Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his strong run of form en route to the Miami Open third round, while Aslan Karatsev's maintained his fairytale run in 2021.

Greek star Tsitsipas flexed his muscles in a straight-sets win over Damir Dzumhur on Saturday.

Australian Open semi-finalist and Dubai Tennis Championships winner Karatsev enjoyed a victorious Miami debut.

Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic also progressed at the ATP 1000 tournament.

 

TSITSIPAS STAYS HOT

World number five Tsitsipas eased past Dzumhur 6-1 6-4 in his first appearance since losing in last week's Mexican Open final.

Tsitsipas (15-4) became the third player to reach 15 wins this season, the second seed following in the footsteps of Russian duo Rublev (17-3) and Daniil Medvedev (15-2).

"It was a great match, especially against a guy that I probably don't have a good record playing against in the past," said Tsitsipas. "I started the match very strong, breaking him twice and taking a big lead in the score, and I think the things worked out by themselves after that."

Tsitsipas will face Kei Nishikori after the Japanese outlasted Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 6-4.

 

NO STOPPING KARATSEV

Karatsev's Miami Open debut ended in a 6-4 6-3 win for the 17th-seeded Russian over Mikhail Kukushkin.

Already in the ATP's top 100 and set to keep climbing, Karatsev broke serve four times en route to the next round, where Sebastian Korda awaits after upstaging 10th seed Fabio Fognini 1-6 6-4 6-2.

"Of course it gives me confidence to win my first title, but you arrive here and it’s a different surface and new tournament," said Karatsev, who ended last season ranked 112th before bursting into the top 30 behind his semi-final run at Melbourne Park. "So you try [to think of it] as a new tournament and new place, but of course it gives me a lot of confidence."

Karatsev owns a 13-2 record this year, with his only two losses coming against world number one Novak Djokovic and US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

 

RUBLEV ROLLS ON

Fourth seed Rublev has proven to be remarkably consistent, highlighted by his crushing 6-1 6-2 rain-interrupted victory against Tennys Sandgren.

Having equalled his previous best run in Miami, Rublev will play 29th seed Marton Fucsovics who took down Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4.

Rublev has won a Tour-leading 17 matches this year.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Schwartzman was a 6-3 6-3 winner against Yasutaka Uchiyama, Shapovalov – the sixth seed – trumped Ilya Ivashka 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 in a marathon, 12th seed Raonic accounted for Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-1, former US Open winner Cilic surprised 13th seed Christian Garin 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5), while 15th seed Alex de Minaur was eliminated.

German star Alexander Zverev was too strong for top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Mexican Open final, claiming the title in straight sets after a stunning turnaround.

In a battle of the top two seeds, Zverev reigned supreme 6-4 7-6 (7-3) for his 14th ATP crown in Saturday's Acapulco decider.

Last year's US Open finalist Zverev was runner-up at the ATP 500 tournament in 2019, beaten by Australian Nick Kyrgios in straight sets.

But Zverev went one step further this year, taking down two-time Australian Open semi-finalist Tsitsipas after two hours, 17 minutes.

Zverev, who was rocked during his semi-final win over countryman Dominik Koepfer on Friday – a 5.7 magnitude earthquake registered as broadcast cameras shook, did not drop a set throughout his title-winning run.

Greek star Tsitsipas made an impressive start, racing out to a 3-0 lead after breaking Zverev in the second game.

Zverev, though, hit back as he put the set back on serve in the seventh game before consolidating.

Another break saw Tsitsipas come unstuck – Zverev reeling off six consecutive games to claim the opening set in red-hot fashion.

Zverev and Tsitsipas went toe-to-toe in the second set, the pair exchanging breaks late as a tie-break eventually saw the former complete a dominant display.

World number five Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised into the Mexican Open final with a routine victory over Italian teenage sensation Lorenzo Musetti in Acapulco on Friday.

Tsitsipas triumphed 6-1 6-3 in 79 minutes to get past 19-year-old Musetti, who had beaten third seed Diego Schwartzman and former world number three Grigor Dimitrov on his run to the semis.

The Greek top seed will play second seed Alexander Zverev in Saturday's final after the German got past countryman Dominik Koepfer 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in their semi-final, which was literally rocked by an earthquake.

The broadcast cameras shook mid-point but play continued as a 5.7 magnitude earthquake was registered to the north of Marquelia, which is to the east of Acapulco.

