Nadal, Zverev and Murray confirmed for Beijing

The China Open, taking place between October 1-7 in Beijing, has been blessed with a very strong group of players taking part, with the likes of, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Andy Murray all confirmed so far.

The Beijing ATP World Tour 500 tournament is clearly going have one of the strongest fields outside Grand Slams and Masters 1000 events.

Joining Nadal, Zverev and Murray are: American John Isner, Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Britain's Kyle Edmund and Borna Coric of Croatia.

Isner is the latest player to be confirmed by the tournament organisers.

This will be the sixth time the World No.9 will be taking part at the Beijing event, having reached the quarter-finals four times, semifinal once and was a losing finalist to Nadal in 2017.

Nadal bids to halt Tsitsipas dream run

Rafa Nadal will attempt to halt the dream run of Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas when they meet in the Rogers Cup final.

Nadal put himself into contention for an 80th ATP Tour title after beating Karen Khachanov 7-6, 6-4 in a rain-delayed semi-final that ended after midnight in Toronto.

But the world number one’s fifth final of the year will pit him against the breakout star of the tournament after Tsitsipas became the youngest player in tour history to beat four successive top 10 players.

Tsitsipas battled back to beat Kevin Anderson 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 in Saturday’s semi-final, with Nadal under no illusions about the 19-year-old’s ability.

“Tomorrow is a big test against a player who is playing great, a young one,” said Nadal.

“I am looking forward to play that match. I’m excited about it and it’s an opportunity for me to play a good match against one of the best players.”

After levelling the match, Tsitsipas - who had beaten Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in his run to the semi-final - won the deciding tie break 9-7 when Anderson’s return was long.

Tsitsipas said: "It feels like I'm never losing it. I'm always there. It doesn't matter what the score is."

Tsitsipas continues upsets with Zverev triumph

Stefanos Tsitsipas completed a hat-trick of upsets at the Rogers Cup after the Greek teenager eliminated defending champion Alexander Zverev to book a place in the semi-finals.

Tsitsipas sent Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic packing on the way to his quarter-final tie against world number three Zverev, and his dream run continued in Toronto after coming from behind to win 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Trailing by a set, the 19-year-old saved two match points in the second before eventually winning a marathon tie break to level the match.

As Zverev clocked up a number of unforced errors in the decider, Tsitsipas took advantage and claimed victory thanks to a double fault from the German.

Tsitsipas said: "I'm confused now, is this real? This shows that with dedication and work, dreams do come true."

Tsitsipas will face Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals after the big-serving South African crushed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2.

Number one seed Rafa Nadal battled back to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, despite neither player being at their best. Cilic made 43 unforced errors and was able to convert just three of 14 break points.

"It is a very important victory. The match became so difficult," Nadal said.

Nadal will take on Russia’s Karen Khachanov, who took less than an hour to get the better of Holland’s Robin Haase 6-3, 6-1.

Halep blasts schedule after booking semi spot

Simona Halep criticised her gruelling schedule at the Rogers Cup, despite booking her place in the semi-finals with a straight sets win over Caroline Garcia.

After finally getting the better of Garcia in a competitive first set, world number one Halep cruised through the second for a 7-5, 6-1 victory and a place in the final four in Toronto for the fourth year on the spin.

Sixth seed Garcia started the match well, but paid the price for a total of 31 unforced errors.

However, Halep was in a spiky mood afterwards after completing her third match in the space of two days, due to rain delays earlier in the week.

"I am very upset about it," said Halep.

"I talked to my team about this and all of them are upset. I never complained about the schedule, but today was enough."

Halep will face Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals after she crushed Holland’s Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-1.

Although Bertens had beaten Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova earlier in the tournament, Barty won nine of the final 10 games of the match.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens was equally impressive after easing to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.

Stephens will face Svitolina for a spot in the final after the fifth seed beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens 7-5, 6-3.

Zverev unhappy over 'pathetic' loss

Defending champion Alexander Zverev was in no mood to be nice after losing to Greek teen Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Rogers Cup taking place in Toronto on Friday.

