Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori collected a big-name scalp on the opening day of the Canadian Open, defeating three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka 6-3 3-6 6-3 on Monday.

Although the 37-year-old Wawrinka is no longer at his best – ranked 322nd in the world – he still put up a strong fight against his 23-year-old opponent, creating eight break point opportunities in the match while facing nine.

Ruusuvuori will play eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the second round in a tough matchup, while Slovakia's Alex Molcan will play fourth seed Casper Ruud after defeating American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Molcan's advantage was in his serve, winning 74 per cent (49-of-66) of his service points compared to 59 per cent (49-of-83) for McDonald.

In a clash between a pair of top-30 talents, Russia's Karen Khachanov got the better of Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-3. He will play the winner between 13th seed Marin Cilic and Croatia's Borna Coric next.

Recent runner-up of the Atlanta Open Jenson Brooskby had no issues with Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik, winning 6-2 6-3, and he will likely play Roberto Bautista-Agut in the second round as the Spaniard leads 7-6 (7-5) 2-1 with a break in the second set when a rain delay ended the day's play.

One of Canada's top hopes, Denis Shapovalov, will have his back up against the wall when his match resumes against Alex de Minaur, losing the first set 7-5, with the rain arriving in the middle of the second-set tiebreaker.

Jack Draper will head back onto the court with a set advantage against Hugo Gaston after winning the opener 6-2, although he will have to save a break point first up.

Rafael Nadal proved his fitness on his return to action ahead of Wimbledon with a routine straight-sets victory over Stan Wawrinka in Wednesday's exhibition match.

The 37-year-old has won the Australian Open and French Open titles already this year, but his bid for a grand slam sweep was halted by a troublesome foot problem.

Nadal triumphed at Roland Garros despite needing pain-killing injections before every match, leaving his fitness in doubt for Wimbledon next week.

However, the 22-time grand slam winner confirmed last week he was planning on taking part in the third major of the year after spending time training on grass in Mallorca.

And in his first match since beating Casper Ruud in the French Open final two-and-a-half weeks ago, Nadal eased past Wawrinka at the Hurlingham Club in London.

The Spaniard raced into a five-game lead in the opener and, despite losing his break of serve in the seventh game, saw out a straightforward opening set.

Playing in front of around 1,300 spectators, Nadal was pushed a little harder in the second set but still came through relatively unscathed to win 6-2 6-3 in a little over an hour.

Wawrinka, who has been handed a wild card for Wimbledon, expects Nadal to be right in the mix for a third crown at All England Club, 12 years on from his most recent triumph.

"After that I have a lot to work on," he joked. "But it's OK, it's against Rafa. We are used to losing against him. It's normal!.

"I don't know how he's feeling – it looks like normal Rafa. He has been saying he is feeling better and if he is playing he is ready to play his best and to win.

"I think Rafa any time he enters a grand slam is going to be one of the favourites, if not the favourite. 

"He won the first two slams of the year without too many matches before those grand slams so he got a lot of confidence so of course he is part of the favourites."

As well as twice winning Wimbledon, Nadal has also reached the semi-finals in his past two appearances in 2018 and 2019.

After getting a first grass-court appearance in three years under his belt, he is hoping for more happy memories during his time in the English capital.

"I have spent some fantastic moments here in London," he said. "Playing of course at the World Tour Finals a lot of times but of course playing at Wimbledon since 2003. 

"It was always a big goal and a dream for me to achieve important things here at Wimbledon and I was able to make that happen for the first time in 2008. 

"Since that moment, I always come back with the same passion and I always feel very welcomed by the crowd here."
 
Nadal will be number two seed when the draw takes place on Friday, with long-time rival Novak Djokovic the top seed in the absence of Daniil Medvedev.

Top seed Casper Ruud suffered a shock first-round exit at the Queen's Club Championships, going down in straight sets to British ATP Tour debutant Ryan Peniston in west London.

The French Open runner-up struggled to get going as he fell to a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) defeat to the world number 180, who was backed by a boisterous home crowd throughout.

Ruud struggled from the off as Peniston forced four break points in the Norwegian's first service game, and his miserable outing was rounded off when his opponent raced into a 5-1 lead before serving out a second-set tie-break.