Tsitsipas holds a 5-1 record against Zverev, who is ranked seventh in the world and made last year's US Open final.

"Sascha is someone I've played against in the past and it's never easy. We're both really hungry and we're both very competitive," Tsitsipas said.

The Greek made light work of Musetti, winning five straight games in the opening set after starting at 1-1.

Unforced errors cost Musetti, who had his moments, but Tsitsipas was on song with 17 of 23 winners off his forehand.

Musetti will move into the top 100 of the rankings for the first time on Monday after his breakthrough week.

"We'll definitely see a lot from Lorenzo in the future, he has a wonderful one-handed backhand and creates lots of opportunities. He showed his level this week," Tsitsipas said.

Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was made to sweat but got past Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets to reach the Mexican Open semi-finals on Thursday.

World number five Tsitsipas, who was a semi-finalist at last month's Australian Open, defeated seventh seed Auger-Aliassime 7-5 4-6 6-3 in Acapulco.

In a tight contest, back-to-back double faults from Canadian sensation Auger-Aliassime in the eighth game of the third set proved costly as Tsitsipas broke after the pair had held serve throughout the last.

"It got really tight," Tsitsipas said in his post-game interview. "I got a bit lucky with the double faults towards the end of the match.

"I was just persistent. Towards the end I had zoned in 100 per cent. Both of us brought an amazing energy out on the court. Felix is someone I've played a lot and I have huge respect for him."

Greek star Tsitsipas will next play emerging Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti for a spot in the ATP 500 tournament decider.

Qualifier Musetti, who upstaged third seed Diego Schwartzman in the first round, stunned fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the final match of the day.

The 19-year-old Musetti will now contest his maiden ATP 500-level semi-final as he prepares to enter the top 100 on the men's tour after just his fourth main-draw appearance.

Alexander Zverev – the German second seed – progressed to the semi-finals with a walkover after eighth seed Casper Ruud withdrew due to a wrist injury sustained in practice.

Zverev will play countryman Dominik Koepfer in the final four after he defeated Cameron Norrie 7-5 6-4, maintaining his run of not dropping a set all tournament.

Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and fellow star Alexander Zverev progressed to the Mexican Open quarter-finals on Wednesday, but Milos Raonic bowed out.

Tsitsipas was too good for big-serving American John Isner in a 6-3 6-2 victory in Acapulco midweek.

A two-time Australian Open finalist, having also reached the French Open final four last year, Tsitsipas excelled on serve against Isner.

Greek star Tsitsipas only dropped one point on his first serve – not facing a break point throughout the last-16 contest – while firing down eight aces.

Standing in the way of Tsitsipas and a semi-final spot at the ATP 500 tournament is Canadian sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime.

In a battle of the NextGen, seventh seed Auger-Aliassime saved four of five break points in a 6-3 6-4 win over wild card Sebastian Korda.

Zverev will feature in his third Mexican Open quarter-final in four years after the second seed took down Laslo Djere 6-4 6-3.

Runner-up in 2019, Zverev will next face eighth seed Casper Ruud – who topped Tallon Griekspoor 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the quarters.

"I think today what showed the most is that I got better with the match," Zverev said. "I started off extremely sloppy, started off with a lot of unforced errors.

"The longer the match went on the better I started playing and this is something that is very important for me. When I get into a rhythm I feel very comfortable on court and that's how I felt today."

Elsewhere, Lorenzo Musetti's giant-slaying run continued following a 2-6 6-3 7-6 (7-1) victory against Frances Tiafoe.

Musetti earned his first ATP 500 quarter-final as the Italian prepares to meet fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who eased past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 6-2.

There was an upset after fourth seed Raonic crashed out 6-4 6-2 at the hands of Dominik Koepfer, while sixth seed Fabio Fognini lost 6-4 6-3 against Cameron Norrie.

Italian qualifier Lorenzo Musetti may be ranked 120th in the world but he claimed his maiden top-10 scalp on Tuesday, beating Diego Schwartzman in the first round of the Mexican Open.

Musetti, the Australian Open boys' singles champion in 2019, secured a 6-3 2-6 6-4 win over ninth-ranked Schwartzman in a stunning success.

"There is a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice and I think some tears left in my eyes," the 19-year-old said during his on-court interview.

"I'm really proud of myself, but now I'm going to work harder and focus on the next days."

Musetti, whose forehand was excellent, defeated both Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome last year.

Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas had no such trouble, easing into the second round, where he will face big-serving American John Isner.

The Greek world number five beat France's Benoit Paire 6-3 6-1, aided by a strong display on serve.

"I didn't know what to expect from Benoit today," Tsitsipas said. "I think it's kind of tricky playing a tournament you haven't played before."

On facing 27th-ranked Isner next up, Tsitsipas added: "He's a guy that serves really well so that's going to be the biggest element and the one thing that I'll really have to resolve during that match."

Fourth seed Milos Raonic sent down 13 aces as he defeated American Tommy Paul 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

In the late match, fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov got past Adrian Mannarino, who retired when trailing 6-4 3-0.

Stefanos Tsitsipas saw his hopes of a hat-trick of titles at the Open 13 Provence ended by a shock quarter-final defeat on Friday.

The second seed was upset by French world number 93 Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as the doubles expert scored a 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 win.

Herbert had won only one singles match on tour in 2021 before this week, but Kei Nishikori and Cameron Norrie fell to the 29-year-old in the early rounds before he stunned world number five Tsitsipas.

It was a first career win in singles over a player ranked in the world's top five for Herbert, and he said: "It has been an incredible week for me so far, especially this match."

Quoted on the ATP website, Herbert added: "I knew I was going to have to play an amazing match to have a chance to win and I managed to do that. I am really happy about the way I played. I am so happy to be in the semi-finals here."

A French finalist is guaranteed as Herbert will face compatriot Ugo Humbert in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Humbert beat another Frenchman, world number 138 Arthur Rinderknech, in a tight contest, saving a match point and coming through 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) in two hours and 36 minutes.

Russian top seed Daniil Medvedev chased off the threat of Jannik Sinner at this indoor event for the second year running, securing a 6-2 6-4 success against the Italian teenager.

Their only two career meetings have come in Marseille, and Medvedev bossed this encounter, taking three of his five break chances and holding serve throughout.

He will face Australian Matthew Ebden in the final four after the world number 287 earned an eye-catching 4-6 6-4 6-2 win over Russian third seed Karen Khachanov, who was champion in 2018 in Marseille.

At the Qatar Open, Nikoloz Basilashvili backed up his three-set win over Roger Federer by reaching the final of the tournament.

The Georgian scored a 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 semi-final victory over American Taylor Fritz in a clash of two unseeded players.

Basilashvili will tackle Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut for the title on Saturday after the fifth seed ousted Russian third seed Andrey Rublev.

A 6-3 6-3 win for Bautista Agut nudged the man from Castellon de la Plana into a 3-2 career head-to-head lead over his Muscovite opponent.

Andrey Rublev continued his remarkable 2021 as he saw off Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to reach the final of the Rotterdam Open.

Tsitsipas has himself enjoyed a fine start to the year, reaching the semis of the Australian Open, but it was Rublev who progressed to the final in more routine fashion than might have been expected.

He prevailed 6-3 7-6 (7-2), marking his 12th win from 13 matches this season.

The victory also extended his winning streak in ATP 500 matches to 19. Only Roger Federer (28) and Andy Murray (21) have produced longer such runs.

"[I play tennis] to play at the best level, to play at the best tournaments, to try to compete, then to go deep and to try to win them," Rublev said in an on-court interview. "A final is always special, so I am going to try to do my best tomorrow [Sunday]."

Rublev is likely to require his best given the form Marton Fucsovics, his opponent, is in.

Fucsovics came through qualifying to reach the main draw and delivered a superb performance to stun world number 26 Borna Coric 6-4 6-1.

The final will be the third of Fucsovics' career and his first since February 2019, when he lost to Rublev's Russian compatriot Daniil Medvedev at the Sofia Open.

Andrey Rublev was pushed hard by Jeremy Chardy on Friday but eventually secured his 18th successive ATP 500 win to set up a semi-final meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Rotterdam Open.

Chardy managed to save match points in the second set, as Rublev wobbled at the crucial moment, but the Russian got the job done 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (2-7) 6-4.

The pair were on court for just under two hours and 40 minutes and racked up a considerable number of winners, with Rublev's 44 eight more than the Frenchman.

His 18-match winning streak in ATP 500 events has only been bettered on five previous occasions since 2009, all of which were achieved by Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, who holds the record of 28 successive victories.

If he is to get any closer to Federer's remarkable haul, Rublev will have to go beyond Tsitsipas, but Friday's match took plenty out of him.

