Belinda Bencic secured the eighth and last qualifying spot for the WTA Finals in Shenzen after beating Kristina Mladenovic to move into the final of the Kremlin Cup.
The Swiss star produced a fine performance in Moscow, taking just 95 minutes to gain a 6-3, 6-4 success and book her place at the end-of-season showpiece.
The 22-year-old sealed the eighth and last WTA Finals singles place by reaching the final in Moscow and outperforming Kiki Bertens, who lost to Mladenovic in the quarter-finals.
“I’m so happy I reached the top eight. It was a huge goal for me this season and so last-minute,” Bencic said on court in her post-match interview.
“I was so nervous before the match, but also reaching the final here (in Moscow) is amazing. I’m so happy.”
Russian Pavlyuchenkova squandered a match point in a second set tie-break, but came through 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-1 against the Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova, who reached the last eight at Wimbledon last summer.
At the Luxembourg Open, German second seed Julia Georges overcame third seed Elena Rybakina, from Kazakhstan, 6-3 6-4 to set up a final showdown on Sunday against Jelena Ostapenko.
Latvian Ostapenko fought back to beat Russian sixth seed Anna Blinkova 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Andy Murray admits he did not expect to be playing in a final again so soon after he gave himself a shot at winning the European Open on Sunday.
The former world number one came from a set down to beat Ugo Humbert in the semi-final in Antwerp, setting up a mouthwatering final against Stan Wawrinka.
Murray had to dig deep in what become something of a marathon match against the Frenchman, eventually earning a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.
It marks another milestone on Murray’s remarkable return from career-saving hip surgery, and one that he says he didn’t think he’d reach so soon.
“It’s been a big surprise to me. I’m happy to be into the final,” he said.
“It’s been a long road to get back to this point. I certainly didn’t expect it to come so soon since I started playing again.
“I did very well to turn that match around today. It was tough. He was playing huge from the back of the court… It was tricky today.
“It was obviously big for me to get that [6-5] game in the second set, but the game that won me the match was the first game of the third set.
‘When I was 0/40 down, I think I played a couple of good points. It was a huge game to get out of. I felt like the momentum was with me… Once I won that game, I felt like that was what set me on my way.”
Wawrinka mirrors Murray in many ways, being a three-time Grand Slam champion who has suffered injury woes of late.
The Swiss recovered from a slow start to beat Italian teenager Jannik Sinner 6-3 6-2 in his semi-final.
“Stan’s a brilliant player,” Murray said. “We’ve played against each other in some big matches in the past in big tournaments.
“He’s had his injury troubles as well the last couple of years and done great to get back to the top of the game.”
Russian star Daniil Medvedev has opted to sit out the ATP 500 Vienna Open in a bid to avoid burnout, having featured in six consecutive finals.
The 23-year-old Medvedev enjoyed a dream hard-court season in North America as he reached four finals in a row, winning in Cincinnati and finishing runner-up in Washington, Montreal and the US Open.
And he carried that form over to the St Petersburg Open as he won the title on home soil before heading to Asia where he also collected the Shanghai Masters trophy.
The world No 4 opted to sit out this week's Kremlin Cup to prepare for the final few weeks of the season, but was expected to return in Austria next week.
However, he has now decided to also withdraw from the ATP 500 Vienna Open in order to be fresh for the Paris Masters, which starts on October 28.
"Medvedev has made a decision to pull out from the tournament because he needed to take care of himself," Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation told TASS.
"He had a very tiresome ending of the season, he needs taking a pause to avoid a possible psychologically stressed-out situation."
He added: "He [Medvedev] has passed a medical examination in Moscow and everything is all right with his health."
Andy Murray has admitted he needs to improve his serving if he is to increase his chances of winning, as he enters the final phase of his recovery from hip surgery.
The three-time Grand Slam winner made it two wins in two days as he followed up Thursday's win over Pablo Cuevas with victory over Marius Copil in the quarter-final of the European Open in Antwerp.
Murray needed two hours and 36 minutes to beat the Romanian after failing to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set, but he eventually prevailed 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4.
