Tennis

  • Daniel Evans isn’t one to seek the spotlight, but that’s exactly where the British No. 1 put himself on Thursday by shocking World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to reach the quarter-finals of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Evans wasn't done there, as he partnered Neal Skupski past Australian Open champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in doubles later in the afternoon. It’s safe to say it was a day to remember for the 30-year-old in the Principality. “Obviously I'm happy. I'm still in the tournament. After the tournament, I'll look back at what a good day it was,” Evans said. “It was obviously an amazing feeling to win and to come through.” Djokovic was not the first superstar Evans has played lately. In Doha, he took on frequent practice partner Roger Federer and pushed the Swiss deep into a third set before losing. This time, Evans was able to find a way to claim the biggest win of his career and with it, a spot in his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. “I felt comfortable from the outset. In myself, I felt very good,” Evans said. “But more importantly, I didn't feel he was being too aggressive, pushing me back too much. I was comfortable in the points. I hit my forehand well.” Before this tournament, Evans, who has climbed as high as No. 26 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, had not won a tour-level match on clay since Barcelona in 2017. But he has been impressive in Monte-Carlo, defeating 2019 finalist Dusan Lajovic, Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz and 36-time Masters 1000 titlist Djokovic. “Obviously it's not my favourite surface,” Evans said. “But I think the conditions have actually suited me… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    A lot has changed since the last time Novak Djokovic had a chance to play on home soil in Serbia. The ATP Tour is set to return to Belgrade for the first time since 2012 at the Serbia Open, an ATP 250 clay-court event. Djokovic lifted two trophies during the event’s previous four-year run, triumphing in 2009 and 2011. Back then, the home favourite had yet to rise to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and had only recently added a second Grand Slam title to his name. Now an 18-time Grand Slam champion, Djokovic will return to Belgrade as the all-time record-holder of most weeks at World No.1, entering his 317th week at the top of the game. The top seed will hit the court at his eponymous tennis centre looking to claim his 83th tour-level title. Djokovic will be joined by two more Top 10 players with reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem and Italian star Matteo Berrettini set to make their Belgrade debuts. Aslan Karatsev, the breakthrough star of the 2021 season, will also feature. Note: The 2021 Serbia Open will be held behind closed doors due to COVID-19 precautions. Established: 2009 Tournament Dates: 19 April - 25 April 2021 Tournament Director: Djordje Djokovic Draw Ceremony: TBA Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox Schedule * Qualifying: 18-19 April at 11am * Main draw: Monday 19 - Sunday 25 April  * Start times: Monday-Friday 11:00am and 7:00pm; Saturday 4:00pm, Sunday 5:00pm * Doubles final: TBA * Singles final: Sunday 25 April, TBA How To Watch Watch Live On Tennis TV TV Schedule Venue: Novak Tennis Centre Surface: Clay  Prize Money: €650,000 (Total… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Friday's quarter-finals are set at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Rafael Nadal will be in fresh form against Andrey Rublev after needing just 55 minutes to get past Grigor Dimitrov. Rublev, on the other hand, took two hours and 44 minutes to take out Roberto Bautista Agut. Nadal gave up just two games to the Bulgarian, who was off his A game and hindered by a rotten tooth. “Grigor missed much more than usual for him,” Nadal said. “We had some amazing battles together. It’s true that today was not one of these ones. I feel a little bit sorry for him today, that he played I think a bad match. I did my thing. But that's it.” Rublev survived a battle with Bautista Agut that included six breaks of serve, and saw him fall behind 4-1 in the first two sets before pulling out a 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3 win. Nadal leads the ATP Head2Head Series against Rublev 2-0 with both wins coming on hard courts (2020 Nitto ATP Finals and 2017 US Open). The World No. 3 has yet to be challenged by the 23-year-old: Rublev has managed more than three games in a set just once To have any chance at all at the upset, Rublev will have to pick and choose his big-hitting moments carefully (like he eventually did to get the win over Bautista Agut). He’ll have to be the aggressor from start to finish with little margin for error, and dictate rallies by pulling Nadal off the court towards his backhand by using his huge forehand. The key will be managing his unforced errors and emotions — it won't help that he will be coming in more… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Hours after handing World No. 1 Novak Djokovic his first defeat of 2021, Daniel Evans was right back on court at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters ready to wreak more havoc on the doubles draw. Evans partnered with countryman Neal Skupski to topple third seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6, 7-6(5), 13-11 on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals.  