After claiming the scalp of the world number five, Peniston told the BBC: "I can't really believe it. It feels like a dream. It doesn't feel real.

"I think I've been playing well. Casper is an unreal player and he did so well at the French Open, so I knew it was a tough ask. Four or five years ago I was sitting in the crowd just watching so to be here now is just unreal."

Ruud was not the only big name to fall at the first hurdle, with fifth seed Diego Schwartzman going down 6-1 6-4 against big-serving Sam Querrey to become the fourth of the top five seeds to fail to reach the round of 16.

Second seed and defending champion Matteo Berrettini is the exception after faring much better against another home favourite, cruising past Dan Evans 6-3 6-3, while Stan Wawrinka downed Francis Tiafoe 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-5), and Denis Shapovalov's clash with Tommy Paul was suspended by darkness at one set apiece. 

Elsewhere, world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas progressed through his opening match at the Halle Open, beating Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 6-3 to set up an enticing last-16 clash with Nick Kyrgios, who bested Daniel Altmaier 6-3 7-5.

Fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime also progressed after being taken to three sets, beating Marcos Giron 6-3 5-7 6-3.

Meanwhile, defending champion Ugo Humbert will face a tough round-of-16 match against fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz after the Pole overcame Maxime Cressy 6-4 4-6 6-4. 

Rafael Nadal suffered his earliest Internazionali d'Italia exit since 2008 at the hands of Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, but Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarter-finals. 

'King of Clay' Nadal fell to a 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to Shapovalov in the third round in Rome, with the Canadian surging to victory after winning 12 straight points from 2-2 in the deciding set. 

The legendary Spaniard stormed through the first set thanks to a series of brilliant returns, but his opponent dominated at the net in the second to take the match the distance. 

Shapovalov then flipped the narrative on its head by winning 14 of a possible 22 return points to set up a quarter-final meeting with Casper Ruud, who beat Jenson Brooksby 6-3 6-4. 

Djokovic is one win away from retaining his status as world number one after taking just 75 minutes to see off three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2. 

After a lengthy spell out injured, Wawrinka ended a 15-month wait for an ATP Tour victory at Foro Italico before the Serbian brought his run to an end. 

"It is great to see Stan back and winning. He won two tough matches. You can see he is still not physically where he wants to be. But, nevertheless, he is Stan Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time," Djokovic said. 

"I managed to do well from the beginning. I really moved him around the court and held my serve comfortably except for that loss of my serve in the second set." 

Felix Auger-Aliassime stands between Djokovic and the number one spot after overcoming lucky loser Marcos Giron 6-3 6-2. 

In the other half of the draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner will play out an entertaining quarter-final after they beat Karen Khachano and Filip Krajinovic respectively. 

Alexander Zverev, the defeated finalist in Madrid last week, beat Alex De Minaur 6-3 7-6 (7-5) and will battle Cristian Garin for a place in the final four.

Stan Wawrinka said he was "feeling great" after securing his first win in 15 months by downing 14th seed Reilly Opelka at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The three-time grand slam winner made his tour return last month after requiring two surgeries on a left foot injury, but rallied after losing his first set against Opelka to secure a memorable 3-6 7-5 6-2 first-round victory.

Speaking after booking a second-round meeting with Laslo Djere, who beat Borna Coric 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 6-2, Wawrinka said his desire to play at the top level never left him, despite his injury woes.

"I think in general I was feeling good on the court, physically I was feeling great," he said. "For sure, when you don't win a match in more than a year, you start to think about it more than you should and not focus on the right things. 

"In general, I think it was a great match, a great battle. I stayed positive. I started to feel much better with my tennis by the end of the second set, and in the third set. I'm really happy with this victory.

"After two surgeries, at my age I could easily have stopped playing because my career is way better than what I expected when I was young.

"But I still have this fire in me. I still believe that I can play great tennis. I still believe that I make some big results, maybe not now, but in a few months."

Fellow former grand slam champion Dominic Thiem, who also returned from a long injury-enforced absence last month, fared less well, going down in straight sets to Fabio Fognini.

Having lost to Andy Murray at the Madrid Open last time out, 2020 US Open winner Thiem is still chasing his first victory of the year after losing 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to the 34-year-old Italian.