It is good going for a player who had career-saving hip surgery at the start of the year and has only played a handful of singles matches.
"It's just difficult [in] tennis, because you don't get the opportunity to just come in and play one set like you might in other sports and build up your fitness by playing a little bit longer each time," Murray told ATPTour.com after his latest win.
"You need to get it through playing matches and maybe at that stage I just wasn't quite ready physically for long matches. But now obviously my body's getting a little bit more used to it and coping fairly well."
Murray was broken once in the first set by Copil and failing to serve out the match in the second set nearly came back to haunt him.
The former world No 1 admits it's an area that he needs to work on.
"Things obviously are going in the right direction and I feel like I'm hitting the ball better from the back of the court," he said.
"I just need to improve the serving, and if I do that then I'll give myself a lot of chances in matches."
Andy Murray sealed his place in the European Open semi-finals after seeing off the challenge of Marius Copil in Antwerp on Friday evening.
The former world No 1 found himself serving for the match in the second set, but couldn’t get the job done and was taken to a third set before he wrapped it up 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4 after two hours and 36 minutes.
The result means he is into his first semi-final in two and a half years, and it is another heartening showing as he is still on the road to recovery following hip surgery at the start of the year.
Although he was broken in the fourth game of the match, Murray broke three times in the opening set to take the lead. He then broke in game four of the second set and found himself serving at 5-3, but Copil hit back and then took the tie-breaker.
The third set went according to serve until the ninth game when the Scot fashioned two break points and he took the second one before serving it out.
"I have not played loads of matches in the past few years, so when you get to the end of the match, it's always difficult serve it out," he told ATPTour.com.
"I played a bad game at 5-3 in the second set and after that I think he gained a lot of confidence. He served extremely well. He was being a lot more aggressive at the end of the second set and in the third, but thankfully I managed to get the break right at the end. It was a tough one to get through."
He will face Ugo Humbert for a place in the final after the Frenchman beat fifth-seeded Guido Pella from Argentina 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Murray, though, knows it will be a tough ask playing three matches in three days.
"I feel okay just now. It's more how you feel the following day. The good thing about the indoor matches is that the points are fairly short, so it doesn't take as much out of you as on some of the slower courts outside," he said. "But I feel okay, hopefully I pull up well tomorrow."
Stan Wawrinka will face unseeded Italian teenager Jannik Sinner in the other semi-final.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Wawrinka battled to a 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 win over Gilles Simon from France while 18-year-old Skinner beat Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Andy Murray continued his upward trend when a straight set win sent him into the quarter-finals in Antwerp on Thursday.
Playing in his fourth tournament in under a month, Murray won his sixth match as he dominated eighth seed Cuevas in the second round to win 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 24 minutes.
The Uruguayan saved seven break points in the first set, but Murray finally got the job done in the 10th game to wrap up the set.
The former British No 1, who also reached the quarter-finals in Beijing, then started the second set a little sluggishly as he fended off four break points in the first game and then claimed the deciding break in game six.
“I felt a bit better today. I thought I served quite well for most of the match and when I was able to get into the baseline rallies, I felt I was hitting the ball quite clean, which is good,” he said in his on-court interview. “He served very well, which made it difficult for me to get the breaks, but I thought for me it was a good match.”
He later added: “It’s getting there. It sometimes takes me a little bit longer to get warmed up in the matches and sort of feel confident with my movement. But today I think from the beginning of the match I started pretty well. It was a good day.”
Murray, who will face Marius Copil next after the Romanian beat Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), is still looking for his first tournament win since winning the Dubai Tennis Championships in March 2017.
“I think the way that I played today gives me a chance to do that, yeah. I think if I play like the way I did in the first round, then no,” he said.
“But if I play like I did today, then I’d have a chance. But that’s one of the things that’s difficult coming back is I would now need to play four days in a row, which is something i haven’t done yet.
“Hopefully I can answer some of those questions this week.”
Frenchman Ugo Humbert caused an upset as he beat second seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-1 in one hour and eight minutes to earn a clash against fifth seed Guido Pella.
