Ilya Ivashka clinched his first ATP Tour title after cruising past Mikael Ymer at the Winston-Salem Open.

Ivashka became the first Belarusian to win a trophy at ATP Tour level since Max Mirnyi in 2003 thanks to Saturday's crushing 6-0 6-2 victory.

The unheralded 27-year-old, who needed just 56 minutes to claim silverware, also became the eighth first-time winner on Tour this season and the sixth champion ranked outside the top 50 in 2021.

"This week, I had everything," said Ivashka, who won 90 per cent of points on his first serve against Swedish opponent Ymer in the final of the ATP 250 event.

Ivashka, who stunned top seed and 2016 champion Pablo Carreno Busta en route to glory, added: "In the second round, I was booking my flights to New York. I was two points away from losing and now I am standing here.

"It is incredible how things can change in one match. It was an unbelievable pleasure to play here. I feel amazing to play in front of such a nice crowd and I really enjoyed it."

The Winston-Salem Open will produce a first-time ATP Tour winner as Mikael Ymer and Ilya Ivashka each advanced to their first Tour-level final Friday. 

Ymer upset the only player among the four semi-finalists who previously had reached a final, 15th seed Carlos Alcaraz, by a score of 7-5 6-3 as he contested his first ATP semi-final at the North Carolina event. 

The 22-year-old Swede, ranked number 90 in the world, knocked off Alcaraz in the second round at this year's Australian Open in their only prior meeting. 

Ymer converted all three of his break points against the Spanish teen, who is ranked a career-best number 54 this week. 

Ivashka had no trouble disposing of Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2 6-1 in the first semi-final. 

The Finn had won 93 per cent of his service games this week entering the match but was broken in four of eight Friday. 

Ivashka, meanwhile, did not face a single break point on his own serve as he cruised to victory in 68 minutes. 

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.

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley is confident the season-opening grand slam will be held in Melbourne next year, despite coronavirus concerns.

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around much of Australia, with Victoria and New South Wales both locked down due to outbreaks in the states.

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, amid the coronavirus pandemic and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced.

Players, however, as set to spend two weeks in a biosecure bubble prior to the 2022 event, according to Tiley.

"There's a lot of time between now and when we get going but, at this point in time, we're planning on having a two-week bubble, where the players will be able to move freely between the hotel and the courts," Tiley said.

"They're protected, they're kept safe among themselves and safe from the community as well.

"And after those two weeks, they'll come out and be able to compete in the Australian Open in front of crowds."

Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Andy Murray and Ash Barty will take on 2010 finalist Vera Zvonareva in the first round of the US Open.

French Open runner-up Tsitsipas and 2012 champion Murray is one of the standout matches in the opening round at Flushing Meadows.

Top seed Novak Djokovic will start his quest for a calendar Grand Slam against a qualifier in New York and could face a repeat of the Wimbledon final versus Matteo Berrettini in the last eight.

World number one Djokovic, a strong favourite for a record 21st major title with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer absent due to injury, could do battle with Alexander Zverev at the semi-final stage.

Daniil Medvedev, the second seed, is in the bottom half with Tsitsipas, who he could come up against in the semi-final. Medvedev's first test will come against Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Barty could come up against Iga Swiatek in the last eight and Karolina Pliskova if she makes it through to the semi-finals.

Simona Halep's encounter with Camila Giorgi is a mouthwatering first-round match, while defending champion Naomi Osaka returns to grand slam action against former US Open junior champion Marie Bouzkova.

Angelique Kerber could be a tough fourth round opponent for Osaka. Close friends Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens meet in another eye-catching first-round match.

There will be no Serena or Venus Williams at the final major of the year due to injuries.

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.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray has bemoaned his inconsistency within matches after bowing out of the Winston-Salem Open in the second round to Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday.

The 13th seeded American triumphed in one hour and 49 minutes over the Scot, who entered the event as a wildcard and had beaten lucky loser Noah Rubin in the first round.