"I will try to do as much as I can to be ready for [the semi-final]… Stefanos also had two tough matches [this week]," said Rublev.

"He had three sets [on Thursday] and today he had three sets. Now he has to play doubles. It is not easy."

As Rublev alluded to, Tsitsipas certainly did not have it all his own way against another Russian, Karen Khachanov, coming from a set down to win 4-6 6-3 7-5.

Tsitsipas also had to contend with being 3-1 down in the third set – but Rublev knows all about the Greek's ability to come back from the brink having lost to him in last year's ATP Finals despite having match point.

"He [Khachanov] was playing great tennis and I wasn't sure if I would be able to compete," Tsitsipas said after the contest.

"I had an amazing 5-0 lead in the second set and that brought a lot of confidence into my game. We had great rallies and the quality of tennis was excellent. You need to stay as calm as possible in three-setters. I have won a lot in the past and with experience, it gives me an idea of how to play in these tight moments."

Borna Coric and Marton Fucsovics will go head-to-head in the other semi-final.

Croatian Coric came through in straight sets against Kei Nishikori, though it was by no means a straightforward victory as he was pushed to tie-breaks in both sets, winning 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

Fucsovics saw off Tommy Paul 6-4 6-3 to reach the last four.

Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas emerged from a brutal battle with Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter-finals of the Rotterdam Open. 

The second seed will meet Karen Khachanov in the last eight of the ATP 500 event. 

His progress was in doubt for parts of his 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory over Hurkacz, the match lasting two hours and seven minutes on Thursday. 

But Tsitsipas, the highest seed left in the competition after an early exit for Daniil Medvedev, did not allow Hurkacz a single break point either side of the solitary loss of serve he suffered in the second set. 

"I played really well," said Tsitsipas, who has an 8-1 record this year. 

"Both of us, we played a high [level] of tennis and didn’t give [away] many break-point opportunities. 

"[There were] pretty good serves from both sides and I am really glad that I fought so hard towards the very end. It was exhausting, but it paid off."

It was the fifth straight match between Tsitsipas and Hurkacz that required a final set. 

"Hubert is a very tough competitor," added the Greek, who is yet to win an ATP 500 tournament.  

"We have played loads in the past. Every single time I go out on the court, I know what to expect.  

"He is a fighter and he doesn’t like to give up, so it always makes him a very difficult opponent." 

Dusan Lajovic had stunned Melbourne runner-up Medvedev with a straight-sets win on Wednesday. 

However, his campaign was ended by Borna Coric, who won comfortably 6-3 6-2 to ensure he will face Kei Nishikori in the quarters.  

Veteran qualifier Jeremy Chardy defeated David Goffin, ending the Belgian's hopes of back-to-back ATP titles, and will take on Andrey Rublev in the last eight.

Andrey Rublev will face Andy Murray at the Rotterdam Open after the Russian battled past Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

The appetising showdown between Rublev and former world number one Murray was handed a primetime evening slot on Wednesday's schedule by tournament organisers, given the appeal of a clash between one of the ATP Tour's brightest younger stars and the three-time grand slam winner.

World number eight Rublev is, at the age of 23, among the band of players who have emerged as potential torchbearers for the men's tour once the likes of Murray and the big three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic make way.

After wildcard Murray's win over Robin Haase on Monday, Rublev secured victory on Tuesday against 80th-ranked Giron, who earned his place in the ATP 500 tournament through qualifying.

Murray and Rublev have played only once before, in entirely different circumstances to those surrounding Wednesday's match. That previous encounter came at the Australian Open in 2017, with Murray, then ranked number one in the world, scorching to a 6-3 6-0 6-2 win in round two.

The Scot has since undergone major surgery on a hip problem that has threatened to end his career, and heads into his clash with Rublev ranked 123rd in the world but eager to show he can compete at a high level.

"Andy is a true legend and I have a really good connection with him. I really like him as a person and as a player. He destroyed me once in the past. I'm sure we'll have great, long rallies and it will be a fight," Rublev said, quoted via the ATP website.

Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas passed his first-round test by scoring a narrow win over a player that beat Murray in Montpellier last week – the second seed and world number six overcoming Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

The tournament lost a three-time grand slam champion when Stan Wawrinka was edged out 6-4 7-5 by Russian Karen Khachanov in a tough first-round matchup for the Swiss, who sits just one place above the Russian at number 20 in the world rankings.