Elsewhere, 13th seed Denis Shapovalov edged an epic three-hour contest against Italy's Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-3, responding after being handed a game penalty for shouting expletives at a partisan crowd in Rome during the second set.

The frustrated Canadian was heard to tell spectators: "Shut the f*** up" when being booed after complaining about a second serve being called out by the umpire, but eventually regained his composure to claim a three-set win.

Shapovalov will face Georgia's world number 25 Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round after he overcame Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-2) 6-2, while the only other seed to play on Monday, Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, cruised to a 6-3 6-2 victory over Federico Delbonis.

The fit-again Stan Wawrinka secured a first win in 15 months by defeating Reilly Opelka at the Internazionali d'Italia on Monday.

Three-time grand slam champion Wawrinka, whose most recent major success came at the 2016 US Open, was competing in just his second ATP Tour match in 14 months after recovering from a foot injury but battled past American Opelka 3-6 7-5 6-2 in Rome.

Opelka seemed to hold the initiative after dominating the first set and boasting a 4-2 advantage in the second, but the 37-year-old Swiss recovered well to fight back against the world number 17.

Wawrinka managed to release his heavy-hitting forehand and close the court by nearer to the net, with Opelka providing no response as the former world number three triumphed in two hours and five minutes.

Laslo Djere or Borna Coric will be the second-round opponent for Wawrinka, who registered his first tour-level win since February 2021.

Before defeating Opelka, Wawrinka had not won a match since he defeated Pedro Sousa at the Australian Open last season.

His only other ATP Tour match since then ended in defeat to Alexander Bublik in Monte Carlo last month.

Stan Wawrinka's ATP Tour return at the Monte-Carlo Masters ended in defeat, while Jannik Sinner came through a tense encounter with Borna Coric. 

The former world number three made his comeback after more than a year out with a left foot injury that required two surgeries but fell to a 3-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to Alexander Bublik in the first round. 

Wawrinka, who entered the tournament as a wildcard having slipped to 236 in the world rankings, came from a break down to take the opening set but fatigue eventually set in and he was eliminated after two hours and seven minutes. 

"I think the body's getting much better," said Wawrinka, who lost in straight sets to Elias Ymer at a Challenger tournament in Marbella two weeks ago. 

"I'm still far away from where I want to be, but I think I'm [going in] the right direction. I think today was a positive match. It was a tough loss, of course, but I'm happy with the way I was playing today. 

"I was playing better, feeling better on the court physically. I spent a lot of mental energy to focus, to stay there as it was tough at the end. But I'm happy with what I have done."

Ninth seed Sinner was taken the distance by Coric before completing a 6-3 2-6 6-3 victory to advance to the second round. 

Sinner took a medical timeout in the second set while he dealt with some apparent abdominal pain, but he was able to battle back and take the win. 

Diego Schwartzman needed over three hours to come from behind and defeat Karen Khachanov 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-3, while his fellow Argentine Federico Delbonis set up a clash with second seed Alexander Zverev by besting Jaume Munar 6-4 3-6 6-4. 

Reigning champion Stefanos Tsitsipas faces a meeting with Fabio Fognini in the second round after the Italian overcame Arthur Rinderknech 7-5 4-6 6-3.  

There were also wins for Hubert Hurkacz, Pablo Carreno Busta, Marin Cilic, Alex de Minaur, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Sebastian Korda. 

Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem made his long-awaited return from a wrist injury on Tuesday, but lost 3-6 4-6 to Pedro Cachin at an ATP Challenger event in Marbella.

Thiem, the former world number three who hasn't played since 2021, started slowly and fell 5-0 behind in the first set against the world number 228.

He improved in the second set but was not able to recover from dropping serve in the first game.

"Obviously, the result today is the bitter part," Thiem posted on his Instagram. "I would have wanted to win, and I have to accept the defeat in a humble manner.

"This is only the beginning of a long way to the top of my game."

Former world number one Andy Murray has been handed a place in the main draw of the US Open after Stanislas Wawrinka pulled out.

Murray, the 2012 champion at Flushing Meadows, reached the second round of the event last year, which was won by Dominic Thiem.