Facing Dodig and Polasek for the second time in as many weeks, the Brits had to dig deep to save three match points in a nail-biting match tie-break. Evans erased two of those with inch-perfect lobs as the pair turned around the decider and sealed the victory in an hour and 53 minutes. “Obviously clay [is] not my favorite surface. But I think the conditions have actually suited me this week,” Evans said in a post-match press conference. “It's not been very warm. The ball stayed low. I'm moving way better on the clay. That's definitely helped.” The win sent Evans and Skupski into their second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, where they will face Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan. It also continues the momentum built up from a strong run to the final at the Miami Open presented by Itau, the pair’s first tournament as a team. Skupski had previously partnered with older brother Ken Skupski to victory at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, their first title together since 2019. They had to part ways temporarily after Ken was diagnosed with a blood clot in his right leg ahead of their trip to Miami. Joining them in the quarter-finals, top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah stormed past Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz with a 6-0, 6-2 victory. The Colombians allowed… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    It’s not often that Fabio Fognini flies under the radar. But the defending champion has done just that, quietly advancing to the quarter-finals of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday. The 15th seed battled past Serbian Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 7-6(1) after one hour and 28 minutes to reach the last eight at the venue where he won his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title two years ago. This is his third trip to the quarter-finals of this tournament. “Of course I had my best performance here of my career. This tournament is always in my head,” Fognini said earlier in the week. “For sure it’s really special because I was born here, I was born in San Remo. I was practising here since I was 14 years old and I have a lot of memories here.” Krajinovic led their ATP Head2Head series 2-0, and the Serbian did not lose more than six games in either of his victories. But Fognini, who arrived in Monaco on a three-match losing streak, was locked in against the World No. 37. [WATCH LIVE 1] Fognini was two points away from losing the second set at 2-5, 30/30, but the 33-year-old remained calm and controlled play to close out the match in straight sets. The Italian won seven consecutive points in the tie-break, pointing his right index finger to his team in celebration after the Serbian made an error on match point. The defending champion will next play Casper Ruud, who rallied past Marbella champion Pablo Carreno Busta in the last match of the day. The Norwegian leads Fognini 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, with both of those triumphs coming last year. ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Andrey Rublev booked his place in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finals with 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-3 win over Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday. The 23-year-old’s reward for all of his hard work? A showdown with a very fresh Rafael Nadal. Bautista Agut came into the third-round contest with a 3-2 edge in their ATP Head2Head series, having beaten the Russian in the Doha semi-finals. Despite that and the Spaniard having early 4-1 leads in the first two sets, it was Rublev who emerged victorious after finding the right balance between ripping groundstrokes and staying patient. Neither could keep command of their service games, trading six breaks across two hours and 44 minutes. After going down 3-0 and 4-1 in the first set, Rublev settled in and turned the momentum in his favour by putting more steady pressure on Bautista Agut. The Russian had to paint the lines, place sharp angles or push forward into the net to avoid exhaustingly long rallies with the world No. 11 (more than 50 of their rallies would last over nine shots). He evened out the match to 4-4 and had a double break point opportunity, but didn't capitalise. Rublev would make good on his next break chance at 5-5 and then failed to serve out the set. In the tie-break, it was all Rublev from the start with huge cuts off his forehand wing. He jumped out to a 4/0 lead and closed it out comfortably 7/2. The match repeated a similar flow in the second set, with Rublev letting out some early frustration and errors before turning the momentum on its head. Again, the Russian would go down 4-1 and claw his way… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    How Evans Stunned Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