Tiafoe won 7-6 (7-4) 6-3, saving three set points in the first set, before winning the tiebreak and taking command in the second.

Murray sent down 10 aces across the match but struggled on his second serve and on return.

"The positive thing is that I moved well and served well but my level is up and down with no real consistency," Murray said after the match in North Carolina.

"There are moments in matches where I play well and then I make mistakes or miss returns. I wish I wasn't doing that.

"My level is around 50 or 60 in the world. It's frustrating because if wasn't moving great and not feeling good physically then I would be a bit easier on myself. But when I'm winning a low percentage of second-serve points, that's got nothing to do with the physical side of things."

Sixth seed Marin Cilic also bowed out, losing 4-6 7-5 6-4 to Belarussian Ilya Ivashka, who sent down 16-13 aces.

Fifth seed Alexander Bublik was also bundled out, going down 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori.

Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta dropped a set but edged past Kwon Soon-Woo 6-3 3-6 6-4.

British third seed Dan Evans came from behind to beat Lucas Pouille, while fourth seed Marton Fucsovics won in straight sets over Yosuke Watanuki.

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 was left in "the strangest situation" he has experienced before a tour match at the Winston-Salem Open following Nick Kyrgios' withdrawal.

Murray had been due to face Kyrgios in an enticing first-round clash in North Carolina, only for the Australian to pull out due to a knee issue.

Former world number one Murray was then drawn against a lucky loser from qualifying, which had only been completed shortly before Murray was due to go on court on Sunday.

The tight turnaround prompted Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Max Purcell to decline the chance to take on Murray, while another option, Yosuke Watanuki, ended up with a direct path to the main draw.

Home hope Noah Rubin, who played his college tennis at the same venue having competed for Wake Forest University, stepped in shortly after his qualifying defeat to Lucas Pouille.

Despite Rubin's best efforts, the challenge proved too much for him as Murray swept to a 6-2 6-0 win, capping a bizarre evening for the three-time grand slam champion.

"It is, by far, the strangest situation I've ever been in before a match on tour," said Murray. "It's pretty rare that you experience something new when you're 17 years into your career.

"I sort of knew at 6:15 that Nick wasn't going to play, but the qualifying was still going on. I was told that if I played a lucky loser, I would play this evening, but if I played against a qualifier the match would be suspended until tomorrow [Monday].

"Then I was told that I drew a lucky loser and I was going to be playing this evening against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, that was like 15-20 minutes after the last qualifying match finished, then Herbert decided he didn't want to play.

"Then they went down the list and none of them, Purcell and Watanuki, they didn't want to play either. And Rubin, who had obviously just finished playing 20 minutes beforehand said, 'yeah I'll do it. I'll play'.

"I kind of had like three opponents in the space of 45 minutes, I was warming up for the match to start at seven and then stopped and then prepared to play Herbert then he didn't want to play then Noah obviously decided but he'd just finished so it was a break and it was just very, very odd sort of 45 minutes, an hour before we went on."

Murray is due to face 13th seed Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

Alexander Zverev believes world number one Novak Djokovic remains the favourite for the upcoming U.S. Open despite the German backing up his Olympic gold medal with victory in Cincinnati.

The German world number four defeated Andrey Rublev in straight sets on Sunday to win the Western and Southern Open, claiming his fourth title of the ATP season.

The 2021 U.S. Open begins next Monday with Dominic Thiem, who defeated Zverev in the 2020 final, withdrawing from the men's draw along with superstar Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Their absences have opened up an opportunity for the in-form Zverev to have a run at the title but the German insisted Djokovic, who he defeated in the Olympic semi-finals, is the player to beat.

"I do think that he's still the favourite," Zverev told reporters after his win in Cincinnati.

"I do think he's going to be playing incredible tennis there. He's going to be fresh, and I think there is also other guys that are in very good form. I think Rublev is in very good form, [Daniil] Medvedev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, all those guys are playing great tennis.

