Alex de Minaur advances in straight sets in Montreal

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MONTREAL — Alex de Minaur of Australia beat Denis Shapovalov of Canada 7-5, 7-6 (4) in a first-round match at the at the National Bank Open that was suspended by rain a day earlier.

The players were tied 3-3 in a second-set tiebreaker when rain forced a postponement. Once they returned to IGA Stadium’s center court, Shapovalov managed to win just one of five points.

The slumping Canadian, ranked one position below de Minaur at No. 22, has just one victory in his last nine matches.

Shapovalov gave up the first service break of the match to end the first set. He was more aggressive in the second set and seemed close to forcing a decider before the rain started.

When play resumed, the Canadian had serve but double-faulted. Two errant backhands gave de Minaur a pair of match points and he converted on the first opportunity.

In other action, American Tommy Paul beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4, and Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, the No. 15 seed, posted a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Canadian wild-card entry Alexis Galarneau.

Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta surprised 11th-seeded Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2. Marin Cilic, the No. 13 seed, advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over fellow Croatian Borna Coric.

British wild card Andy Murray was scheduled to play 10th-seeded American Taylor Fritz in the feature evening match.

Danill Medvedev set to defend title in Montreal

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MONTREAL — Top-ranked and defending champion Daniil Medvedev wasn’t bothered by the frustrating delays due to rain at the National Bank Open.

It’s one of the perks of his top ranking in men’s singles. Medvedev received a first-round bye as a top seed.

“I will have two good days of practice and after I’ll start the tournament,” he said. “Of course, I’m very hungry for victories.”

While many of his ATP Tour peers were stuck waiting to see when the rain would let up, the confident Russian star was able to relax knowing he only had to tinker with his training schedule.

Medvedev held court with reporters during a 15-minute availability before continuing preparations for his title defense.

He enters the competition on a roll after winning in Mexico over the weekend. Medvedev didn’t lose a set at the tournament en route to claiming his 14th career ATP-level crown.

“Feeling 100% physically (and I’m) mentally ready,” Medvedev said. “Really happy with Los Cabos for sure with the title. Looking forward to here, trying to get some good matches.”

Medvedev, who competes under a neutral flag, could face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the second round. Kyrgios, who jumped 26 spots to No. 37 in this week’s rankings following a victory at the Citi Open, was scheduled to open against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez.

World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal is one of many young stars who are seeded for the $6.53 million tournament. Others include Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Norway’s Casper Ruud and Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

Rafael Nadal withdrew on the eve of the tournament due to an abdominal injury. The rest of the so-called Big Three – Roger Federer (knee) and Novak Djokovic (unvaccinated) – were also absent.

“It doesn’t change much if they’re here or not because my goal is to win the tournament,” Medvedev said. “So no matter who I play . if it’s going to be a qualifier or wild card, lucky loser, second seed, I just want to win the match.”

Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that began four hours after its originally scheduled start time.

In other early matches, American Jenson Brooksby beat Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 and Russia’s Karen Khachanov topped Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3. Alex Molcan of Slovakia defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Rain returned later and forced the suspension of all evening matches.

Australia’s Alex de Minaur had a 7-5, 6-6 lead on Canada’s Denis Shapovalov when the rain began. They had split the first six points of the tiebreaker.

Auger-Aliassime has a first-round bye as the No. 6 seed. Pospisil was slated to play his opening doubles match with Sinner, but it was rescheduled.

The singles field includes 41 of the top 44 players in the men’s rankings.

Robert Bedard was the last Canadian to win this tournament, taking the 1958 title in Vancouver.

Slovakia’s Andrej Martin suspended in doping case

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LONDON — Andrej Martin was suspended for failing a doping test at a competition, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said.

The 32-year-old Slovakian tested positive in June for SARM S-22, a synthetic substance that can copy the effects of testosterone, at a second-tier event in his home country.

Martin, whose career ranking peaked at 93 in 2020, was No. 191 at the time of the positive test. He has a career record of 27-38 and lost in qualifying rounds at each Grand Slam singles tournament this year.

The ITIA said he is suspended from playing or attending events while the case is prosecuted.