Facing two straight match points in the first round of the Astana Open on Thursday, Jurij Rodionov wanted to hit aces against Gregoire Barrere.

The left-handed qualifier not only pulled it off at 4-5 in the third set, but did so going against his preferred serving patterns.

“At that point I felt he was stronger than me from the baseline, so I wanted to avoid the rallies as much as possible, and I was just going for it,” said the Austrian. “I went out wide on the deuce side and down the tee on the ad-side, which are my least favourite serves.

“Usually I use the lefty advantage, but I went against that and surprised him.”

Rodionov edged a third-set tie-break, then upset second seed Sebastian Baez in straight sets on Friday for a place in his second career ATP Tour quarter-final.

In the first one, on grass in Stuttgart in 2021, he also saved a match point against Alex de Minaur en route to the semi-finals.

“Maybe it’s a pattern,” Rodionov said.


Judging by his past performances, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 24-year-old is flourishing in Kazakhstan. His maiden title on the ATP Challenger Tour came as a qualifier in Almaty in 2018 and a month later, Rodionov found himself in the semi-finals of a Challenger in Astana.

In 2021, Rodionov landed in the final of yet another Challenger in Astana. He likes the people and atmosphere in Kazakhstan, while speaking the language puts him at ease.

“Maybe I got a bit lucky winning my first Challenger in Almaty,” he said. “And since then, I think you can say it’s my lucky charm.”

Rodionov knew that victory over Baez would lift him beyond the career-best No. 100 achieved in late August in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and was pleased it didn’t hinder his performance.

The former junior World No. 7’s rise means he is getting ever closer to a direct berth into January’s Australian Open, where he has never competed in the main draw. Defeating 2020 Astana finalist and fellow lefty Adrian Mannarino on Sunday would boost Rodionov’s prospects even further. The Austrian notched his first Top 50 win against the Frenchman at a Challenger in Rennes in 2019.

“Honestly, I don’t really like playing against lefties because it’s very uncomfortable,” said Rodionov, despite winning nine of his last 10 matches versus left-handers.

Overall he calls this season his best so far, despite some “ups and downs”. Even when those ‘downs’ occur — Rodionov had lost six of seven matches entering Astana — his mantra is to “just hang in there.”

“Never give up, try to improve day by day and always try to be positive because no matter how bad things look, there is always going to be a way out,” he said. “Just try to do the best you can.”

An Austrian semi-finalist is guaranteed in Astana, where Dominic Thiem plays Sebastian Ofner in the other quarter-final in the bottom half of the draw. It marks the first time that three Austrians have reached the last eight of the same ATP Tour event.

Former World No. 3 Thiem holds a 3-0 record against Ofner, having beaten him most recently in three sets on clay at this year’s Millennium Estoril Open.

“I’m looking forward to it, because I think he is playing better right now,” Ofner said. “I’m also in good shape.”

Top-seed Tallon Griekspoor challenges fifth-seed Sebastian Korda, with fourth-seed Jiri Lehecka encountering 20-year-old wild card Hamad Medjedovic at Kazakhstan’s National Tennis Center. Both are first-time meetings.


Posted: September 30, 2023, 6:04 pm

Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek made a confident start to their first tournament together on Chinese soil with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph against Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz at the China Open.

The top seeds Dodig and Krajicek converted four of five break points they earned in Saturday’s first-round clash to book a quarter-final spot in Beijing. The Croatian-American pair is chasing its fifth tour-level crown of the year in the Chinese capital, and its first on outdoor hard courts.

The leading team in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings as they chase a second consecutive appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, Dodig and Krajicek will take on Marcelo Melo and Alexander Zverev in the last eight. Dodig is a defending champion in Beijing, where he lifted the trophy at the previous edition of the ATP 500 event in 2019 alongside Filip Polasek.

Fourth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin also reached the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph against Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Nicolas Jarry. Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski beat Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 7-6(5), 6-4, and the experienced duo of Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos overcame singles stars Alex de Minaur and Jannik Sinner 7-6(2), 6-3.


Cabral/Matos Spring Upset In Astana
Francisco Cabral and Rafael Matos stunned top seeds Jamie Murray and Michael Venus 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday at the Astana Open, where the Portuguese-Brazilian team converted four of its six break points to charge to a 68-minute first-round win.

There were no such problems for second seeds Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow, who beat Tallon Griekspoor and Bart Stevens 6-4, 7-5. Meanwhile Ariel Behar and Adam Pavlasek became the first team to reach the semi-finals when they defeated Gonzalo Escobar and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-3, 4-6, 10-5.


Posted: September 30, 2023, 3:14 pm

For the second straight match at the China Open, Alexander Zverev recovered from losing an opening-set tie-break to win. After doing so against Diego Schwartzman in the Beijing first round, Zverev repeated the feat Saturday in a 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 result against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to reach his 10th quarter-final of the season.

After losing a marathon opening set that included six breaks of serve, Zverev saved the only break point against him in a dominant final two sets.

"I'm happy with the win," Zverev said after a post-2:30 a.m. finish. "I feel like I picked up my game a lot. I played a lot of tennis the past two weeks... I just need to recover, I need to rest."


The German, who returned to the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since 2022 following his US Open quarter-final run, is in seventh place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. He could rise to fifth in the Race by winning his third title of the season in Beijing.