The 19-year-old Tsitsipas, came from a set down in their quarter-final clash, to beat 21-year-old German 3-6, 7-6(11), 6-4 and set up a semi-final meeting with big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.

Tsitsipas has been looking very good in Toronto, having also beaten Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic in the third round, prior to his meeting with Zverev.

After his loss, Zverev was in no mood for niceties saying that he felt the match was 'absolutely pathetic on all levels'.

"I don't think he played that well. I think the match was absolutely pathetic on all levels," Zverev said afterwards.

"I'm very honest with you guys (the press). Today was an absolute pathetic match I don't even think he played well."

Tsitsipas, who was extremely excited at having reached his first ATP Tour Masters 1000 semi-final, said: "I'm confused now, is this real?" said Tsitsipas.

"This shows that with dedication and work, dreams do come true."

Nadal battles past Wawrinka in Toronto

Rafa Nadal held off the challenge of a rejuvenated Stan Wawrinka, as the world number one booked his place in the Rogers Cup quarter-finals.

Nadal had to battle it out to overcome fit-again Wawrinka, but the Spaniard eventually prevailed 7-5, 7-6 in the weather-affected last 16 encounter.

The rain worked in Nadal’s favour in the opening set, with Wawrinka serving to level the match at 6-5 before the heavens opened. When the players returned to the court after a 47 minute delay, Nadal grabbed the break with a cross court backhand.

Wawrinka was then serving for the set at 5-4 in the second, but Nadal broke back and forced a tie break, which he won to progress to the last eight.

"I [fought]. I stayed with the right attitude. I won the match. I’m very happy with that,” said Nadal.

"I’m very happy to see Stan playing so well again. I know how tough it is from my personal experience [to come back]. If he is healthy, I have no doubt he will be back in the right position and fighting for the biggest events."

Elsewhere in the last 16, number two seed Alexander Zverev cruised past Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2.

Halep beats Williams after double duty day

Simona Halep booked her place in the quarter finals of the Rogers Cup after beating Venus Williams for her second win of the day.

After Wednesday’s matches were pushed back 24 hours because of the weather, both Halep and Williams faced the tough task of playing twice on Thursday in Montreal.

Halep overcame Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a gruelling encounter that lasted more than three hours in the afternoon, but the world number one shrugged off the fatigue factor to coast past Williams 6-2, 6-2.

Williams - who had earlier beaten Sorana Cirstea - had her knee heavily taped and after Halep won the first two games of the match, the Romanian never looked back.

Although Williams survived four set points, Halep eventually took the first set. A backhand winner on her third match point in the second then ended the contest after just one hour and 11 minutes.

"It’s never easy to play either of the Williams sisters, and even though she was struggling, I knew I had to be focused on every ball, and stay focused until the end," said Halep.

"She wasn’t feeling great on the court and it definitely wasn’t her best day, but I just tried to focus on my own game as much as possible and make her move. And I’m happy to be the quarter-finals now."

In other last 16 encounters, Maria Sharapova suffered a 6-3, 6-2 defeat to sixth seed Caroline Garcia, while Elina Svitolina triumphed 6-3, 6-4 over Johanna Konta.

Djokovic stunned at Rogers Cup

Stefanos Tsitsipas earned one of the biggest victories of his career when he defeated Novak Djokovic at the Rogers Cup on Thursday.

The rising Greek star battled past the former world number one 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 in a touch over two hours on the hard courts of Toronto.

Djokovic had scant opportunity throughout the encounter, with Tsitsipas saving the only two break points the Serb earned by playing fearless tennis. Despite serving against one of tennis’ best returners, Tsitsipas managed to out-point the 13-time grand slam winner, never dropping a service game.

The second set tiebreaker went Djokovic's way to force a decider, where Tsitsipas ran out to 3-0 lead after being 15/40 down in the third game. A sizzling cross court forehand eventually earned him match point and he put Djokovic away, cuing an emotional celebration from the 19-year-old.

Earlier in the day, fourth seed Kevin Anderson fired 15 aces in his straight set 7-5, 6-3 win over Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.

The win earns the South African a date in the quarter-finals with the talented Grigor Dimitrov, who needed all of two and half hours to battle past Francis Tiafoe 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(4).