The 34-year-old, who competed in the men's doubles at the Tokyo Olympics, has only played eight Tour-level matches in 2021. He was handed a wildcard for Wimbledon, where he lost in the third round to Denis Shapovalov.

Novak Djokovic is due to lead a strong men's field for the tournament in August, which will be played in front of capacity crowds.

The world number one is seeking to become the first man to win all four major championships in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who are tied with Djokovic on 20 grand slam singles titles, are also set to play.

Wawrinka, himself a champion in New York in 2016, is still recovering from his second foot surgery of the year.

Dan Evans is putting friendship aside after earning a blockbuster showdown against returning superstar Roger Federer at the Qatar Open.

Federer has not played competitively since his semi-final exit at the 2020 Australian Open – the 20-time grand slam champion having undergone knee surgery last year.

But the 39-year-old Swiss great will make his long-awaited comeback against Evans in Doha on Wednesday.

Evans – who has been practicing with Federer – outlasted Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4 1-6 6-2 in the round of 32 at the ATP 250 tournament.

"We obviously practised for [the] past two weeks [in Dubai], and I thought he was playing pretty well," Evans said. "We played plenty of sets. It was competitive. But it's all very different when you get on the match court.

"It will be a lot different tomorrow. It's going to be at night, as well, so a little slower. So we'll see how the match goes."

Second seed Federer – a record three-time Qatar Open champion – watched from the stands on Tuesday and Evans added: "He obviously has seen a lot of my game the past few weeks, so I guess I would say it was more out of boredom.

"He's probably [was] waiting for his practice [more] than scouting out what's happening on the court. Let's put it down to that."

Elsewhere, sixth seed David Goffin topped Filip Krajinovic 6-4 6-4 en route to the last 16 but three-time slam champion Stan Wawrinka was stunned 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 by qualifier Lloyd Harris.

Marton Fucsovics, Vasek Pospisil and Malek Jaziri also advanced through to the next round.

At the Open 13 Province, three-time champion and French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrated his first ATP Tour victory since 2019.

Tsonga – hampered by injuries, including left knee surgery –rallied from the brink to see off Feliciano Lopez 3-6 6-4 7-5 in Marseille on Tuesday.

"This is probably one of the best victories of my career, because it was tough for me to play tennis. I had so much pain for so many months," Tsonga said in an on-court interview. "Today, I won one match. That was one of my goals for these few weeks… I’m happy like a kid."

Next up is fourth-seeded countryman Ugo Humbert, who upstaged sixth seed Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, Federico Coria and Federico Delbonis were among the victors at the Chile Open.

Novak Djokovic admitted there was plenty of room for improvement after coming through a "difficult spot" at the Australian Open, where Nick Kyrgios thrilled the crowd with an impressive comeback.

Top seed Djokovic was made to work for his 6-3 6-7 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 triumph against Frances Tiafoe as he reached the third round in Melbourne. 

Kyrgios is also through, albeit he even surprised himself by rallying from the brink of defeat to knock out 29th seed Ugo Humbert in the evening session. 

Stan Wawrinka was on the wrong of an upset on Wednesday, but there were no such problems for fellow seeds Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Diego Schwartzman and Milos Raonic. 

Meanwhile, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime will have to put their friendship to one side when they face each other next, the former setting up the all-Canadian clash by beating Bernard Tomic in three sets.


'PASSIVE' DJOKOVIC STILL MAKING PROGRESS

In the first meeting between the pair, the impressive Tiafoe went toe-to-toe with Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena.  

The 23-year-old American's performance – coupled with the Melbourne heat – made the eight-time Australian Open champion sweat, albeit Djokovic felt he could have made life easier for himself.

"I was at times not feeling my timing as well as I normally am. Credit to him. I think he has managed to come out with a great performance and quality of tennis. He put me in a difficult spot," he said. 

"I had my chances early in the second set. If I broke him there, maybe the course of the match would be different.   

"But again, he was holding his serve very well. I was not really using my break-point chances very well. At times I was too passive. Just wasn't feeling the ball today as well as I normally do." 

Next up for Djokovic is another player from the United States in the form of Taylor Fritz, who ousted compatriot Reilly Opelka in a five-set battle.