"I have a lot to play for, and that's what I'm focussing on," Zverev said of his busy late-season schedule, one week after he lifted the trophy in Chengdu.

The victory improved Zverev to 4-1 in his Lexus ATPHead2Head against Davidovich Fokina, avenging a lopsided August defeat in Toronto. The German will next meet Chile's Nicolas Jarry — who knocked out Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round — in the quarters at the ATP 500.

Ugo Humbert earned his first Top 10 win in more than a year with a dramatic victory against Andrey Rublev earlier on Saturday night. In the second round, the Frenchman pulled out a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3) victory against the fifth seed, improving his career record to 8-8 against Top 10 opponents.

In an eventful match that saw 10 breaks of serve evenly split, Humbert denied Rublev's attempt to serve out a win at 5-3 in the final set and leaned on his rock-solid baseline game to close out the victory in a one-sided tie-break.

"I was really focussed from the beginning of the second set and the level was high," Humbert said after two hours, 48 minutes on court. "It's not easy against him because he plays very fast. I'm very proud that I did it."


Humbert improved to 8-8 against the Top 10 and 1-3 this season, with his most recent such victory coming against Casper Ruud last year at Wimbledon. He will have a chance for another Top 10 win in the quarter-finals when he takes on World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, against whom he holds a 2-0 Lexus ATP Head2Head edge.

The 25-year-old Humbert reached a career-high of World No. 25 in 2021, but was outside the Top 100 for much of the 2022 season and as recently as this January. His quarter-final run in Beijing has lifted him two places to No. 34 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

"I was outside the Top 100 last year. I feel I played very well the last few weeks in Davis Cup, here," he assessed. "I'm very happy to win against [Rublev]."

Rublev was seeking his 10th quarter-final of the season. Despite the defeat, he remains comfortably inside the top eight places in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin at fifth.

Posted: September 30, 2023, 1:59 pm

For the second straight match at the Astana Open, Dominic Thiem earned a hard-fought victory by winning a closing tie-break. After taking a second-set tie-break against Juan Pablo Varillias in the first round, the Austrian edged Marcos Giron 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2) on Saturday at the ATP 250.

The result saw Thiem through to his 76th tour-level quarter-final, his fourth of 2023 (Estoril, Munich, Kitzbühel) and his first on hard courts since reaching the 2022 Antwerp semis (l. To Korda).

"It was a very close match again. It's obvious that here with these conditions there are many close matches, so many tie-breaks as well," he said, later explaining how the fast indoor conditions favour the server. "I was expecting a really tough one. I was starting very well, very aggressive, so that was good. Second set he started to play much better and the third set was a very close battle — I saved some break points, he did [also].

"I played a very good tie-break. This was the best part of the match."


Both men broke serve twice in the match, with Thiem creating nine break chances to Giron's seven. Giron failed to serve out the second set at 5-3 but responded by breaking for the second time to seal the set.

Austria's Thiem saved three break points in the final set, including two from 15/40 at 3-4. On the first, he wrong-footed Giron with a deep forehand volley after the American hit a booming forehand at his approaching opponent. Thiem varied his game to great effect down the stretch, mixing in delicate shots at opportune moments to complement his baseline power.

From 2/2 in the decisive tie-break, the Austrian won the final five points of the match with rock-solid play, while Giron's level dipped. Thiem will next face countryman Sebastian Ofner, who upset third seed Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-2 to close Saturday's play in Astana. Ofner saved both break points he faced against the Kazakh home favourite.

Earlier on Saturday, top seed Tallon Griekspoor earned a 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-1 win against Japan's Sho Shimabukuro. The Dutchman saved the only two break points he faced in the match, firing 16 aces and wining 86 per cent of his first serve points on a stellar serving day.

Griekspoor dominated the final set by claiming the only three breaks of the match and will next meet American Sebastian Korda, who followed up a three-set opening win against Alexei Popyrin with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win against Nuno Borges on Saturday. Both players created three break chances in the match, with Korda converting two to his opponent's one.

Posted: September 30, 2023, 12:39 pm

Daniil Medvedev steadied himself to overcome a typically resilient Alex de Minaur on Saturday and book a last-eight spot at the China Open.

The second-seeded Medvedev prevailed 7-6(3), 6-3 in Beijing after his Australian opponent had rallied from 2-5 in the first set to force a tie-break. It was the third time in four tour-level events that the pair had met (Toronto, US Open, Beijing), and Medvedev was not surprised by De Minaur’s tenacity.

“[It was] tough, tough like always,” said Medvedev. “Alex has this ability, everyone knows it that when he’s down, he starts to play better. That’s what happened today. First set, I didn’t manage to count him down, as he was playing better because he was down. Second set I managed to play just unbelievable.

“It’s crazy how every time he is down in a match, you know he is going to start playing like he is No. 1 in the world. Tough to play against him, a tough victory, but I am happy with my level.”

Medvedev converted three of nine break points he earned for his Tour-leading 40th hard-court win of the season and improved to 6-2 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with De Minaur. Having lost to the Australian in the Toronto quarter-finals in August, he was delighted to make it two straight wins against the World No. 12, against whom he also triumphed in four sets at last month’s US Open.

