Rafael Nadal is set to start his 2022 season at the Melbourne ATP 250 ahead of the Australian Open.

Nadal this week appeared on the entry list for the first grand slam of the year, which begins on January 17.

The Spaniard has not featured on the ATP Tour since August, when he lost against Lloyd Harris at the Citi Open in Washington D.C.

But Nadal is going to be back into the swing of things in the next month. The Melbourne 250 starts on January 4 and will serve as a warm-up for the Australian Open.

Gael Monfils is headlining the ATP 250 event in Adelaide during the same week, while Novak Djokovic – whose participation at the Australian Open is as of yet unclear, although he is also listed for entry – is set to lead Serbia at the ATP Cup in Sydney. 

Djokovic has not yet revealed his COVID-19 vaccination status. If he is not fully vaccinated, the 34-year-old may not be able to compete in Melbourne, barring a medical exemption.

Nadal has dropped down to world number six after another injury-hit season, in which he won two titles, triumphing in Barcelona and Rome.

He has only won the Australian Open once, in 2009, but has since been beaten four times in the final, in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019.

Since the start of the 2020 season, Nadal has played in four finals, winning them all, including last year's delayed French Open.

Marin Cilic won his 20th title on the ATP Tour by battling past Taylor Fritz in the final of the St Petersburg Open on Sunday.

A decade on from lifting the trophy for the first time, Cilic outlasted his American opponent 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-4 in a gruelling contest lasting two hours and 23 minutes.

It took the Croatian to four tournament wins on Russian soil, the 33-year-old having also twice won the crown in Moscow, while it also saw him join truly elite company in the men's game.

Only five other active male players have won 20 or more titles: Roger Federer (103), Rafael Nadal (88), Novak Djokovic (85), Andy Murray (46) and Juan Martin del Potro (22).

"Coming 10 years after winning in 2011 and also winning now, it's so, so special for me, especially this part of my career," said Cilic. "Having now a family, two sons, I want to absolutely dedicate this trophy to my newborn son."

Cilic had the chance to reach 20 titles last week in Moscow, only to lose in straight sets to home favourite Aslan Karatsev.

With 12 aces and 78 per cent of first-serve points won, the former world number three was aggressive in his efforts to make sure this was not another missed opportunity.

After taking the first set, Cilic twice led by a break in the second but allowed Fritz to level the contest and keep alive his hopes of a first title since Eastbourne two years ago.

Fritz went a break ahead in the decider but Cilic battled back to level at 4-4. A double fault from the world number 28 gave Cilic the chance to serve out the contest, and he duly obliged, converting his first match point with a volley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner moved into the quarter-finals of the Vienna Open on Thursday. 

Italian Sinner beat home hopeful Dennis Novak 6-4 6-2 to set up a tantalising showdown with Casper Ruud. 

Should he win that match, Sinner will move ahead of Hubert Hurkacz in the race to qualify for this year's ATP Finals, while victory for Ruud will strengthen the Norwegian's standing. 

"It's going to be tricky," said Sinner. "He's in a better position than I am for the race. I think right now it's tough to say and tough to do because in the end you try always not to think about that, but in the end you think about that because you believe." 

Zverev was given a sterner test, eventually overcoming Alex de Minaur 6-2 3-6 6-2 in one hour and 42 minutes. The Olympic gold medallist will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who fought back from a set down to defeat Cameron Norrie. 

Frances Tiafoe came from a set down to upset top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6 6-3 6-4 and earn a quarter-final meeting with Diego Schwartzman after the Argentine overcame Gael Monfils 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-2. 

In St Petersburg, home favourite and sixth seed Karen Khachanov lost a gruelling three-set encounter to Marin Cilic. 

The Croatian, who won the title in Russia in his last appearance in 2011, was 4-1 down in the deciding set but took all five of the final games to triumph after two and a half hours on court. 

"Everybody is playing good. The tournament is great. It's the end of the season, so everybody wants to finish on a great level," said Cilic, who next faces Roberto Bautista Agut. "For me, it was great to play this kind of a match today." 