    The slice is not often thought of as a weapon. But for Daniel Evans on Thursday, it was exactly that as the British No. 1 "dismantled" World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Entering the week, Evans had not won a tour-level match on clay in nearly four years. But against Djokovic, the World No. 33 leaned on his “old reliable” — his backhand slice — to claim the biggest win of his career. “He's very unpredictable with his shots,” Djokovic said. “He dismantled my game.” Evans’ backhand slice isn’t a typical “weapon” like Rafael Nadal’s forehand. The Briton uses the shot to let his opponents beat themselves. "I had a fair idea that he wouldn't be that comfortable with it. I thought he struggled to generate much pace off my slice. I was using that more and more in the match because I didn't feel he was hurting me off it," Evans said. "I actually thought I could get on offence from that. That's how the match went, I think. If you look at it, I sliced well, ran around and hit good forehands, put him under quite a bit of pressure." Evans only hit 20 winners to Djokovic’s 24 on Court Rainier III in the Principality. But the top seed was admittedly off his game, and the 30-year-old used his wide array of skills — especially his backhand slice — to keep Djokovic from changing that. The 36-time ATP Masters 1000 champion has one of the best backhands in tennis history, yet Evans was unafraid of peppering that shot with his backhand slice on Thursday. The quarter-finalist hit 69 per cent of his backhand slices… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Third seed Rafael Nadal dropped just two games and didn’t face a break point in a one-sided third-round meeting with Grigor Dimitrov at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, but the Spaniard isn’t letting the result get to his head. It was clear to viewers at home – and certainly to Nadal himself on Court Rainier III – that Dimitrov was not at his best. The Bulgarian was struggling to find the court during the 6-1, 6-1 rout, trying to finish points quickly and racking up 35 unforced errors in the process. His struggles did not go unnoticed by the 11-time Monte-Carlo champion; the pair has met 14 times previously, with Dimitrov taking a set off of Nadal at this same venue in 2013. But in signature Nadal fashion, he did not concede an inch to his opponent on the court. “Grigor missed much more than usual [for] him. We’ve had some amazing battles together. [It] is true that today was not one of these ones,” Nadal said after extending his ATP Head2Head lead to 14-1 over the Bulgarian. “I feel a little bit sorry for him today, that he played, I think, a bad match. I did my thing. But that's it. I am just focussed on [trying] to play as good as possible every single point.” It was only after the match that the real culprit was revealed. In a press conference, Dimitrov told journalists that he had been struggling with debilitating pain due to ‘a massive tooth problem’ as a result of an infection. “I didn't know that. Now I understand a little bit more the things,” Nadal said. “I wish him all the best. He's a great guy,… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Grigor Dimitrov was in a world of pain during his 6-1, 6-1 loss to Rafael Nadal on Thursday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, and it wasn’t just because of the lopsided scoreline. Challenging Nadal on clay is a daunting enough task in perfect health, let alone with a nagging toothache.  “I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days. I have like a big infection of my tooth,” Dimitrov said. “It's been hard. I haven't been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that. It's time to put an end to it.” Tooth pain can grind you down both mentally and physically, just like Nadal’s relentless baseline game with which he hit 17 winners. The World No. 3 said he felt sorry for Dimitrov for playing "a bad match". "He was playing too aggressive and little bit out of rhythm," Nadal said. "Sorry for him. I wish him all the best." At least Dimitrov's work day was mercifully short, lasting just 55 minutes. “I was bearing it for a while this whole week,” Dimitrov said. “Straight to the doctor's, unfortunately. Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is. At least I'm glad it happened on a home soil, at home, so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.” Heading into the third-round encounter, the World No. 17-ranked Bulgarian had a lot going against him already: Nadal is an 11-time champion in Monte-Carlo and had beaten Dimitrov in 13 of 14 meetings (he’s now 14-1 in their ATP Head2Head Series).  “I don't [think] there was a match to be played today,” Dimitrov said. “He… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    No. 14 seed Grigor Dimitrov might be a resident of Monte-Carlo, but on Thursday it was Rafael Nadal who continued to make himself right at home in the Principality. The 11-time champion was in imperious form against Dimitrov as he dropped just two games on his way to the quarter-finals.  Nadal needed just 55 minutes to score a 6-1, 6-1 victory and extend his ATP Head2Head dominance over the Bulgarian to 14-1 (4-0 in Monte-Carlo). The Spaniard didn’t face a break point in either set and fired 17 winners to close out the victory. “[I am] sorry for him. He played a bad match. That is the truth,” Nadal said in his post match interview. “He made a lot of mistakes. I was there. I was doing the right thing, but it is true that today was more his fault than my good tennis.” Three double faults from Dimitrov in his opening service game set the tone for the match early on, as the Bulgarian quickly surrendered the first of four breaks to Nadal. Dimitrov found himself unable to make up the lost ground as the third seed got going. The Spaniard targeted Dimitrov’s one-handed backhand to great success, and piled on the pressure every time his opponent stepped up to serve. As a result Nadal broke Dimitrov four times during the match, opening both sets with daunting double-break 4-0 leads. “I think I did the right preparation. I felt ready for action again. I am excited to play here in one of my favourite tournaments, without a doubt,” Nadal said. “[I am] happy to enjoy the competition again, to enjoy the Tour. In Mallorca, I had some good practices.… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Novak Djokovic was bundled out of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday by Daniel Evans, 6-4, 7-5. Coming to press just minutes after the match was complete, the World No. 1 was quick to congratulate his opponent while being candid about his performance. “To be honest, this has been probably one of the worst matches and performances from my side I can recall in the last years,” Djokovic said. “I don't want to take anything away from his win, but from my side, I just felt awful on the court overall. Just nothing worked. It's one of those days.” In his first meeting against Djokovic, the 30-year-old Brit came armed with a barrage of slices and hot shots. The upset ends Djokovic’s perfect 10-0 start to 2021 and puts Evans into his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. “Should have and could have done much, much better. Just [an] awful performance," Djokovic said. I can't take anything positive away from this match." The Serbian had looked strong in his opening win against Jannik Sinner, but came to the court on Thursday a different player. “Today was completely the opposite of what I felt yesterday,” the 33-year-old said. “Just was obviously very, very windy, tough to play in these kind of conditions against a guy like Evans who makes you move. He's very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game.” Evans will next take on David Goffin after the Belgian upset fifth seed Alexander Zverev. Djokovic will look to regroup before returning to the court at home in Belgrade next week. “I was just not feeling it, and playing pretty bad,” Djokovic said. “Obviously right now, as I walk off the… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    It is proving to be another Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters to remember for David Goffin. The Belgian upset Alexander Zverev 6-4, 7-6(7) on Thursday to advance to his third quarter-final in the Principality. "Of course it gives me a lot of confidence," Goffin said. "Today was more [about] the way I played. Everything was there. This match, I served well, I was solid. I was very precise with my forehand, aggressive when I had to [be]. [It] was a great match." Goffin recovered from set point down at 6/7 in the second-set tie-break and saved all six break points he faced to book his place in the last eight after one hour and 51 minutes. The 11th seed had lost his two previous clay-court meetings against Zverev in three sets, but he held his nerve to reach his 12th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. Goffin is now tied at 2-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Zverev. The 30-year-old neutralised Zverev’s serve and attacked the German’s backhand to clinch the only break of the match at 3-3 in the first set. In a dramatic second-set tie-break, Goffin’s forehand proved to be the difference. The Belgian raced to a 6/2 lead and, despite dropping five straight points, he used his forehand to rush his opponent and clinch victory. [WATCH LIVE 1] The former Top 10 star will attempt to reach his second Monte-Carlo semi-final (2017) when he faces Daniel Evans in the quarter-finals. The British No. 1 stunned two-time champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5 on Court Rainier III to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter-final. Evans entered the week seeking his first tour-level win on clay since the 2017… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Evans Upsets Djokovic In Monte Carlo

    Daniel Evans recorded the biggest win of his career on Thursday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters to end World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s unbeaten start to the 2021 ATP Tour season. Evans, who had won only four clay-court matches prior to arriving in Monte-Carlo, booked a place in his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final with a stunning 6-4, 7-5 victory over the 2013 and 2015 champion in two hours and nine minutes. World No. 33 Evans, who used his slice to great effect, held his nerve after seeing a double-break lead evaporate, then fought back from 0-3 down in the second set. He saved one set point at 4-5, 30/40 en route to his fourth Top 10 victory (4-14 lifetime) that ended Djokovic's perfect 10-0 start to 2021, which includes lifting his ninth Australian Open crown (d. Medvedev).  [WATCH LIVE 1] “It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Evans said in his post-match interview. “I couldn’t quite believe the last ball went over the net. It nearly didn’t. I was pleased, regardless, with how I was playing coming into the match. I felt good. You can never be confident coming into such a big match like that against Novak. It is clearly a big win and I am delighted that I got through, especially being a break down and [having had] little difficulties in the first set. It was really pleasing and I am delighted. “The biggest thing is, you have got to believe you can win. I can walk on saying it, but you have really got to believe it. Of course, I doubted myself in the match. Serving it out is not easy. You have got all sorts [of things]… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Tsitsipas Makes Monte-Carlo Breakthrough, Plays Davidovich Fokina In QFs