IN THE NICK OF TIME

Kyrgios described his clash with Humbert as "one of the craziest matches I've ever played" after prevailing 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 - much to the delight of an enthralled audience who watched the drama unfold on John Cain Arena.

The Australian smashed a racket, lost his cool with umpire Marijana Veljovic over a faulty net cord sensor and had to save a pair of match points before eventually coming out on top in a see-saw battle.

"I just remember, down that end, when I was a couple of match points down, I don't know what was going on," Kyrgios - who dropped to his knees after sealing victory - said in his on-court interview.

"If you were inside my head, there were some dark thoughts in there. But I live to fight another day and hopefully I can continue to play good tennis in front of you guys."

His reward is a clash with Thiem, the third seed having dismissed the challenge of German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets as he dropped just six games.


STAN-D AND DELIVER

Wawrinka appeared on course to survive a serious scare when he rallied from two sets down against Marton Fucsovics, but the Swiss was unable to seize on the chances that came his way in a tense tie-break. 

Fucsovics had needed over four hours to overcome wild card Marc Polmans in the previous round and, once again, found a way to get over the finishing line at the end of a Melbourne marathon. 

The Hungarian trailed 6-1 during the decisive breaker, yet hit back to stun the 17th seed 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6 (11-9). For Wawrinka, there was frustration at the missed opportunities, albeit he also praised his conqueror. 
  
"From 6-1 up, I started to hesitate a little bit in the way I was playing," he said. "I wanted to put the ball maybe too much in and I [was] not going completely for my shots and that's when I started to miss a little bit and it helped him to come back in the match.  

"He was fighting well, he's a tough player, he's a good player and he deserved to win." 

Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka exited in the second round after a marathon loss to Marton Fucsovics.

Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, bowed out after a 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6 (11-9) loss to Fucsovics on a warm Wednesday in Melbourne.

Fucsovics saved three match points on John Cain Arena in an encounter that lasted three hours, 59 minutes.

Wawrinka led 6-1 and 8-4 in the super tie-break, but Fucsovics won the final five points and seven of the last eight.

The Hungarian continues to enjoy the year's first grand slam, where he has reached the fourth round twice in the past three years.

Wawrinka, though, has struggled in Australia in recent years.

The Swiss star has now been eliminated in the second round in three of the past four years, while reaching the quarter-finals in 2020.

Wawrinka rallied from two sets to love down and 5-3 behind in the fifth, but wasted his chances in the super tie-break.

The war of words between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios continued on day one of the Australian Open, while Gael Monfils was reduced to tears after a first-round exit.

Reigning champion Djokovic cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour and a half but was unwilling to be drawn on comments made by Kyrgios following the home favourite's 6-4 6-4 6-4 success against Frederico Ferreira Silva.

Djokovic, who has now won 15 straight Australian Open matches, will take on Frances Tiafoe next and Kyrgios has a meeting with Ugo Humbert. A potential crossing of their paths on court could not happen until the semi-finals.

Monfils, seeded 10th at Melbourne Park, could not hide his emotions after succumbing to a 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 defeat in a five-set thriller against Emil Ruusuvuori.

Benoit Paire was the only other seed to go out on day one, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Diego Schwartzman and Stan Wawrinka picking up victories.

 

"HE'S A STRANGE CAT"

On the eve of the first grand slam of the year Djokovic said he had "no respect" for Kyrgios off the court, which the Australian was confused by as he pointed out the charitable work he has done during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kyrgios was previously critical of the Adria Tour organised by Djokovic last year, which ended with multiple players testing positive for COVID-19.

Asked about the Serbian's pre-tournament comment, Kyrgios said: "It actually would make complete sense to me if he was like, 'Look, I don't respect the guy on the court.' Because I understand if he doesn't agree with some of my antics on the court that I have done in the past.

"He's a very strange cat, Novak is. Heck of a tennis player, but unfortunately someone that's partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic, I don't know if I can take any slack from that man. That's as bad as it gets for me."

When a reporter asked if they could read those comments out to Djokovic in his post-match news conference, the 17-time major champion replied: "You can read it, but I'm not gonna answer to anything."

Upon hearing the remarks and being asked if he had a reply, Djokovic simply said: "No."