Another Russian, Aslan Karatsev, fell to John Millman 6-3 6-2. Taylor Fritz and Botic van de Zandschulp also progressed in straight sets. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The top two seeds will do battle in the European Open final following commanding victories for Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman on Saturday.

Sinner, the number one seed, moved into his fifth final of the season with a 6-2 6-2 defeat of Lloyd Harris in Antwerp.

The 20-year-old Italian, who is in the hunt for a maiden ATP Finals spot, dominated Harris from the baseline and saved all three break points he faced.

There were only 16 unforced errors from the racket of the composed Sinner, who will be bidding to win his fourth title of the season on Sunday.

Sinner said: "I am very happy to be in the final. I just love playing here and love playing indoors, so hopefully I can play a great match again tomorrow."

Schwartzman ended 20-year-old American Jenson Brooksby's impressive run with a 6-4 6-0 victory.

The Argentinian struck 15 winners and secured five breaks as he marched into the championship match.

Russian second seed Aslan Karatsev will come up against Marin Cilic in his first final on home soil after knocking compatriot Karen Khachanov out of the Kremlin Cup.

Karatsev beat Khachanov 7-6 (9-7) 6-1, while sixth seed Cilic – a two-time winner of the tournament in Moscow – got the better of Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4.

Jenson Brooksby enhanced his growing reputation and set up showdown with Diego Schwartzman in the European Open semi-finals.

The 20-year-old American, who took a set off Novak Djokovic and rattled the world number one at the US Open, is shaping up as potentially his country's biggest hope for the future in the men's game.

Californian Brooksby crushed Spain's world number 44 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-0, and second seed Schwartzman awaits after the Argentinian took down another 20-year-old American, Brandon Nakashima, scoring a 6-4 6-2 quarter-final win.

Schwartzman is the man who ended Andy Murray's hopes at the tournament in Antwerp.

Brooksby, who had to win two qualifying matches to reach the main draw, said: "Tomorrow will be a great match. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll get some rest tonight and get ready to battle again tomorrow."

The other semi-final will see Italian top seed Jannik Sinner take on South African seventh seed Lloyd Harris following their respective straight-sets wins over Arthur Rinderknech and Marton Fucsovics.


There will be an all-Russian semi-final at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, after Aslan Karatsev and Karen Khachanov won through to the final four.

Second seed Karatsev sank the hopes of Frenchman Gilles Simon, breaking serve five times on the way to a 6-4 6-3 win, while third-seeded Khachanov edged out Australian John Millman. A 7-5 7-6 (7-4) grind featured 19 aces by Khachanov, the 2018 Kremlin Cup champion, who saved four set points in the second set.

Marin Cilic thrashed Pedro Martinez 6-1 6-2 to set up a tussle with Ricardas Berankis, the Lithuanian ending Adrian Mannarino's run with a 6-2 7-6 (7-1) success. Frenchman Mannarino had stunned Russian top seed Andrey Rublev in the previous round.

Andy Murray fumed at his own mentality and "poor" attitude after falling to a straight-sets defeat to Diego Schwartzman at the European Open.

Two days on from beating Frances Tiafoe in a three-set epic, Murray fell to a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) loss to the second-seeded Argentine in Antwerp.

The three-time grand slam winner, who in January 2019 underwent hip resurfacing surgery, was 4-1 up in the first set but was reeled back in and lost out in a hard-fought contest.

Following the defeat, a frustrated Murray said: "I didn't make as many good decisions as I would have liked in the second set dealing with adversity.

"Mentally I was poor, and my attitude was poor on the court."

Murray is still slated to play in Austria and Stockholm before the season is out, while he could also enter the Paris Masters either via a wildcard entry or going through the qualifiers.

"There'll be a decision on the final Paris wildcard on Monday, but I might even play the qualis there," Murray added. 

"Sport is a results business. Play well or poorly doesn't really matter if you lose matches. You need to be winning. 