“Confidence is key. When I am in good shape and good form, I have this ability to win these kinds of matches in straight sets,” said Medvedev. “If I’m missing just two per cent of what I’m doing right now, that’s when it’s tougher. That’s what happened in Toronto. I should have won the first set [there]. It’s a matter of a few points, at this moment it’s working and I’m going to try to keep going.”

Now into the quarter-finals for the 13th time in 18 tour-level tournaments in 2023, Medvedev will meet Ugo Humbert next in the Chinese capital after the Frenchman upset fifth seed Andrey Rublev 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3).


Posted: September 30, 2023, 12:25 pm

Jack Draper hit a career-high No. 38 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in January following a semi-final run at the Adelaide International 2. The 21-year-old was poised to continue his rapid rise in 2023. Injuries soon struck the Briton and have been an unfortunate theme this season for last year's Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist.

Draper reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open before an abdominal injury forced him to retire against Carlos Alcaraz. A shoulder injury suffered at Roland Garros forced him to miss three months of action, in which he was unable to compete at his home Slam, Wimbledon.

Despite the time away from the Tour, Draper stayed positive and used it as a teaching moment.

“With this year, having so many injuries and having to come back from them, it definitely builds a lot of strength of character,” Draper told the ATP Challenger Tour media team this week in Orleans. “I knew I just had to get myself in a good place physically and mentally to be at the top of my game.

“I feel like this year, although it’s been really difficult, dropping out of the Top 100 and all these things, I’ve learned so much and I’m a much better player now than I was nine, 10 months ago. I’m proud of myself, but it’s definitely been difficult.”


Draper has especially leaned on the support of his team and family in the midst of this season's obstacles.

“The thing with being a tennis player is it’s an individual sport, it’s lonely and stuff, that’s where having amazing people around you, who are always looking out for you, always there for you is so important,” Draper said.

“My coach, James Trotman, I’ve been with him for two years now and we have an incredibly close relationship. Obviously we are working towards a goal, we are very professional and stuff. But it’s definitely a weird dynamic, I spend more time with him than with my mum and my dog. It’s quite funny. Without them, I am no one.”

When Draper returned to action in August, he quickly found a high level. The lefty reached the fourth round of a major for the first time at the US Open and then made his Davis Cup debut, defeating Thanasi Kokkinakis en route to Great Britain’s 2-1 victory over Australia.

Draper briefly exited the Top 100 for six weeks, but after earning 180 points at Flushing Meadows and this week’s deep run at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Orleans, France, he has climbed 10 spots to World No. 96 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

After the injury layoff in the first half of the season, Draper is hoping to flip the script by finishing the year strong and build upon his momentum in 2024.

“Next year, [the goal is] to carry on where I’ve left off at the end of this year. The main thing for me is always to just keep developing physically,” Draper said. “My goal is not to be a Top 100 or a Top 50 player. My goal is to be one of the best in the world.

“There’s many things that need to fall into place for that, but I think if I keep competing and keep working hard day in and day out and doing all the things I need to do physically and mentally to be at the top of the game, there’s no reason why I don’t have the game and the ability to go all the way in this sport.”

Posted: September 29, 2023, 10:02 pm

Tallon Griekspoor finds himself as the top seed at an ATP Tour event for the first time this week at the Astana Open.

And the Dutchman is fully aware of it.

“Yeah, I know,” Griekspoor said ahead of his opener on Saturday against Japanese qualifier Sho Shimabukuro on the indoor hard courts of the National Tennis Center. “It’s something special. If you look at the draw, you see some big names and you see your name on the first line.

“It’s something you worked for all your life. It’s a bit surreal at this point and maybe a little extra pressure here. I think it’s a good sign to see your name at the top of the list.”


The 27-year-old entered Astana at a career-best No. 24 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, with second-seed Sebastian Baez at a career high, too, of No. 27. Both Baez and Griekspoor have bagged multiple titles in 2023. Griekspoor will want to avoid the Astana fate of the Argentine, however, who fell to a qualifier Jurij Rodionov on Friday.

Griekspoor gets recognised a little more now, which he light-heartedly said doesn’t hurt when trying to land football or concert tickets.

Winning the first tournament he played of the new season — at the hard-court Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune — did wonders for his confidence. So did what happened in the next few tournaments.

Griekspoor made the third round at a major for the first time at the Australian Open before beating Alexander Zverev on the way to the semi-finals of February’s ABN AMRO Open at home in Rotterdam. It took Jannik Sinner to stop him in two tight sets, 7-5, 7-6.

“The first six weeks of the year were probably a turning point for my mental side,” said Griekspoor, who acknowledged he is ‘maybe working a bit harder’ than before. “For me the most important thing was the belief to have this ranking, the belief to win tournaments. That’s something that this year was really there and helped me a lot.”

If he wasn’t far off from triumphing indoors in Rotterdam, Griekspoor did get his hands on a trophy at home by claiming June’s Libema Open on grass in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Given he won six of his unprecedented eight ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2021 on clay, he is an all-rounder. Which surface does he enjoy the most? Griekspoor chuckled when asked.

“I always said it was clay until I started winning ATP [tournaments] on hard courts and grass,” he said. “I enjoy playing on all surfaces and I think that’s a good thing.”