Alex de Minaur beat fellow Australian John Millman 6-1 6-4, while top seed Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev begins his challenge on Wednesday when he tackles Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

Daniil Medvedev believes he has "nothing to lose" in Sunday's Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic.

Medvedev reached his second grand slam decider after an impressive 6-4 6-2 7-5 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in their last-four clash in Melbourne on Friday.

The Russian fourth seed became the 25th man in the Open Era to record a Tour-level winning streak of 20 as he continued his incredible form.

Medvedev said in an on-court interview all the pressure in the final would be on Djokovic, who has won the Australian Open a record eight times.

Despite seeking his maiden grand slam crown, the 25-year-old – who has won three of his past four meetings with Djokovic – said he had nothing to lose in the final.

"I think he's the favourite because he didn't lose. In eight occasions that he was here in the semis he won the tournament. Me, I'm, how you can call it, I don't know how you call it in English, not an outsider, but I'm the challenger, the guy that challenges the guy who was eight times in the final and won eight times. And I'm happy about it," Medvedev told a news conference.

"I like to play against Novak. We have, since the first one when I was ranked 60, we had always tough matches physically, mentally. And he's one of the greatest tennis players in the history of tennis. So playing the final against him is superb. I'm really happy about it. Let's see what happens on Sunday.

"When I say no pressure, for sure when we get out there we both feel pressure. I want to win my first one. He wants to win number 18. We don't know for who the crowd is going to be. It's all the small details.

"I think if we talk in general, well, I have nothing to lose, to be honest."

Medvedev hit 46 winners and 21 unforced errors against Tsitsipas, overcoming a third-set blip to close out his victory.

As the Rod Laver Arena crowd attempted to get Tsitsipas back into the contest, Medvedev claimed a key break in the 11th game of the third set with a tremendous backhand pass down the line, which he celebrated with a dance.

"They [the crowd] were mostly for him, and that was, you know, the moment that I won the match, we should say. Of course you have to serve after, but that was important moment. So I wanted them to recognise me, I would say, because the shot was unbelievable, I think one of my best shots in my career," Medvedev said.

"Actually, my legs were facing the other way of the court because I didn't have time, so I have no idea how I made this, and I was really happy about it."

Stefanos Tsitsipas paid tribute to Daniil Medvedev for his performance in their Australian Open semi-final on Friday.

Medvedev set up a clash against Novak Djokovic in the decider in Melbourne after producing an impressive performance in a 6-4 6-2 7-5 victory over Tsitsipas.

The Russian fourth seed became the 25th man in the Open Era to record a Tour-level winning streak of 20 as he continued his incredible form.

Tsitsipas, who has lost six of seven meetings with Medvedev, credited the 2019 US Open runner-up for his display.

"Everyone saw what just happened out there. I'm the last person you should be asking this," the Greek fifth seed told a news conference.

"I was just focused on my game, and he put out his show. He became Daniil Medvedev for three sets in a row."

Medvedev hammered 46 winners to go with just 21 unforced errors, while dropping serve just once.

He will be aiming for his maiden grand slam title when he faces Djokovic, a player he has beaten in three of their previous four meetings.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see Daniil win the tournament. But, you know, it's a strange scenario," Tsitsipas said.

"I played Rafa [Nadal] here two years ago. I found his performance against me that day phenomenal. I was 100 per cent sure he was gonna win the tournament. And I ended up being wrong.

"Who knows? I don't know. Like, Djokovic is playing well too. Look, I'm not a betting website. I don't know what to say. Might be Medvedev, would be good for him, good for tennis."

Daniil Medvedev produced an impressive performance to outclass Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets and book an Australian Open final meeting with Novak Djokovic.

Medvedev was in irresistible form on Rod Laver Arena, needing just over two hours to get past Tsitsipas 6-4 6-2 7-5 on Friday and move into his second grand slam final.

The Russian fourth seed extended his winning streak to 20 matches heading into Sunday, when he will be aiming to claim his maiden major title.

Tsitsipas, coming off an incredible comeback win over Rafael Nadal in the last eight, had the backing of the Melbourne crowd, but no answers to Medvedev, who won for the sixth time in seven meetings between the pair despite a third-set blip.

After an entertaining but largely uneventful start, Medvedev broke for 3-2, a wonderful backhand winner down the line followed up by Tsitsipas sending a forehand just long.