Halep and Williams advance in Canada

Simona Halep and Venus Williams became the latest top seeds to advance to the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday.

Top seed Halep was pushed to the limits by an inspired Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, but emerged victorious 7-6(9), 4-6, 7-5 in a three hour marathon.

Neither gave an inch in the opening set, with the Russian saving three set points in the tiebreaker before Halep won the set.

One break of serve would be enough for Pavlyuchenkova to claim the second set and she looked on the verge of an upset when 4-2 up in the third. But an determined Halep showed the fight that has seen her rise to the top of women’s tennis to break back twice for victory.

"It was a great match, a great fight," said the diminutive Romanian on court afterwards.

"She played unbelievable and was fighting until the end. I won the match, and I'm really happy that I could fight until the end. With this support, it's impossible to give up."

The win earns her a date with seven-time major winner Venus Williams, who defeated Sorana Cirstea 7-6(4), 6-4 in 90 minutes.

Elsewhere, Johanna Konta eased past former world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-1.  

Cilic getting closer to winning more slams

Croatian Marin Cilic feels that he 'is a better player than in the past' and is a lot closer to winning more grand slams.

The 29-year-old, World No.7, feels his consistency is a lot better and due to him always trying to improve his game, things are looking good going forward.

The big-serving Cilic won his only grand slam title at the 2014 U.S. Open in New York and was a finalist at Wimbledon in 2017 plus the 2018 Australian Open.

In an interview carried by Tennis World, Cilic said: "I feel that with my consistency with my game, I've kept myself improving the past couple of years, always finding some more things that I could improve, that I could look into a bit more.

"I feel that new chances are going to come up and that I'm getting closer to winning some more Grand Slams."

With regard to the Masters 1000s events, currently happening in Toronto and then next week at Cincinnati, Cilic said: "They are big tournaments. I'm also peaking my form to play well at these. You have to take every single week as seriously as you can.

"These weeks are extremely important also for my game and the confidence. I'm definitely going to peak my form for these tournaments here and try to play the best I can."

In the Round of 32 action, in Toronto yesterday, sixth-seeded Cilic defeated countryman Borna Coric in three sets and will next be up against 11th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Azarenka talks motherhood and tennis

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka is one of the few mothers on the WTA Tour and she opens up about her struggles.

Azarenka is no stranger to top flight tennis, having racked up two grand slam titles and spent many years ranked in top ten. But in December 2016 she gave birth to her first child, Leo, and everything changed.

Now, after a lengthy hiatus and taxing custody battle, Azarenka has fought her way back into the top 100.

"Physically, I’m better than I’ve ever been...I’m in the best shape of my life, which is kind of interesting," the Belarusian told the press after her win at the Rogers Cup on Tuesday.

"He inspires me to be able to do what I love to do. My parenting is to be a good example, and to show him what it’s like to be hard-working, disciplined, determined, what it’s like to chase after your dreams, and what it’s like to be humble.

"I definitely have no doubt that I can be better and play better. You gain certain things you might not have had. Having a kid forces you to be organized, disciplined, patient. Those things are hard to master in an individual sport, so it forced me to have a different perspective, and how to handle different situations. I don’t think I would have been able to do that if I hadn’t had my son."

While little Leo is an inspiration for his mother, he also represents many challenges for her as well.

"As much as I’m happy to have and be with my son, it’s such a struggle to be able to manage your work and take those hours away from him,” Azarenka continued.

“For me, it’s the biggest challenge. I don’t want to leave him for one minute. I’ve been struggling myself with realizing what it is that I like to do, that I enjoy. I’ve completely forgotten what that’s like.

"It is a different moment, and it’s very difficult for women when they become mothers. Your body changes, and so does your mind, and you have different priorities. For women, you become very secondary. That can be hard sometimes."

Azarenka is still looking for her first title as a mother, with her best result of the year being a semi-final appearance in Miami.

Nadal to face Paire in Toronto

World No.1 Rafa Nadal, who will be in action on Wednesday against Frenchman Benoît Paire in the Rogers Cup, feels this weeks tournament is not an indicator of how he will fare at the US Open in September.