"It's definitely going to be an interesting US Open. But I'm also looking forward to it, because I know where I stand, I know how I'm playing, and I hope I can continue the work and hopefully play even better in New York."

Djokovic has not played since Tokyo 2020, where he lost his bronze medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta after his semi-final defeat to Zverev.

The Serbian world number one opted to withdraw from the mixed doubles' semi-final afterwards, citing a left shoulder injury.

"I think Novak will be back. He's obviously going to be the favourite but I think other guys are going to be in great shape,” Zverev said.

"I'm looking forward to the week. Let's see how it goes. But there is still one week to go. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to find my rhythm in New York, as well."

Zverev, who had never won a match in Cincinnati prior to this year's event, has not lost a match since his Wimbledon fourth-round exit to Felix Auger-Aliassime in July.

Alexander Zverev claimed his fourth title of 2021 with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Andrey Rublev to win the Western and Southern Open.

The Olympic champion had not won a match in Cincinnati prior to this year's tournament, but Sunday's one-sided final capped a remarkable turnaround for the world number five.

Zverev raced into a 4-0 lead before securing the opening set 6-2 as he produced no errors across the first seven games.

The third seed carried on his domination, breaking Rublev in his opening service game of the second set to pave the way for the 17th ATP title of his career within an hour in the showpiece.

After paying tribute to "his best friend on Tour" Rublev, Zverev added in his on-court interview: "It is incredible that tennis can be back, sport can be back, and we can watch and play this beautiful sport again.

"I normally do not look forward to this week - not winning a single match in seven years - but this has now become one of my favourite times of the year for me, hopefully it can be for the next 10 to 15 years."

The 24-year-old reached the final of the US Open last year, though he will now eye going one step further as the tournament commences at the end of August.

Rafael Nadal was "practically lame" before he called an early end to his season and has been "stumbling all year round", coach Carlos Moya has revealed.

Former world number one and 20-time grand slam winner Nadal will miss the upcoming US Open but hopes to return in 2022, yet Moya says there are question marks over what the best course of treatment will be for the 35-year-old's foot problem.

In announcing his withdrawal from the rest of the campaign, Nadal declared a foot issue that he has been bothered by since 2005 was behind his decision.

The Spaniard took a break after losing a French Open semi-final to Novak Djokovic, skipping Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.

He attempted to make a return for the hard-court season but lost his second match in Washington to South African Lloyd Harris.

Moya, who was also briefly a world number one, said Nadal had managed to prolong a career that was in doubt 16 years ago, thanks to insoles and treatment.

"But this year the story has changed in many training sessions," Moya said. "He could not finish them and we had to change and ease intensity for the foot, thinking about the tournaments.

"He has been in pain for months and there comes a time when he cannot take it anymore. In the last match he played practically lame.

"The best thing was to stop, rest the foot and refresh the head."

Speaking to Spanish broadcaster Onda Cero's El Transistor show, Moya said: "It is not known where this injury comes from. There is a diagnosis but it is not clear which is the best treatment.

"Rafa's main objective is to regain sensations in his feet and in his head, because stumbling all year round has not helped him."

Andrey Rublev finally got the better of compatriot Daniil Medvedev after a flashpoint involving a courtside camera in the Western and Southern Open semi-finals.

Rublev will now face Alexander Zverev in the decider, having ended Medvedev's bid for a Toronto-Cincinnati double.

Medvedev had never even dropped a set to his fellow Russian in four prior ATP Tour meetings and appeared to be on course for another dominant victory when he took the first set.

But the world number two clattered into a camera early in the second and all momentum was soon lost.

Medvedev complained about the positioning of the camera, claiming it had caused a hand injury and aiming a kick at the lens.

He swiftly called for treatment as his performance started to fall well below his lofty standards, with Rublev finally able to win a set after breaking in an epic 15-minute game.

A series of unforced Medvedev errors allowed Rublev to break again in the decider and seal a stunning 2-6 6-3 6-3 triumph.