"That's what I want in the last few tournaments. They are really strong tournaments and there are no guarantees the results will come, but I want to win more matches."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karen Khachanov revealed he felt the nerves of playing in front of a home crowd as he marked his return to Moscow with a comeback victory in the Kremlin Cup.

Handed a bye for the opening round, third seed Khachanov made home advantage count in his first match as the Russian defeated Australian world number 50 James Duckworth 3-6 6-3 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Khachanov – Olympic Games silver medallist, who triumphed in Moscow three years ago – will face another Australian, John Millman after he defeated Illya Marchenko 6-1 5-7 6-4 at the ATP 250 tournament.

"It always feel great to be back in your hometown, in a tournament where everything started for me as a professional tennis player," world number 31 Khachanov said.

"[This is] where I won my first matches, I got my first points. Since then, it's always great to come back home to see a crowd, [get] home support. It's also little bit more nervous, of course. But I always enjoy playing at home."

Khachanov was joined in going through to the last eight by sixth seed Marin Cilic – a two-time Kremlin Cup champion who overcame Tommy Paul 7-5 6-3.

At the European Open in Antwerp, top seed Jannik Sinner downed fellow Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti 7-5 6-2 in the duo's first meeting as professionals.

"We never practice together, so it was kind of a new match," Sinner said post-match.

"He's an incredible player. He's a very great talent, so I hope we will have a couple of more matches on the pro tour, and obviously I'm very happy about my level today."

Arthur Rinderknech upstaged eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 6-3 4-6 6-2 to set up a quarter-final tie with Sinner, who is in the hunt for a fourth title of the season and a place at next month's ATP Finals in Turin.

Another emerging talent, qualifier Jenson Brooksby, bettered US Open quarter-finalist Botic van de Zandschulp 6-2 6-0, with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina sending third seed Cristian Garin packing 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Andy Murray says he will never forget his memorable clash with Frances Tiafoe at the European Open in Antwerp.

The former world number one saved two match points in the first round match and eventually triumphed 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) in three hours and 45 minutes.

Murray's victory in an epic clash was the longest three-set match of the 2021 ATP season.

The battle had so many twists and turns that Murray, a veteran of 897 matches on tour, ended up having a long debrief with Tiafoe in the locker room afterwards.

Murray revealed it was the first conversation of that nature he had been involved in for more than a decade.

Indeed, the Briton only remembered going back over a match with one of his opponents twice before.

"I spent probably 30 minutes in the locker room afterwards just chatting to Frances," Murray said. "I had a long chat with Frances afterwards so I'll probably remember that and then the embrace at the end. 

"I guess so much went into it that I don't remember loads of points in the match, but obviously the end was special. 

"I've never played a match like that on the tour really. In the locker room we had a much more in-depth chat about tennis - that was kind of rare I would say. 

"I think maybe twice I've had that conversation in the locker room.

"Once was with [Jurgen] Melzer at the US Open after I beat him in five sets [in 2008] and we chatted a bit about the match.

"And then once after playing Jarkko Nieminen [at Wimbledon in 2010] because we were waiting to speak to the Queen after we played." 

Murray faces a tough test in the last 16 as he is due to do battle with second seed Diego Schwartzman.

He hit 21 aces against Tiafoe and totalled 46 winners to just 21 unforced errors, but Tiafoe was also in form with 51 winners to 25 unforced errors.

"The margins were so fine," added Murray. "I served particularly well at the end, which helped, and when he missed his first serve on that match point I was able to capitalise on that.

"There's obviously so much that goes into a match like that."

Schwartzman will go into the next match fresher than Murray as the Argentine received a first-round bye due to his seeding.

Andy Murray saved two match points before winning an epic encounter with Frances Tiafoe at the European Open in Antwerp.

The former world number one emerged triumphant from a gruelling contest lasting three hours and 45 minutes, the longest three-set match of the 2021 ATP season.