Griekspoor is ready to make a charge the rest of this season after taking extra rest post-Wimbledon and the US Open. The opportunity to gain Pepperstone ATP Ranking points certainly exists since he last year lost five straight matches from the end of September to the end of October.


“Schedule wise, I did a lot better this year,” he said. “As I’m feeling now, I’m feeling great. Now it’s an advantage that I didn’t win anything last year. Back then it was different.”

Griekspoor opens against Shimabukuro, who edged countryman Taro Daniel in three hours, 33 minutes to make the main draw and then toppled Roberto Carballes Baena in the opening round.

Alexander Bublik, Kazakhstan’s highest-ranked men’s player at No. 35, defeated Griekspoor last year in the first round in Astana, but it didn’t stop the Dutchman from returning.

“It’s a really nice tournament, which made me come back,” said Griekspoor.

Posted: September 29, 2023, 3:40 pm

Second seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski wasted no time Friday when they cruised past home hopes Sun Fajing and Zhou Yi 6-1, 6-4 in the China Open first round.

Koolhof and Skupski won 23 of their 27 first-serve points and needed just 66 minutes to advance, setting up a second-round meeting with Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski or Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

The Dutch-British duo of Koolhof and Skupski, who are second in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, have earned two titles this season: Wimbledon and 's-Hertogenbosch. They are aiming to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for a second consecutive year.

Glasspool/Heliovaara Upset In Astana
Ariel Behar and Adam Pavlasek upset third seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 7-6(12), 4-6, 10-7 at the Astana Open. The Uruguayan-Czech pair will next face Gonzalo Escobar, who has won three-tour level titles with Behar, and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.

Robin Haase and Botic van de Zandschulp also advanced after they downed wild cards Egor Gerasimov and Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-2.

Posted: September 29, 2023, 2:14 pm

Exactly three weeks after he exited the US Open in the semi-finals, Carlos Alcaraz made a winning return to action on Friday at the China Open. The Spaniard defeated qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-4, 6-3 at the Beijing ATP 500 to begin his late-season charge to return to the top of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

With victory in his first ATP Tour match in China, Alcaraz improved to 14-0 this season in first-round matches and 59-7 overall, his 59 wins leading the ATP Tour. Alcaraz also leads the ATP Tour in titles (8) and finals (6) this season, both personal bests.


He began the Asian swing behind World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, but could close that gap to 315 points by winning his first title since Wimbledon in Beijing.

"Hopefully I have a lot of years to come here to China. Creating my chapter here in China would be great for me," Alcaraz said after receiving a warm welcome on his debut in the nation. "To finally be able to come here to China and show my tennis in front of the Chinese people is something that I wanted a long time ago and I'm really happy to do it, hopefully the first of many here."

Alcaraz made a strong start in Beijing with an early break, but showed signs of rust as he twice lost a break lead in the opening set. At 4-4, a punishing forehand broke the resistance of Germany's Hanfmann, who battled to save eight of 11 break points in the set.

Both players improved on serve in set two, with Alcaraz's early and late breaks proving enough to claim the set and the match. The top seed did not face a break point in the second set as he worked through the gears, dialling in both on serve and from the ground. He finished the match with five breaks of serve in 16 chances.

Hanfmann pushed Alcaraz with powerful baseline hitting and a few successful drop shots, but Alcaraz was better in both aspects overall and ultimately won the pair's first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting in one hour, 37 minutes.

"I'm really happy to be able to win this match in straight sets," Alcaraz assessed. "Yannick's playing great. He's a really dangerous player, big shots. He was playing big bombs in this match so I had to be really focussed, trying to not let him dominate the match.

"I tried to be really focussed on every part of my game. I have to improve a little bit so I'm really happy to do it and have another chance to be better in the next round."

The Spaniard will next face Italy's Lorenzo Musetti, a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 winner against Karen Khachanov earlier on Friday. Khachanov saw his perfect start to the Asian swing end after he won the Zhuhai title on Tuesday, beating Yoshihito Nishioka in the final.


Also in the top quarter of the draw, Casper Ruud closed Friday's play with a 7-6(5), 6-3 win against Jan-Lennard Struff. The seventh seed will next meet Argentina's Tomas Martin Etcheverry, with the winner of that match to take on Alcaraz or Musetti. Norway's Ruud is now 9-9 this season on hard courts.

Andrey Rublev was also a Friday winner in Beijing. The fifth seed earned a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory against Cameron Norrie, setting up a second-round meeting with Ugo Humbert. Rublev improved to 3-2 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Great Britain's Norrie with the result, gaining revenge after a defeat in Indian Wells in their most recent meeting.

Posted: September 29, 2023, 12:53 pm

Sebastian Korda pulled through a tense final set against Alexei Popyrin on Friday to make a winning start at the Astana Open.

The American prevailed 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 in a first-round clash of fine margins at the Kazakhstani ATP 250 event. Korda had led 4-2 in the deciding set of the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting before Popyrin rallied to 4-4 to set up a tense climax. It was the fifth-seeded Korda who found a second break of his Australian opponent’s serve in the 11th game, however, setting him up for a two-hour, 54-minute triumph.