In the top half of the draw, Italian wildcard Jannik Sinner stunned top seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 and he will face Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-final after the American beat seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-4.
Roger Federer has confirmed he will play at the French Open in 2020 as he seeks a second title at Roland Garros.
The 38-year-old took a three-year sabbatical from clay-court tennis before returning to Roland Garros this season.
That was part of a carefully-designed program to manage his fitness.
It had been speculated that Federer was returning to Paris this season for just one last time to say his farewells before retiring, but it seems that isn’t the case.
“I will play the French Open,” Federer told CNN.
“I probably won’t play much before that. Especially if I’m playing the Olympics and all that.”
Federer’s scheduling is generally kept as a tightly-guarded secret, but he appears to have a pretty careful planned laid out for the second half of 2020.
“I’ll probably play the French [Open], Halle, Wimbledon, Olympics, and then maybe Cincinnati, then the US Open,” he added.
He also addressed retirement talk this season, essentially saying that his body will tell him when it’s time to stop.
“When you are healthy, like I am right now, it’s more fun to play, because when you have one problem it is kind of okay, if you have two it gets tough,” he said.
“Whenever you have three at the same time, you know you need a break and you feel like it is foggy and it is just not fun, to always play hurt.”
Daniil Medvedev has escalated his developing feud with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who criticised his playing style last week.
Tsitsipas lost out the Medvedev in Shanghai, taking his record to 0-5 against him in matches, and it clearly irked him.
"I don't mean to be rude at all, actually, at all, but it’s just boring," Tsitsipas said after their meeting in Shanghai.
"It's boring. So he has a huge serve, and if you manage to get it back, it's just countless balls inside the court."
Medvedev, though, has bitten back. Asked about Tsitsipas' comments by sport-express, he said that he can’t take him seriously, particularly after the childish way in which he believes the Greek behaved after the Laver Cup.
"Someone told me about this yesterday, so I read in more detail this morning.
"I had a lot of thoughts. I will say only one thing: after his interview in Shanghai, where he told how they celebrated the victory in the Laver Cup, it is difficult to take him seriously.
"Just to quote: he said that he was forced to drink there, and that was disgusting.
"Okay, that's okay. But the most important thing: 'Mom, you hear, it was disgusting! I can provide you a video.' This is ridiculous. I can no longer take him seriously."
Roger Federer has dismissed rumours that he is about to call it quits, insisting that he is planning at least two more years on the ATP Tour.
The 38-year-old Federer hasn't won a Grand Slam for nearly two years, prompting suggestions that he is winding down his career.
However, Federer has revealed that is far from the case, claiming that his final season will be much more relaxed from a fitness and preparation point of view - and that won't be 2020.
"I feel like I have a lot [of gas]," Federer said. "The good thing is I don’t know when it is going to end.
"So my preparations when it comes to my fitness and my practise, it is always based on the unknown. Which means I am planning to play for over a year.
"All of a sudden it might end quickly but my fitness coach always told me ‘let me know if I feel like you are going to have one more year to play then you do not have to do fitness sessions anymore.
"We'll just play tournaments, you will enjoy yourself and we will do that.
"But I am planning a fitness block in December and another one in the spring and so forth.
"As long as I am motivated to do that - fitness, practice and all the travelling - things are looking good."
World number three Roger Federer has revealed that his 'heart has decided' that he will play for Switzerland in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The 38-year-old’s scheduling has almost become a news sub-category of its own in recent years, but he appears to have committed early to his 2020 summer plans.
“I’ve been debating with my team for a few weeks now – months actually – what I should do in the summertime after Wimbledon and before the US Open,” Federer said at an event hosted by his sponsor Uniqlo.
“At the end of the day, my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again.”
“I carried the flag twice for Switzerland in Athens and Beijing.
“I’ve got a gold and a silver, and I would love to play again, so I’m very excited.”
Federer would almost certainly qualify based on the current criteria, which says a player must have demonstrated ‘commitment to the Olympic Tennis Event and/or Davis Cup or Fed Cup: A player’s historical participation in one or both competitions.’