Third seed Zverev fought back from a double break down in the final set to progress to the final with a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-4) win over second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The epic match lasted two hours and 41 minutes, with Zverev responding strongly after appearing unwell to book his spot in the final against Rublev.

Rublev gets his Daniil degree

Asked to reflect on finally toppling Medvedev, Rublev told Amazon: "It's always tough to play against Daniil and to beat him.

"I think it gives me a bit more confidence that I can play against him, I can compete against him. There are still so many things to improve, but it's like I've passed university."

The victory came as a relief, with Rublev believing he was unfortunate even to be trailing in the first set.

"Inside I was thinking, when I was 6-2, the score shouldn't be like this," he said.

"The points were really tight, some little outs, little mistakes, some good shots from Daniil. The score was not real [in] the first set.

"Even the third set, I won 6-3 but the match was so intense. You saw so many rallies, so many long rallies, and it was so tough.

"It was a super mental match, a super physical match, exactly like a chess match."

Zverev's Novak mentality

Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Zverev had trailed 4-1 in the third set against Tsitsipas, but fought back with two breaks before winning in a tie-break.

"After I did the first break back I thought 'OK I have the chances'," Zverev said during his on-court interview. "I felt like he was not serving bombs. I felt like I was always in the rallies but I was losing the rallies because I was a bit low energy, so I started being a bit more aggressive, a bit of the Novak mentality that I had against him at the Olympics as well."

Zverev has a 4-0 record against final opponent Rublev but he was wary of his opponent.

"Favourite or not, I think if you're in the final, there's no easy opponent," he said. "Today he played incredible beating Medvedev."

Rafael Nadal has curtailed his 2021 ATP Tour season due to a long-term foot injury but insists he is working towards a return.

Nadal, 35, has played only twice since losing the French Open semi-final to Novak Djokovic in May.

The Spaniard skipped Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics and had withdrawn from this week's Western and Southern Open before the US Open.

Nadal will not now compete in the final major of the season either, while great rival Roger Federer is also out for an extended period.

It clears a path for Novak Djokovic – the third man tied on 20 grand slam titles – to win a record-breaking 21st championship at Flushing Meadows while completing a remarkable calendar Grand Slam.

Djokovic could yet have competition again in the years to come, though, as Nadal is not yet calling time on a glittering career.

In making his latest announcement on social media on Friday, Nadal revealed he has been dealing with his injury since 2005 but has not let it halt him yet.

"Hello everyone," he wrote on his Twitter page. "I wanted to inform you that unfortunately I have to end the 2021 season.

"Honestly, I've been suffering a lot more than I should with my foot for a year and I need to take some time.

"After having discussed it with the team and family, this decision has been made and I think it is the way forward to try to recover and recover well.

"It's a year that I've missed things that matter a lot to me, like Wimbledon, like the Olympics, how the US Open is going to be now, like many other events that are also important to me.

"And in view of the fact that during this last year I have not had the ability to train and prepare and compete in the way that I really like to do it, in the end, I come to the conclusion that what I need is time to recover, change a series of things, try to understand what has been the evolution of my foot in recent times.

"It is not a new injury, it is an injury that I have had since 2005 and it has not prevented me from developing my sports career during all these years.

"If it is true that I have had a season where things are not going as they should, as we would all like, it is time to make decisions, seek a slightly different type of treatment to find a solution to this problem or at least improve it in order to continue to have options for the next few years.

"I have the maximum enthusiasm and predisposition to do whatever it takes to recover the best possible form to keep competing for the things that really motivate me and the things that I've done all these years.

"I am convinced that with the recovery of the foot, and obviously a very important daily effort, this can be achieved. I will work as hard as I can to make it happen.

"Thank you in advance for all the support, understanding and all your expressions of affection that are very important and more in difficult times like these.

"I promise you what I am going to do is work hard to try to continue enjoying this sport for a while longer. A big hug to all."

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