The win extended Korda’s solid form on hard courts in 2023. The 23-year-old American has earned 15 of his 19 tour-level wins on the surface, a tally that includes a championship-match run in Adelaide, semi-final appearances in Winston-Salem and Zhuhai, and a quarter-final run at the Australian Open.

Korda will meet Nuno Borges in the second round as he chases a quarter-final spot on event debut in Astana. The World No. 28 is chasing his second ATP Tour title and his first since lifting a trophy on clay in Parma in 2021.


Also on Friday, Korda’s fellow seeds Jiri Lehecka and Adrian Mannarino booked their places in the last eight in Kazakhstan.

Fourth seed Lehecka downed qualifier Egor Gerasimov 6-2, 7-6(3) to reach his sixth tour-level quarter-final of the season. The Czech saved two set points in the 12th game of the second set before dominating the tie-break to wrap an 86-minute win. He will next face #NextGenATP Serbian Hamad Medjedovic, who downed Alexander Shevchenko 6-4, 6-4 to reach his second ATP Tour quarter-final.

Mannarino beat another qualifier, Alibek Kachmazov, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. The sixth-seeded Frenchman, who reached the final in Astana in 2020, set a last-eight clash with Austrian Jurij Rodionov.

The 24-year-old Rodionov, who advanced through qualifying, upset second seed Sebastian Baez 6-2, 6-4. Rodionov won 61 per cent of his second-serve points, compared to the Argentine's 42 per cent, to reach his second tour-level quarter-final and first since June 2021 (Stuttgart).


Posted: September 29, 2023, 12:28 pm

Bouncing back with a bang in Beijing.

Holger Rune snapped a four-match losing streak in style Friday in the Chinese capital by surging to a 6-4, 6-4 triumph against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the China Open.

Rune arrived in Asia without a tour-level win since Wimbledon and had not competed since late August at the US Open. He may have been cursing his luck when drawn against World No. 15 Auger-Aliassime in China but the 20-year-old delivered a rock-solid display to forge an 84-minute triumph on the Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Center’s Diamond Court.

“It felt good. I’ve had a tough period, both with my body and match circumstances, so I’m just happy to be back feeling good,” said Rune. “Feeling mentally well on and off the court. I’m just super happy with my level today.”

A single break in each set proved enough for Rune to improve to 2-1 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Auger-Aliassime, who has had a moderate year by his standards but showed signs of his best in helping Team World to Laver Cup glory in Vancouver last weekend. Rune missed that event due to a back injury but was delighted with the way his body held up on the hard courts of Beijing.

“I was feeling very good. I didn’t feel anything in my body,” said Rune. “This is good. I don’t mind muscle soreness, but I’m too young to have these kinds of problems, so it’s good to feel good out there. I’m feeling healthy, taking care of my body and I’m super happy to play without pain and just enjoy myself.”

The next week in Beijing could be crucial for Rune as he seeks to reach the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. The Dane, who was an alternate at the season-ending finals last year but did not play, sits just inside the qualification spots in eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin on 3,100 points, but he is only 90 points clear of Taylor Fritz.

Rune can extend that gap and book his ninth tour-level quarter-final appearance of the year when he meets Grigor Dimitrov next in Beijing. The Bulgarian earlier sealed his second-round spot at the ATP 500 with a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1 triumph against Mackenzie McDonald.

Nicolas Jarry added a third Top 10 victory to the best ATP Tour season of his career with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Lotus Court. The Chilean delivered a high-quality serving performance in his 91-minute triumph, saving both break points he faced and winning 83 per cent (29/35) of points behind his first delivery.

The 27-year-old Jarry is now 32-15 for the season, which includes titles won on clay in Santiago and Geneva. He and World No. 5 Tsitsipas have now split four Lexus ATP Head2Head clashes in 2023, with the Greek winning in Monte-Carlo and Los Cabos and Jarry prevailing in Halle and Beijing. The Chilean’s reward for his victory on Friday in Beijing is a second-round clash with Italian Matteo Arnaldi.

Eighth seed Alexander Zverev remains a potential quarter-final opponent for Jarry and Arnaldi after the German defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-4. Zverev, who claimed his 21st ATP Tour title in Chengdu on Tuesday, converted five of 10 break points he earned against Schwartzman to advance to face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Zverev is a two-time semi-finalist in Beijing (2017, 2019) and will seek another deep run in the Chinese capital to enhance his own Nitto ATP Finals hopes. He is currently seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, just 300 points behind sixth-placed Tsitsipas.


Posted: September 29, 2023, 9:18 am

Daniil Medvedev made a red-hot return to China after four years away on Friday, when the World No. 3 eased past Tommy Paul 6-2, 6-1 in Beijing.

Medvedev delivered a stunning display of clean-hitting at the China Open to seal a Tour-leading 39th hard-court win of the season in just 81 minutes. The 27-year-old made just three unforced errors off the ground in his first-round triumph, a level of consistency that ensured Paul was kept under relentless pressure for the entire match.

“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” reflected Medvedev. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level.

“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”

Paul regularly approached the net to try and counter Medvedev’s baseline prowess and won 79 per cent (23/29) of points moving forward, but he was still unable to gain a foothold in the encounter. Medvedev converted five of 11 break points he earned to improve to 2-0 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with the American.