He has 70 Davis Cup matches under his belt in his career and played four consecutive Olympics before opting to miss the 2016 games, and has two silver medals to his name.
Daniil Medvedev has warned Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic that he feels ‘invincible’ right now and believes he can become world number one.
The Russian beat Alexander Zverev in the Shanghai Masters final on Sunday – his second successive Masters-level crown – to surpass Roger Federer in the race-to-London rankings.
And, speaking afterwards, he says he is not ready to stop there as he attempts to re-order tennis’ established elite.
“I always say that my first goal is to win every match I play, and that’s how I can actually become number one if you win a lot of matches in a row just like I did.” Medvedev explained.
“I’m going to try my best to show great results as I did here, and if something like this is going to happen, it’s just a big bonus.
“I don’t like to talk about the future, because you never know what the future got for you. That’s why my answer stays the same.
“This week (in Shanghai), yes, I probably was invincible, but for the next upcoming weeks, I’m not sure.”
Rafael Nadal will become world number one in November, and beat Medvedev in a stunning US Open final last month.
Daniil Medvedev outclassed Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the final of the Shanghai Masters on Sunday.
The Russian, who reached his first Grand Slam final this summer en-route to climbing to number four in the word rankings, put on a Medvedev-masterclass as he cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 win.
It is his second successive Masters-level win after he also won the Cincinnati Open this summer.
“This win is amazing because I think Shanghai is one of the most prestigious Masters events on the tour.” Medvedev told TennisTV.
“Especially over the last 10 years with only three players managing to win this. It’s really special to have my photo out in the corridor for many years.
“I said that during the US Open, it was going to be my thing because everybody was talking about that they need new guys and something new.
“So I gave them something new. I don’t celebrate my wins. I just stay calm, do my job and done.”
Zverev added during the trophy presentation: “I said yesterday after my victory you’re [Medvedev] probably the best player in the world right now. How you’re playing is unbelievable and I wish you nothing but the best.”
American teenager Coco Gauff became the youngest player to reach a WTA Tour final in 15 years after seeing off the challenge of Andrea Petkovic in Linz, Austria.
The 15-year-old became the youngest woman since Nicole Vaidisova won a title in Tashkent 15 years ago to make the last four of a tournament by knocking out top seed Kiki Bertens on Friday.
And she was in fine form again to see off German Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-4 and set up a final clash with former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Gauff, who only got into the main draw as a lucky loser after a defeat in qualifying, said on wtatennis.com: "This definitely has been an unreal tournament. My first final, a lot of firsts for me here, so I hope I can keep this going.
"This is actually the first time in my life, including juniors, that I got into something as a lucky loser and now I'm in the final.
"I guess every little thing counts. You never know what it could lead to."
Ostapenko has endured a miserable season and has dropped outside the top 70 but, working with former Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli, this week has seen a resurgence.
Ostapenko took on last year's runner-up Ekaterina Alexandrova from Russia and recovered from a poor first set to prevail 1-6 7-6 (5) 7-5 to reach her first WTA final since Miami last spring.
Another player who has hit form spectacularly this week is Britain's Heather Watson, who had only won one tour-level match all year prior to arriving at the Tianjin Open.
A 6-1 6-4 victory over Veronika Kudermetova put Watson through to her fourth WTA final and her first for more than three years.
She has won all her previous three finals and on Sunday will take on Swede Rebecca Peterson, who recovered from losing the first set to love to Ons Jabeur to win 0-6 6-4 7-5 and reach her second WTA final.
Andy Murray admits he has been pleasantly surprised by "how smooth it has been" as he continues his ATP Tour singles comeback following hip surgery.
Murray played in three tournaments the past three weeks and besides producing some impressive results, he came through unscathed.
After making his ATP Tour singles return in mid-August, he dropped down to the Challenger Tour for one event before moving back up for at the backend of September.
He has played seven matches (two in Zhuhai, three in Beijing and two in Shanghai) and five of those matches were three-setters, so he is quite pleased with how things have gone.
