal keeps Gasquet at arm's length

Nadal dropped just seven of 45 points behind his first serve, which averaged speeds of 180km/h, leaving Gasquet with few opportunities to knock the Spaniard off his game.

Such authority meant Gasquet had little chance of snapping his losing streak against Nadal, whose 17 wins from 17 meetings is a career record.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 36/23
Gasquet – 20/37

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 3/3
Gasquet – 2/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/16
Gasquet – 1/4

Alex de Minaur's tough run of form continued as he let a set lead slip to lose to Jeremy Chardy at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday.

De Minaur, the ninth seed in Dubai, won his first tournament of 2021 in Antalya in January.

However, the Australian's results since then have rapidly declined and his latest loss - 2-6 6-3 6-4 to Chardy - means he is 3-5 since his title in Turkey.

De Minaur seized his first two break points against Chardy, yet the next four came and went while his opponent proved clinical, taking his only two opportunities and snatching victory.

The Frenchman, who reached the semi-finals in Antalya and again at an ATP 250 event in Melbourne prior to the Australian Open, said: "I've played good since the beginning of the year.

"It is always easier to play when you are confident. If you play a bad set, it is never finished. I stayed focused and tried to find a solution."

It was not a successful start to the week for De Minaur's compatriots either, as John Millman was among three other Aussies to crash out.

Christopher O'Connell missed the chance to set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem as Lloyd Harris advanced, and qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori saw off Jordan Thompson ahead of facing Andrey Rublev.

Marton Fucsovics was back in action after handing a walkover to Rublev, the same man who had previously beaten him to the Rotterdam Open title, in Qatar last week.

He defeated Vasek Pospisil in three sets, while there was a milestone win for Richard Gasquet, another man unable to line up against Rublev in Doha.

A 6-4 6-2 win over Marco Cecchinato was his 550th on the ATP Tour, making him only the sixth active player to that mark after the 'big four' of Roger Federer (1,243), Rafael Nadal (1,008), Novak Djokovic (943) and Andy Murray (677) and Spain's Fernando Verdasco (552).

"I am feeling great here," Gasquet said. "I know this court well. I played well last year. It is a fast court. I like to play on it.

"It is important to serve well and it was a great match. I started well, feeling confident and winning the first set, and then I played better in the second set."

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