Medvedev is making his debut this year at the ATP 500 in Beijing, where he will next meet Alex de Minaur. He is chasing his second title on Chinese soil and his third in Asia overall at the Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Center, having triumphed in Tokyo in 2018 and at the Rolex Shanghai Masters in 2019.

Sixth seed Jannik Sinner joined Medvedev in the second round but only after he was made to battle for two-hours, 51 minutes by Daniel Evans for a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3 win.

Evans rallied from a break down to level in both the second and third sets on Lotus Court but was unable to complete a comeback in the deciding set as Sinner held firm in the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting. The Beijing crowd was treated to a series of all-court exchanges between the two before Sinner’s baseline power ultimately told as he outhit his opponent by 39 winners to 23 en route to victory.

The 22-year-old Sinner will next take on Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, who downed #NextGenATP home favourite Shang Juncheng 5-7, 7-5, 6-1. The Italian, a titlist this year in Montpellier and Toronto, is now 16-1 for the season in opening matches at tour-level events.

Friday’s win is another boost for Sinner in his bid to qualify directly for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, where he competed on home soil at the season-ending event as an alternate two years ago. The World No. 7 is currently fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.


Posted: September 29, 2023, 6:30 am

The Rolex Shanghai Masters was voted by players as the ATP Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year in each of its first five editions from 2009-13. The event has seen previous champions including Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Here's what you need to know ahead of the ATP Masters 1000:

When is the Rolex Shanghai Masters?

The ATP Masters 1000 event will be held from 4 October to 15 October. The hard-court tournament will take place at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center. The tournament director is Michael A. Luevano.

Who is playing at the Rolex Shanghai Masters?

Carlos Alcaraz will make his Shanghai debut. Daniil Medvedev, Holger Rune, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also among the field.

When is the draw for the Rolex Shanghai Masters?

The Shanghai singles draw will be made on Monday 2 October at 10:30 a.m. local time, on centre court.

What is the schedule for the Rolex Shanghai Masters?

* Qualifying: Monday, 2 October – Tuesday, 3 October (Start times: Monday at noon; Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.)
* Main Draw: Wednesday, 4 October – Sunday, 15 October (Start times: Wednesday through second Thursday: 12: 30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.;  Second Friday & Saturday: 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.)
* Doubles Final: Sunday, 15 October at 2 p.m.
* Singles Final: Sunday, 15 October not before 4:30 p.m.


What is the prize money and points for the Rolex Shanghai Masters?

The prize money for the Rolex Shanghai Masters is $8,800,000 and the Total Financial Commitment is USD $9,702,520.

Winner: $1,262,220 / 1000 points
Finalist: $662,360 / 600 points
Semi-finalist: $352,635 / 360 points
Quarter-finalist: $184,465 / 180 points
Round of 16: $96,955 / 90 points
Round of 32: $55,770 / 45 points
Round of 64: $30,855 / 25 points
Round of 96: $18,660 / 10 points

DOUBLES ($ per team)
Winner: $436,730 / 1000 points
Finalist: $231,660 / 600 points
Semi-finalist: $123,550 / 360 points
Quarter-finalist: $62,630 / 180 points
Round of 16: $33,460 / 90 points
Round of 32: $18,020 / 0 Points

How can I watch the Rolex Shanghia Masters?

Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

How can I follow the Rolex Shanghai Masters?

Hashtag: #RolexShMasters
Facebook: Rolex Shanghai Masters
Twitter: @SH_RolexMasters
Instagram: @rolexshmasters

Who won the last edition of the Rolex Shanghai Masters in 2019?

Daniil Medvedev won the 2019 Shanghai Rolex Masters singles title with a 6-4, 6-1 victory against Alexander Zverev in the championship match. Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares lifted the doubles trophy in Shanghai with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph against Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in the final.

Who holds the Shanghai Rolex Masters record for most titles, oldest champion, youngest champion and more?

Most Titles, Singles: Novak Djokovic (4)
Most Titles, Doubles: Marcelo Melo (3)
Oldest Champion: Roger Federer, 36, in 2017
Youngest Champion: Andy Murray, 23, in 2010
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 1 Novak Djokovic in 2015
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko in 2009
Last Home Champion: None
Most Match Wins: Novak Djokovic (34)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown


Posted: September 28, 2023, 8:32 pm

Marcos Giron overcame Stan Wawrinka in a first-round thriller at the Astana Open, where he clawed past the 38-year-old 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 7-6(8) at the ATP 250 event.

Competing against each other for the first time, there was little to separate the pair throughout the two-hour, 51-minute clash. Neither player faced a break point, with both dictating behind serve. In the third-set tie-break, Giron played consistently, limiting mistakes to pressure former World No. 3 Wawrinka and seal victory.

The American has now earned 20 tour-level wins this season. He achieved a personal-best 23 victories in 2021. Aiming to close that target further, the World No. 82 will next face Dominic Thiem, who fought off a second-set scare, saving three set points, to down Juan Pablo Varillas 6-3, 7-6(8). The Austrian won 80 per cent of his first-serve points, compared to his opponent’s 68 per cent to advance after two hours, 11 minutes.

“I’m really happy that I came through. It was a tough match against a tough opponent,” Thiem said. “Last match against him I lost, in Buenos Aires. I started very well. It was my first match since the US Open, after I had to do a break because of my stomach. I’m really happy to get the win. I got a little bit tight, it was a very close in the second set… It’s very important to be through in two sets.”