 

ANOTHER LOSS FOR MONFILS

Having lost his first-round match to Ruusuvuori, who incredibly saved 17 break points, Monfils remained without a win on the ATP Tour since February 2020.

The Frenchman was eliminated in the first round at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2006 and admitted he had lost all his self-belief and was finding it extremely difficult to get himself back on track.

"I don't have any confidence. I would like to get out of this nightmare but I can't," said Monfils.

"I don’t know when it's going to end. It's hard. Every time I get here I feel judged, I've lost again. I can't serve, I'm playing badly. I'm being honest and it's going to take time."

 

BEST OF THE REST

Thiem made light work of Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Dominik Koepfer, but Zverev had to come from a set down to beat Marcos Giron 6-7 (8-10), 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2. He will face Maxime Cressy next.

Denis Shapovalov also had to fight back to defeat Jannik Sinner, who reached the French Open quarter-finals last year, in an entertaining five-setter on Margaret Court Arena.

Marin Cilic, the runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2018, went down 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to Grigor Dimitrov, while Pablo Carreno Busta overcame Kei Nishikori 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

There were straight-set wins for Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime against Paulo Sousa, Federico Coria and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe respectively, and Schwartzman defeated Elias Ymer 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 2-6 6-2.

Novak Djokovic said it was "a tough one" to take after Serbia's hopes of retaining the ATP Cup title were ended by defeat to Germany.

The world number one scored a tense 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 7-5 victory over Alexander Zverev in their singles rubber, levelling the match after Jan-Lennard Struff beat Dusan Lajovic in three sets.

Zverev and Struff then teamed up in doubles to net a 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 10-7 win over Djokovic and Nikola Cacic.

The singles workout and win sets up the eight-time Australian Open champion well for the start of that grand slam next week, which was the consolation Djokovic could take from defeat.

Speaking about his singles clash with Zverev, Djokovic said: "It was anybody's game really. He was a set up, a couple points here and there in the beginning of the second. I just returned well when I needed to and closed out the match.

"It's never easy playing against Sascha [Zverev] when he's in form, and he's in really good form. We pushed each other to the very limit, and I'm glad that I had such a battle with him.

"It's unfortunate we lost the tie. That's what this competition is all about. It's about the team, not about winning one match, a singles match. Yeah, it's a tough one."

Germany advance to face Russia in the semi-finals on Saturday, with Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev a formidable combination awaiting them.

Spain secured a shot at Italy in the second semi-final, despite a 2-1 defeat to Greece on Friday.

The Spanish team needed just one win in the group-stage match to advance, and that predictably came as Pablo Carreno Busta, ranked 16th by the ATP, beat world number 462 Michail Pervolarakis.

His 6-3 6-4 success could not be matched by team-mate Roberto Bautista Agut, who fell to a 7-5 7-5 defeat against Stefanos Tsitsipas, while Spain retired from the doubles rubber after one game, giving Greece a 2-1 success in the tie.

It remains to be seen whether Rafael Nadal will be fit to play any part in the semi-final, with the 20-time grand slam champion having been absent so far in the campaign due to a back injury.

"He's working very hard to recover his best feelings," said Spain captain Pepe Vendrell.

"Obviously he couldn't play any matches during the week. It's a situation that we have to study. But day by day he's improving. We will see [on Saturday] if he can play."


AWAY FROM THE ATP CUP, WAWRINKA ABANDONS

In the Murray River Open, Stan Wawrinka withdrew from his quarter-final with Jeremy Chardy after beating Australian Alex Bolt in a tough three-set match earlier in the day. Corentin Moutet, Dan Evans and Felix Auger-Aliassime joined Chardy in the last-four line-up.

Evans defeated Borna Coric, who had eliminated Australian hope Nick Kyrgios in his previous match.

All ATP and WTA tournaments are being played at Melbourne Park this week.

Thursday's play was cancelled due to a COVID-19 case affecting a worker from a hotel that accommodated quarantining players, and that meant Friday's schedule was packed.

The Great Ocean Road Open also saw players needing to win two matches in a day to reach the semi-finals, with Karen Khachanov, Thiago Monteiro and the Italian pair of Jannik Sinner and Stefano Travaglia coming through.

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