The 32-year-old Nadal, who is the defending US Open champion, said how well he does this week in Toronto or next week in Cincinnati is not a good yardstick to gauge his form, as playing conditions are very different to New York, where the fourth grand slam of the year takes place.

"I think what happens here (Toronto) or in Cincinnati will not have a big impact on the US Open," Nadal said. "Of course, the good results would be good for the confidence, but the conditions are completely different: the courts and especially the ball.

"I know from experience that if I play well here and in Cincinnati it will be a little easier to play well in the US Open, but not decisive.

"I did not play very well last year (in Montreal) but I played well in the US Open and won it," he said.

"In 2005, I won here and lost the third round at the US Open. If you win and play well in these two tournaments and you create that extra confidence you can play well there, but if you lose it does not matter.

"The conditions are completely different."

Kuznetsova fights back to clinch Citi Open

Svetlana Kuznetsova won the Washington Open to claim her first WTA title in two years on Sunday, fending off four match points to beat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(9-7), 6-2.

The No. 7 seed Vekic had four chances for victory in the second set, but was unable to close out the win.

The first set was a competitive affair, Vekic breaking first to go 3-1 up.

Kuznetsova eventually hit back in game nine to get back on serve, but was broken again immediately after as the Croat claimed the first set in 51 minutes.

Things went with serve in the second until game 10, when Vekic passed up two match points while leading 5-4, allowing her Russian opponent to square things up.

Two more match points slipped by in the tiebreaker before Kuznetsova levelled the match, the 33-year old pulling away in the final set to clinch a remarkable comeback win.

Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam champion currently ranked 128th after several months out with a wrist injury, becomes the lowest-ranked player ever to win in the US capital.

She was also a winner in Washington in 2014.

Nadal begins US Open preparation

World number one Rafael Nadal begins his lead up to the US Open at the Rogers Cup in Toronto this week.

The Spaniard last played at Wimbledon, where he lost a five set epic to rival and eventual winner Novak Djokovic in a match that could have gone either way. It was just Nadal’s third loss of his superlative season that has already brought him four titles.

Now, after holidaying in Spain’s gorgeous Balearic Islands, Nadal returns to the ATP Tour for the first Masters 1000 event following the grass courts swing. If he’s injury free after Toronto, Nadal will head to Cincinnati for further game time.

Nadal arrives in Toronto this week as a three-time winner of the tournament, but confirms that he’s looking at the bigger picture, which includes the US Open at the end of August.

“I think what can happen here or in Cincinnati will not have a big impact on the US Open,” the 32-year-old told atpworldtour.com.

“Of course the good results would be good for the confidence but the conditions are completely different – courts, the ball especially.

“I know from my experience if I play well here and Cincinnati it’s a little bit easier to play well at the US Open but not decisive. Last year I didn’t play very well [in Montreal] but I played well at the US Open and won it.

“In 2005 I won here and I lost third round at the US Open. If you win, you play well in these two events and create this extra confidence to play well there, but if you lose it doesn’t matter, the conditions are completely different.”

Williams withdraws from Rogers Cup

Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the upcoming Rogers Cup in Canada due to personal reasons.

Williams was coming off the back of a devastating straight set 6-1, 6-0 loss to Johanna Konta at the Silicon Valley Classic event last week, the worst loss of her distinguished career.

Rogers Cup tournament director Eugene Lapierre revealed the news to fans on Saturday.

"We are disappointed Serena will not be joining us," said Lapierre in a statement.

"Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action. Beyond the disappointment, the tournament as a whole remains a high-level competition.

"The entire top 10 is here, along with 22 of the top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset."

Williams has endured a tumultuous return to tennis following her pregnancy, reaching the Wimbledon final but suffering a number of uncharacteristic defeats at the same time.  

Zverev beats Nishikori to reach Citi Open semis

Alexander Zverev overcame Kei Nishikori and the weather to book his place in the semi-finals of Washington’s Citi Open.

On a rain affected day when all but one of the women’s singles matches were postponed until Saturday, number one seed Zverev eliminated former champion Nishikori after coming from behind to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

It keeps the 21-year-old on course to reach his fifth final of the season and claim his third trophy after wins in Munich and Madrid.