    Stefanos Tsitsipas achieved his best result at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday when he overcame Santiago champion Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first quarter-final in the Principality. Tsitsipas fired 17 forehand winners and won 75 per cent of his net points (15/20) to reach the last eight in one hour and 40 minutes. The fourth seed, who is chasing his first title of the season, improved to 19-5 in 2021 with his second win in as many ATP Head2Head meetings against Garin. Only Andrey Rublev has claimed more wins this year (22). “It was a really difficult task to complete. Cristian played good tennis and gave me a hard time out on the court,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview. “I stayed composed and focused throughout the entire match. “Things seemed not to be going my way towards the end of the second set, but I stepped back and left my mark. Things worked out well. I was fighting [and] I was putting my best performance out there. I was creating a lot of opportunities with my forehand and I think my serve paid off pretty well.” Tsitsipas has now reached the quarter-finals or better at all three clay-court ATP Masters 1000 events. The Greek achieved his best Masters 1000 results on clay in 2019, when he reached the Mutua Madrid Open championship match (l. to Djokovic) and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia semi-finals (l. to Nadal). The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a place in the semi-finals. The Spaniard continued his fine run in Monte-Carlo with a 6-2, 7-6(2) win against French wild card Lucas Pouille. Tsitsipas and Davidovich Fokina have… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    It's common knowledge that Rafael Nadal is the Master of Monte-Carlo. The Spaniard, who made his tournament debut as a 16-year-old in 2003, has won a record 11 titles in the Principality.  But do you recall who Nadal has beaten in those championship matches at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters? Eight different players are among the Spaniard's victims, including one he denied in three straight finals from 2006-08. See how many of those beaten finalists you remember. Take the Rafael Nadal Monte-Carlo Challenge and share your results! Click here to stay informed all year with tennis news from the ATP Tour ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Stefanos Tsitsipas will kick off Thursday’s third-round action at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with a challenging matchup against Cristian Garin.  Garin just won his fifth ATP Tour title last month, in front of a home crowd at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago. All five of the World No. 24’s trophies have come on clay. Tsitsipas also holds five ATP titles: one on clay and four on indoor hard courts.  Garin opened his Monte-Carlo campaign by ousting Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets, and he eased past John Millman on Wednesday. Tsitsipas had a day off after taking out Aslan Karatsev on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Greek will have his work cut out for him but he has been embracing the surface switch after a quarter-final run on the hard courts of the Miami Open presented by Itau. “I’ve practised a lot of days on clay,” the World No. 5 said. “I've been feeling well. My body is in good shape. Currently I feel like I'm working a lot on my physicality when I play friendly matches on clay. I think that's going to be the most important aspect in my game during the clay-court season.” The fourth seed beat Garin in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting last year on clay in Hamburg in three sets. Following Tsitsipas and Garin on the main court will be Novak Djokovic taking on Daniel Evans. It's set to be the World No 1’s first time facing off against the 30-year-old Brit, after beating another first-time opponent, Jannik Sinner, in his opening match on Wednesday. “I think 'solid' is a good word to describe the performance,” Djokovic said. “Obviously I know I can always… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan closed Wednesday play at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with a 6-7(1), 6-3, 10-5 victory against Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. The South African-Japanese duo saved seven of the nine break points they faced to move past the Australian Open finalists in one hour and 42 minutes on Court des Princes. Klaasen and McLachlan, who are chasing their first title of the season in Monte-Carlo, will next meet Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek or Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski for a semi-final spot. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos took just 59 minutes to overcome Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-1 on Court 2. Last year’s Rome champions won 74 per cent of their service points (32/43) to set up a quarter-final clash against Cristian Garin and Guido Pella. Garin and Pella moved past Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in 67 minutes. The unseeded duo dropped serve just once en route to victory, despite facing 11 break points. Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman recovered from a slow start to eliminate sixth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 1-6, 6-4, 10-7. Fognini and Schwartzman trailed by a set and a break, and also found themselves 3/6 down in the Match Tie-break, but they claimed seven of the final eight points for a quarter-final spot. The Italian-Argentine pair will meet top seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah or last year’s Rolex Paris Masters champions Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz in the last eight. Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut’s kept their bid alive for a second title in the Principality. The 2016 champions battled past Henri Kontinen and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(3), 7-5. ▶️ Read more ◀️