Having warded off two match points in the decisive tie-break, Murray clinched a 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) victory with a drop shot that landed just out of Tiafoe's reach.

"I think that's the first time in my career I've played a 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 [match]. I don't think I've ever played a match like that," said Murray, who next faces second seed Diego Schwartzman. "I think it's the longest three-set match I've played by quite a distance. I'm tired right now, obviously it was an unbelievable battle.

"Nowadays obviously my body is old now. I've played a lot of matches on the tour. I don't mind playing long matches, but that was taking it to another level.

"Brilliant match, amazing atmosphere, thanks to everyone who came and supported. It's just so nice to be back and playing in front of crowds again."

American prospect Jenson Brooksby left his compatriot Reilly Opelka flummoxed as the fifth seed was beaten 6-4 6-4.

Opelka was heard proclaiming Brooksby was the "best player I've played in my whole life" during the second set as he struggled to interpret the 20-year-old's service game. Brooksby will face Botic van de Zandschulp in the next round.

There was another upset when sixth seed Alex de Minaur lost 6-4 6-0 to Brandon Nakashima, who has twice reached ATP-level finals this year and will next face Henri Laaksonen, victorious over Benoit Paire.

Lorenzo Musetti needed two tie-breaks to defeat fellow Italian Gianluca Mager, while Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – quarter-finalist at the French Open this year – eased past Jordan Thompson 6-3 6-3.

At the Kremlin Cup, fifth seed Alexander Bublik suffered a surprise straight-sets defeat to Illya Marchenko, the world number 164 winning by a 6-4 6-3 scoreline.

Adrian Mannarino battled through against wildcard Roman Safiullin, but Laslo Djere lost in three sets to Gilles Simon.

Ricardas Berankis and Egor Gerasimov also progressed, while Guido Pella retired from his match with Pedro Martinez.

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.

Casper Ruud rolled past Cameron Norrie at the San Diego Open for this fifth ATP Tour title of the season.

Ruud – the second seed – was too strong for Brit Norrie, winning 6-0 6-2 in Sunday's ATP 250 final.

Norway's Ruud earned his first hard-court trophy at the expense of Norrie and Tour-leading fifth title of 2021, ahead of world number one Novak Djokovic, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Olympic Games gold medallist Alexander Zverev (all four).

Ruud broke serve five times to boost his chances of qualifying for next month's ATP Finals in Turin.

"Special thanks to Rod, obviously the legend. I think you need to come to all my matches now because I'm playing really good when you come and watch," Ruud said after receiving the trophy from Rod Laver.

"I hope you will come to Indian Wells next week to watch, so let's see [what happens there]!"

Jannik Sinner eased to another Sofia Open title with a 6-3 6-4 final win over Gael Monfils in a battle of the top two seeds.

Sinner's first ATP Tour final had come at this event in 2020, where he opened his account by beating Vasek Pospisil in three sets – a sterner test than he was given by Monfils.

The Italian had since tasted victory twice more, while Monfils' previous final had been in February 2020, although his success this week extended a run of seasons with final appearances to 17 in a row.

The most recent three of the Frenchman's prior 31 had ended in glory, but he was no match for defending champion Sinner.

The 20-year-old had already passed up a break point before consecutive superb forehand winners brought the breakthrough, the second clipping the net on its way through.

A marathon rally saved the second of two break points Sinner faced in the seventh game, yet that was as close as he came to being stopped.

After Sinner served out the opener, Monfils paid the price for losing his focus at the start of the second, adamant he had landed the first point of the set inside the line as a narrow call went against him.

Monfils' wild backhand then went long to give Sinner the lead in the second, one he never relinquished as he coasted through to serve out the match to love.

"I'm happy to be one more time the winner here in Sofia," Sinner said. "I think it's a very, very nice tournament.

"For sure it was the best match [he played in the tournament], because I had to. It's never easy to play against him. We've had very tough matches, I think everyone knows that.

"Today, in the [key] moments, I was a little bit luckier than him, so that helped a lot."

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