"I am surprised with how smooth it has been," he told The Times. "I had two years of having lots of pain after every single match. Now I play a match, the body hurts, I have some pain in my back, the muscles are tired and things like that, but my hip is fine and I couldn't remember what that was like before.
"It has been hard but I expected it to be quite a bumpy road because it wasn't something that has been done in tennis before. I know having done this that you will see way more athletes having this operation and coming back to compete, because there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to. There is no pain."
The three-time Grand Slam winner had admitted at the start of the Asian swing that he still had some work to do before he could challenge the top 30 players in the world again, but he did add some feathers to his cap in recent weeks.
He took world No 24 Alex de Minaur to three sets in Zhuhai, beat world No 13 Matteo Berrettini in straight sets in Beijing and took world No 12 Fabio Fognini to three sets in Shanghai.
He added: "I have been competitive so far. If I can keep improving a few things over the next few months, then maybe there is an outside chance I can get around there. But I am not going to be playing a similar schedule to what I played beforehand. If I do get up there, I'm not going to be focusing on ranking targets.
"You look at what Roger, Rafa [Nadal] and I guess Novak [Djokovic], to a certain extent, are doing to give themselves a chance to play longer. Right now, Rafa could be fighting to finish No 1 in the world [with Djokovic, the incumbent] and it's not a priority for him."
Roger Federer reckons the absence of the Big Four at the Shanghai Masters semi-finals shows the ATP's young guns are "knocking on the door big time".
Federer was knocked out of the Asian ATP Masters 1000 tournament by 22-year-old Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final, world No 1 Novak Djokovic was beaten by 21-year-old Stefanos Tsisipas, while Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are absent through injury.
Although Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have made clean sweeps at the Grand Slams the past three seasons, the so-called Next Gen have started to put their hands up in Masters events.
And all three semi-finalists in Shanghai are under the age of 24 as 23-year-olds Daniil Medvedev and Matteo Berrettini also advanced.
Asked about the younger players, Federer replied: "They're knocking on the door big time the young guys, it's exciting – they're great. It's really open now for the finish of this tournament.
"It was surprising to see Novak lose too even though Tsitsipas has been playing great so far. Maybe I was favourite also going into this match, but Sascha came out and had no serving issues today.
"He was able to produce a great game like he did against me in London. It's an exciting time in tennis but nothing new there."
Former world No 1 Andy Murray is likely to rearrange his October schedule after revealing the birth of his third child is just days away.
The 32-year-old is due to play in the European Open in Antwerp next week, but he has revealed in an interview that there will be a new addition to the family in the coming days.
He initially contemplated playing in the Stockholm Open, which runs at the same time as Antwerp, but chose the Belgian event as it is a shorter flight home.
If his wife Kim does give birth next week and he is forced to skip the European Open, then he will consider signing up for the Paris Masters, which starts on October 28.
"Obviously the baby can come any time from pretty much next week," he told The Times. "I would adjust my schedule if I couldn't go to Antwerp.
"My plan is to play Antwerp and then I am done through to the Davis Cup. If the baby came early, I would miss Antwerp and then maybe play at the Paris Masters."
American teenager Coco Gauff claimed the scalp of top seed Kiki Bertens at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz to seal her first-ever WTA Tour semi-final berth.
After only making it into the main draw as a lucky loser, the 15-year-old secured her first-ever win over a top-10 player as she beat the world number eight 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes.
There were no breaks of serve in the first set and Gauff eventually got the breakthrough via the tie-breaker. After saving two break points in the second game of the second set, the American broke in game three and never relinquished the lead.
She served it out to become the first 15-year-old to reach a semi-final at WTA Tour level since Nicole Vaidisova won the Tashkent title in 2004.
"There have been a lot of firsts this week," Gauff said. "I'm really happy and proud of how I'm playing.
"Kiki was playing well and there was just a difference of one or two points.
"I'm glad I was able to come out on top. I've really gotten a lot of support from the crowd."
Next up for Gauff, who will rise into the world top 100 next week, is Andrea Petkovic after the German beat Slovakia's Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-1.
The other semi-final will see eighth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova take on Jelana Ostapenko.