"It was great. It was a fantastic match, a very high level from the baseline," Zverev said.

"We both played great, so happy to be through to the semi-finals. Hopefully it will be another good few days here.

"I felt like I had the more powerful shot. That worked out well in most of the rallies for me. It was a good high-level match."

Zverev will face 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas after he cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 win over third seed David Goffin.

Another 19-year-old, Alex de Minaur, is also through to the semi-finals after Andy Murray’s withdrawal due to fatigue. De Minaur will take on the winner of Andrey Rublev and Denis Kudla after their match was postponed until Saturday because of the weather.

In the only women’s match on Friday, Andrea Petkovic beat sixth seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6.



Murray pulls out of Citi Open and Rogers Cup

Andy Murray pulled out of his Citi Open quarter-final on Friday, along with withdrawing from next week’s Rogers Cup.

Murray was left in tears after his last 16 encounter against Romania’s Marius Copil finished in the early hours of Friday morning and warned that he may be forced to withdraw from the tournament to avoid over-exerting himself in his recovery from hip surgery.

Tournament director Keely O'Brien had claimed that if Murray pulled out, it would be sending a negative message to the former world number one’s fans.

But the British player is determined to not to push his body too fast after missing 11 months of action and after three matches in four days, he will not compete again until the Cincinnati Masters on August 13.

"I've played quite a few matches this week in Washington and I need to be smart with my rest and recovery as I come back from injury," Murray said.

"My plan is to head to Cincinnati early next week. Appreciate all the support this week in Washington, it's amazing to be back playing."

Linette stuns Osaka as another top seed falls

World number 62 Magda Linette eliminated the last of the top four seeds at the Citi Open after the Pole stunned Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

In a rain-affected encounter in Washington, Linette prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals, as she continued her good form from last week’s semi-final appearance at the Jiangxi International Women's Tennis Open.

Linette was a break down in the final set, but won the last four games of the match - including the final 13 points in succession - to set up a quarter-final encounter against seventh seed Donna Vekic.

"I’m very happy, because it was really tough," Linette said.

"I knew that at some point she [will] come back, and I just wanted to keep playing aggressive. And even though I missed some in the second set, I just tried to stay aggressive, and somehow I came back."

Vekic was also involved in a three-set thriller after prevailing in the decisive tie-break against Fanny Stollar to go through 6-2, 3-6, 7-6.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nao Hibino pulled out of her encounter against sixth seed Belinda Bencic because of an abdominal injury, while Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Romania’s Ana Bogdan 6-2, 6-1.

Alexander Zverev advances after beating brother

Alexander Zverev earned the family bragging rights over older brother Mischa to reach the quarter-finals of the Citi Open, in Washington.

Top seed and defending champion Alexander had only previously faced Mischa in the qualifying rounds of tournaments, but the 21-year-old came out on top in Thursday’s third round encounter.

It was a low-key match which included a rain delay, but in the end, it was a relatively routine victory for Alexander who went through 6-3, 7-5.

"It was just fun. That's all I can say,” said Mischa.

The big shock of the day came when John Isner went down 6-4, 7-6 to world number 152 Noah Rubin. Isner looked fatigued after his exploits in Atlanta and Wimbledon, with several of his serves failing to reach the 100mph mark.

Elsewhere, Alex de Minaur beat 11th seed Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-5, while number 10 seed Stefanos Tsisipas overcame James Duckworth 6-3, 6-4.

Murray unhappy with Citi Open scheduling

Andy Murray said he 'may not play' his Washington Open quarter-final after his third-round match finished at 03:02 local time.

An emotionally drained Murray broke down in tears after sealing a 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) victory over Marius Copil in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The Scot, who recently returned from a lengthy lay-off due to hip surgery, is due to play Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals later on Friday, but isn't sure if he's got the gas.

"I don't know how players are expected to recover from that," Murray said.

"My body doesn't feel great right now. Finishing matches at three in the morning isn't good for anyone involved in the event - players, TV, fans, anyone.

"When you're expected to come back and perform the next day, I think that's unreasonable."