Medvedev was boosted by the break, holding to love in the next game as Tsitsipas' errors mounted, and the Russian closed out the first set despite an increasingly boisterous crowd urging the Greek on.

The baseline exchanges were being dominated by Medvedev, who broke in the third game of the second set on the back of a whipped forehand winner and another down the line.

Medvedev broke to love in the seventh game and he lost just three points on serve in the second set to take complete control.

He continued to dictate points and hit winners at will, breaking serve again to begin the third set, before a blip – a tame forehand into the net seeing Tsitsipas break back, much to the delight of most fans in Rod Laver Arena.

Medvedev saved a break point in the eighth game with an ace down the T to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.

He came from 0-30 down to hold for 5-5 in what would prove a key moment, a spectacular backhand pass seeing him break serve – and into a dance – in the following game on his way to victory.

 

Data Slam: Medvedev in magical form ahead of Djokovic final
Medvedev became the 25th man in the Open Era to record a Tour-level winning streak of 20, and he is just the sixth active player to do so, joining Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro. He is also on a 12-match winning streak against top-10 opponents.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Medvedev – 46/21
Tsitsipas – 19/30

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Medvedev – 17/2
Tsitsipas – 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Medvedev – 5/9
Tsitsipas – 1/3

Rafael Nadal insists he was not struggling with injury as he crashed out of the Australian Open but acknowledged a lack of match practice could have contributed to his quarter-final collapse against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 20-time grand slam champion was dealing with a back issue at the start of the tournament, although he managed to advance to the last eight without dropping a set.

That impressive run appeared set to continue as Nadal won the opening two sets against fifth seed Tsitsipas, only for the match to turn on its head after a tie-break in the third

Tsitsipas emerged a 3-6 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 7-5 winner after just over four hours, becoming only the second player – after Fabio Fognini – to triumph from two sets down against Nadal at a major.

Post-match questions put to Nadal predictably centred on the potential impact of his back woe, but he insisted there was no physical pain on Wednesday.

However, reflecting on "just another story in my tennis career", the Spaniard repeatedly referred to the difficulty of preparing for a tournament amid such problems.

"I think I was in great condition before here," he said. "Then I've been a bit unfortunate for what happened for 20 days, and then I fight back to play, I think, decent tennis.

"Today wasn't enough. It was close, just that's tennis. That's all. That's the sport. One player wins; the other loses.

"Today I lost, so the only thing that I can do is try to be better next time, and today congratulate him."

Claiming the key was instead two costly mini-breaks in the breaker, Nadal added: "I am not complaining much.

"I think physically, it has been a very humid day out there. Physically I was not fantastic but not bad, you know? I was able to fight until the end, and that's it.

"The whole issue is I missed an easy smash at the beginning of the third, an easy forehand with 2-1 in the tie-break, and then another smash in that tie-break.

"That tie-break I made a couple of mistakes that I can't make to win the match. He played well then later. Well done."

Nadal was chasing a record-breaking 21st major championship, yet only one of those triumphs has come in Melbourne – back in 2009.

The 34-year-old has lost four finals, as well as regularly dealing with injury concerns at the first slam of the season.

But asked if he felt "cursed", he responded firmly: "No. No, no, no. That's sport. Sometimes things go well; other times things goes worse.

"Unfortunately for me, in this tournament, I had more injuries than in the others. Then matches that you lose like today against one of the best players of the world is something that happens.

"No, no, no. Not at all feeling unlucky for me and not at all complaining about my luck here in Australia.

"Everyone has what we deserve. Tennis isn't a sport that is fair. I have what I deserved in my career, and over here in Australia I had chances, but I was not able to convert it. That's all. I didn't deserve more."

Use of the word "unlucky" brought a similar response, as Nadal insisted he was not looking for excuses.

"We can find excuses or reasons or maybe this quarantine that we need to be more time in the room than usual, yes, maybe," he said. "But I am not the guy that is going to find excuses on that or going to complain about what happened, no.

"Just accept. I never considered myself an unlucky person at all. It doesn't matter the injuries that I had. I think I am very lucky person.

"The only thing that I can do is just keep going. I put myself in a position, even with the challenges that I faced, that I was in quarter-finals with two sets up, close to being in the semi-finals.

"So, it has been a chance lost, yes, but life continues. I hope to keep having chances. Well, I'm going to keep fighting for it."

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