    German Alexander Zverev passed a tough test with flying colours on Wednesday, defeating Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Sonego entered the pair's first ATP Head2Head clash with plenty of confidence after winning the Sardegna Open title last week to climb to a career-high No. 28 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But Zverev put pressure on the 25-year-old from the early going to advance after one hour and 38 minutes. “Lorenzo just won a tournament, so he is obviously in very good form right now and playing good tennis," Zverev said in his post-match interview. "The first match on a clay courts is never easy, but I am happy to be through like that."  The three-time ATP Masters 1000 champion, who reached the Monte-Carlo semi-finals in 2018, now has 10 victories this season. Zverev claimed a title for the sixth consecutive year when he lifted the trophy in Acapulco. Although it wasn't a perfect performance — the fifth seed relinquished two service breaks — Zverev did well to frustrate his Italian opponent. The 23-year-old put many returns deep in the court to neutralise Sonego's advantage and ability to play first-strike tennis, forcing the Italian to go for more than he wanted. That led to unforced errors, giving Zverev the advantage in the match. [WATCH LIVE 1] The World No. 6 will next play David Goffin, who cruised past 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 6-0 in 64 minutes. “[Goffin] is extremely difficult to beat, especially during the first few matches on clay,” Zverev said. “I think he feels extremely comfortable on this surface, so it is going to be interesting to… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Rafael Nadal was in form to begin his clay-court season on Wednesday, dismissing fellow lefty Federico Delbonis to reach the third round of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. But for the 34-year-old, it was just another day at the office. “It was solid match, I think. Of course, a very positive result. He's a good player on clay. [It was a] positive start for me,” Nadal said. “I think I just really played a solid match. Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. Just a solid match, a positive start. I think I did what I had to do today.” Nadal is now 72-5 at this ATP Masters 1000 event. Typically, players wait nearly a full year to return to clay after Roland Garros. But the Spaniard claimed his record-extending 12th trophy in Paris just six months ago, as the clay-court major was moved to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Honestly, I just played two tournaments on clay [last year]. That's the truth. I never felt last year that I played a full clay-court season. I just played Rome and Roland Garros,” Nadal said. “For the same time that you told me you should feel strange because we have a shorter gap, at the same time inside myself I never had a real clay-court season last year. “I am just trying to adapt myself and trying to make the decisions that I feel more comfortable always.” Nadal looked impressive nonetheless on Court Rainier III, dropping just three games against a player who was competing in his fifth clay-court event of the season. The third seed broke the Argentine’s serve five times and won 57 per cent of his return points. “I feel… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Novak Djokovic eased into the Round of 16 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fast-rising youngster Jannik Sinner. It was the first career meeting between the two, though they are familiar with each other having shared a practice court both at their residence in Monaco and at the Piatti Tennis Center in Italy. “I think what impresses me the most is his professionalism, his dedication to the everyday routines that he has to endure in order to play at such high level,” Djokovic said. “I think this is why the consistency of his results is there. With him it's different.” Sinner came into his fourth career Masters 1000 appearance in sizzling form after reaching the final at the Miami Open presented by Itau, making him a real threat to Djokovic’s start to the clay season. But after an early loss of serve, Djokovic was in control for most of the match. “I have to be satisfied considering I think I had a tough draw for the first round, playing Sinner, who is in form, who is striking the ball very well. I knew it was going to be a challenge. I walked into the court with the right intensity, right focus,” Djokovic said. “First maybe three, four games I was still feeling maybe not as comfortable hitting the ball. Then I started to work my way in the match.” Even with no fans permitted on the grounds, Djokovic celebrated the win with his customary open-armed hugs and kisses.   "At the same time I try to take the positive side of it," he said of playing to empty stands. "We have this calm and… ▶️ Read more ◀️