Russian Alexandrova beat Kristina Mladenovic from France 6-2, 6-4 while former French Open champion Ostapenko scored a 7-5, 6-1 win over Elena Rybakina from Kazhakstan.
Stefanos Tsitsipas knocked world number one Novak Djokovic out in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Friday.
The young Greek has struggled in recent months after his stellar start to the season but is back on top form now and was superb in a 3-6 7-5 6-3 victory, claiming a second career win over Djokovic.
Djokovic, who has struggled with injury since Wimbledon, was the reigning champion in Shanghai, so needed to win it again to protect ranking points. His failure to do so may open the door a little for Rafael Nadal, who is absent in Shanghai but will not lose any points due to missing it last season too.
Tsitsipas’ win also ensured he will make his debut at the ATP Finals in London next month.
The Greek said: “I played really well and felt in the zone in the second and third set in the rallies we were playing.
“That gave me a lot of confidence going in knowing I could face him from the baseline. As the match progressed I felt better and better.
“I felt my serve was going very well today and I wasn’t struggling with it too much. That was an extra boost for me out there.
“I am really happy that I pulled out a great victory like this.”
An ATP tournament in Vienna has promised former world number one Andy Murray a wildcard entry.
Murray won the tournament the last time he played in 2016, but has since sufferer a serious hip injury from which he is only just now working his way back.
That comeback trail, though, looks like it will run through Vienna.
“We are in permanent contact with Andy Murray and have reserved a wild card for him,” Vienna tournament director Herwig Straka is quoted to have said according to journalist Michal Samulski.
Murray himself has been hesitant to publicly commit to what his schedule will be.
He has completed a pretty successful Asian swing of the Tour now and is confirmed to play Antwerp next.
“I’ll see a little bit with my team after Antwerp, sit down and have a chat with my team about what it is I want to do between now and the end of the season,” Murray said two weeks ago.
This year, although I’ve not been playing, it’s been tough. It’s been a full-on year of, like, rehab. It’s not like I had sort of six, seven months off.
I need to make sure I get some breaks in there, as well, to kind of recharge, spend time at home with my family. Yeah, I’ll see.
“My plan just now is still to play through Antwerp, then hopefully, provided I’m selected, play in the Davis Cup.”
The heated on-court argument between Andy Murray and Fabio Fognini at the Shanghai Masters reportedly continued in the locker room afterwards.
The drama started when the Italian apparently shouted midway through a point during their second-round clash on Tuesday, much to Murray's annoyance, and the former world No 1 hit back by yelling "shut up".
During the changeover Murray had another go at Fognini telling him "You say the same to everyone. Mate, you do the same in every match. It doesn't matter who you're playing."
The Times says the altercation continued in the change room.
"Sources have told The Times that Murray, the three-times grand-slam champion from Great Britain, and Fognini, the world No 12 from Italy, were involved in another heated verbal exchange behind the scenes at the Qizhong Forest Tennis Centre," the report read.
"A small number of players, coaches and officials watched awkwardly as they aired their grievances with each other in a communal area."
Neither player was prepared to back down and the yelling match continued for a few minutes.
They tried to play the incident down during their post-match press conference with Murray saying: "Someone made a noise, I didn't know who made the noise, I looked in the direction of where the noise came from.
"He then told me, 'Stop looking at me, what are you looking at me for?'
"I was like, 'I was just about to hit a shot and someone made a noise'. He then told me to stop looking at him.
"He told me to stop complaining, to have a sense of humour. I wanted to know where the sound came from and it came from him, which you're not allowed to do.
"It's against the rules, it's hindrance, you shouldn't do it. But he said I should have a sense of humour about that but in that moment neither of us were in a joking, laughing kind of mood.
"He [umpire Fergus Murphy] wasn't saying anything to him. I was obviously frustrated with that. He wanted to engage with me, I probably shouldn't have done but I'm not having him talk to me like that on the court."
The Italian admitted there was a lot of complaining.
"I don't shut up. We know each other really well. Inside the court we are almost the same because most of the time I am complaining and he is complaining. But that is part of our job."