Earlier, Adrian Mannarino clinched his 33rd tour-level win of the year to equal his personal-best season. The Frenchman, who earned 33 victories in 2017, defeated Arthur Rinderknech 7-6(4), 6-2.

The World No. 34 will next meet Alibek Kachmazov after the World No. 315 overcame Corentin Moutet 6-3, 7-6(5) in two hours and seven minutes.

Austrian qualifier Jurij Rodionov earned just his second tour-level win of the season, downing Gregoire Barrere 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). Rodionov saved two match points on serve at 4-5 in the third set before advancing in the tie-break. He will next meet second seed Sebastian Baez.

Qualifier Egor Gerasimov defeated Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6(5), 6-3, while Sho Shimabukuro beat Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2, 6-4.

Posted: September 28, 2023, 1:59 pm

Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev are up and running at the China Open after defeating wild cards Jie Cui and Aoran Wang 6-4, 7-5 in the first round.

Khachanov and Rublev, who won the ATP Masters 1000 event in Madrid this season, won 32 of their 40 first-serve points and saved all six break points faced to secure victory in Beijing. They will next meet qualifiers Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler, who downed three seeds Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 6-4, 6-4.

Marcelo Melo and Alexander Zverev also advanced after they survived Marcelo Arevalo and Nikola Mektic 2-6, 6-3, 11-9. The Brazilian-German duo will next face top seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek or Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz.

Pavic/Peers Reach Astana Second Round
Fourth seeds Mate Pavic and John Peers moved past Marton Fucsovics and Jiri Lehecka 6-3, 7-6(2) in the Astana Open first round. The Croatian-Australian pair are partnering for the first time this week.

Frenchmen Gregoire Barrere and Adrian Mannarino cruised past wild cards Alexander Bublik and Daniil Golubev 6-2, 6-2. Gonzalo Escobar and Aleksandr Nedovyesov defeated Sebastian Baez and Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-2.

Posted: September 28, 2023, 1:41 pm

Alex de Minaur became just the fourth player to earn five consecutive victories against Andy Murray on Thursday, when he saved three match points to edge the 36-year-old 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(6) at the China Open.

The Australian trailed 2-5 in the decider, but refused to go away, saving two match points on serve at 2-5 and one more at 5/6 in the tie-break to advance after two hours and 53 minutes.

"I think to be honest we both didn't bring out best level today," De Minaur said. "It was a scrap fest and was not pretty but I am happy I was able to get my first win in a long time when I have saved some mach points.

"I kept my head screwed on and I told myself to keep trying and to keep backing myself and eventually I was going to find my level. I am very happy to turn that match around."

De Minaur now leads Murray 5-0 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the former World No. 1 in Monte-Carlo and Queen’s Club earlier this year. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the only other players to record five consecutive victories against Murray, who triumphed in Beijing in 2016.

The World No. 12 will next face second seed Daniil Medvedev or Tommy Paul in the second round. De Minaur, who is 17-3 in first-round matches in 2023, captured the biggest title of his career at the ATP 500 in Acapulco in March.


In other action, Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina earned the 50th hard-court tour-level win of his career when he moved past Chinese wild card Yi Zhou 6-2, 6-2. The 24-year-old, who now holds an 18-5 first-round record in 2023, hit 20 winners to advance after 70 minutes.

Davidovich Fokina will next play eighth seed Alexander Zverev or Argentine Diego Schwartzman at the ATP 500 hard-court event.

Qualifier Matteo Arnaldi continued his impressive run, defeating American J.J. Wolf 6-2, 6-2. The Italian, who competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2022, is up six spots to No. 42 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

Arnaldi enjoyed a run to the fourth round at a major for the first time at the US Open earlier this month. He will next meet fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Chilean Nicolas Jarry.

Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated World No. 149 Lloyd Harris 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-3 to earn his 11th consecutive win against players ranked outside the Top 100. The Argentine saved the one break point he faced in the match, advancing after two hours and 54 minutes. The World No. 31 will next play seventh seed Casper Ruud or German Jan-Lennard Struff.

Ugo Humbert levelled his Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Lorenzo Sonego at 2-2, downing the Italian 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 to set a second-round meeting against fifth seed Andrey Rublev or Briton Cameron Norrie.

Posted: September 28, 2023, 1:22 pm

Drawn against Dominic Thiem at this week’s Astana Open, Juan Pablo Varillas couldn’t help but reflect on the pair’s meeting at the Argentina Open in February.

The Peruvian navigated through qualifying in Buenos Aires, beat Joao Sousa and then the 2020 US Open champion as part of a career-changing week in the city he lives in.

Varillas proceeded to make a tour-level semi-final for the first time and saw his Pepperstone ATP Ranking climb from No. 101 to No. 81.

He has not been outside the Top 100 benchmark since, currently sitting at No. 67.

“I think that win, and that week, was really like a (tipping point) for me maybe,” the 27-year-old said. “It was like, ‘Now I was able to be at that level and compete at that level, high level, and do it for several matches in a row.’”


Indeed. Varillas downed third-seed Lorenzo Musetti in the quarter-finals prior to losing in two tight sets to second seed Cameron Norrie.

His pinch-me moment also came on the red clay at Roland Garros, where Varillas won three consecutive five-setters to become the first Peruvian to make the Last 16 since Jaime Yzaga in 1994. He earned a clash with Novak Djokovic on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

“When the crowd started doing a wave, I looked up and it was like, ‘Man, where are you now?!” said Varillas. “It was the first Grand Slam I got straight into the main draw. Then it was my first win in a Grand Slam in the main draw.

“There were a lot of objectives and dreams that came true in that week. Every single match for me was important. And for my confidence it was so, so important.”


Varillas returned to Peru for just under a week and was asked to sign autographs and pose for photos like never before.

“Maybe 10 months ago almost everyone didn’t know me and it was okay for me,” said Varillas. “I like that because I like to be a normal guy. But now it has changed.”

However, Varillas added three more sponsors after Roland-Garros to lift the tally to what he believes is seven.

He has managed to stay healthy, unlike in 2022 when a pair of ankle injuries, a hip injury and shoulder issue arose in a season that saw Varillas contest 80 matches at all levels including qualifying. All but six of those came on clay. This year, the number has risen to 11.

Varillas embarks on a new challenge against Thiem on Thursday in Kazakhstan, playing in his first tour-level indoor match.

“I am aware of that,” he said.

He only ever competed in one indoor match on the ATP Challenger Tour, losing to Botic van de Zandschulp in Ismaning, Germany on carpet in October 2020 in 42 minutes.

Now, though, he is more accustomed to plying his trade on surfaces other than clay as well as switching surfaces. All part of a breakthrough campaign.

“It has been a great season, a season of progress, believing in myself and believing in what I can do on the court,” said Varillas.

Posted: September 28, 2023, 1:28 am

Stefanos Tsitsipas' first love is tennis, the sport he was first introduced to in 2001 by his parents, Apostolos and Julia. The Greek star has enjoyed a special ride with tennis ever since.

The 25-year-old sat down with ATP Uncovered to narrate his very own love letter to the sport.

"What felt so special with you is that I felt like part of my own playground, in which there were no rules, no limits," Tsitsipas said of his early days on the court.

He also reflected on the moment he decided to commit to tennis as his main focus and his progression on the ATP Tour, beginning with a lesson-filled defeat against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Rotterdam in 2017.

What else did Tsitsipas focus on in his tennis journey and why does he sometimes have a love-hate relationship with the sport? Watch the full video below.

Posted: September 28, 2023, 12:26 am

Grigor Dimitrov is known as one of the most versatile players in tennis, with impressive shots and intangibles throughout his game. So who would the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion pick to make his perfect player?

“Why are you making me think of players now?” Dimitrov joked. “I see them every day!”


The Bulgarian star selected an assortment of current and former players, some of whom have reached No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. But who are the players and for which shot did he pick them?

There was one shot in particular that proved menacing for the former World No. 3.

“He never missed it when he had to miss it against me,” Dimitrov said. “I feel like a lot of guys have missed a lot of shots, but not him against me.”

Dimitrov reveals his picks and explanations in the full video below.

Posted: September 27, 2023, 7:24 pm

Three players have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev. Who will move closer to earning a spot in Turin this week, with events taking place in Beijing and Astana?

Only 630 points separate fifth-placed Andrey Rublev and ninth-placed Taylor Fritz. With 12 of the Top 15 players in the Live Race competing this week at the China Open, an ATP 500 event, there will be plenty of opportunities for moves to be made.

ATPTour.com looks at players in contention for the season finale.

View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Standings

No. 7 Alexander Zverev
The German moved from eighth place to seventh place in the Live Race with his run in Chengdu, where he claimed his second title of the season (also Hamburg). The 26-year-old is now 215 points clear of Holger Rune for the eighth and final qualifying position.

Zverev did not qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals last year after suffering an ankle injury at Roland Garros. The two-time season finale champion is trying to earn his place at the year-end championships for the sixth time.

No. 14 Karen Khachanov
The 27-year-old did not climb a spot in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin by triumphing in Zhuhai, but he did move closer to those ahead of him as he tries to qualify for the season finale for the first time.

Khachanov trails eighth-placed Rune by 895 points in the Live Race after missing three months because of multiple injuries. But back in form, Khachanov will take confidence knowing three of his five ATP Tour titles have come on indoor hard courts (including the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters), and the other two have come in China, where he will compete in Beijing and Shanghai over the next few weeks.

No. 8 Holger Rune
One year ago, Rune was in Turin as an alternate. The Danish star is trying to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time and is currently in the final qualifying position with a 45-point advantage over ninth-placed Taylor Fritz, who is not competing this week. Rune, who has not won a match since reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals as he has struggled with a back injury, will try to build his buffer this week at the ATP 500 in Beijing.

No. 10 Casper Ruud
The Norwegian has earned his place in Turin in the past two editions, reaching the semi-finals in 2021 and the final in 2022. Will Ruud qualify for the third consecutive year? The 24-year-old is in 10th place in the Live Race, 430 points behind eighth-placed Rune. With 500 points up for grabs this week in Beijing, he has an opportunity to begin chipping away at the deficit.

Posted: September 27, 2023, 3:48 pm