ATP Finals: Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Daniil Medvedev in London opener

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2019 Nitto ATP Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 10-17 November
Coverage: Watch live coverage of one match per day on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas won his opening match at the ATP Finals by edging out fourth seed and fellow debutant Daniil Medvedev in London.

The Greek 21-year-old beat the Russian 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 at the O2 Arena.

There was just one break of serve in the match with Tsitsipas, the youngest player in the tournament, earning his first win over Medvedev – a player with whom he has a tense rivalry.

“It is one of the toughest and most important victories,” Tsitsipas said.

“It’s not easy coming in knowing you’ve lost five times before [to Medvedev] but this victory means a lot to me, this crowd means a lot to me.

“[There are] Greek flags everywhere – it almost feels like I’m playing in Athens.”

World number one Rafael Nadal plays defending champion Alexander Zverev later on Monday in the same group.

Novak Djokovic, who can overtake Nadal at the top of the world rankings this week, leads the other group after winning on Sunday.

The top two players in each group after the round-robin stage progress to the semi-finals on Saturday.

The men’s season-ending event, which is taking place in London for the penultimate year, features the top eight players of the year.

‘We won’t go for dinner together’ – Tsitsipas on Medvedev rivalry

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas has won two titles this year in Estoril and Marseille

Tsitsipas had lost all five of his previous meetings with US Open runner-up Medvedev and the pair have had a difficult relationship since a row over a net cord in Miami last year.

Tsitsipas then called the Russian’s playing style “boring” after a defeat at the Shanghai Masters last month.

The pair are two of the most highly-rated young players in the game – two of four singles players aged 24 or under at this year’s championships – but Tsitsipas was rewarded for being the more aggressive of the two players.

Asked whether beating Medvedev meant extra to him, the Greek said: “It means more than extra.

“It’s a victory that I’ve craved for a long time now and it’s great that it came in this moment.

“Our chemistry definitely isn’t the best that you can find on the tour. It just happens with people that it’s not that you can just like everyone.

“It’s not that I hate him. I guess, as he said, we will not go to dinner together.”

Medvedev and Tsitsipas
Medvedev has won more matches this year (59) than any other player

There were no breaks in the first set but Tsitsipas played better in the tie-break, earning the crucial mini-break to move 6-5 ahead by winning a gruelling point at the net with a volley.

The second set was similarly tight but Tsitsipas remained immaculate on serve – he did not face a break point in the match – and eventually broke serve to go 5-4 in front, helped by the Russian choosing not to volley a return at 30-30 that landed in.

Tsitsipas served out the match in the following game, and celebrated enthusiastically after the final point as he moved top of the early group table.

Tsitsipas, who beat Federer en route to the semi-finals of this year’s Australian Open, won the Next Gen event a year ago – the season-ending tournament for players aged 21 or under.

He said he had “goosebumps” when making his debut in London.

Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho has made 55 appearances for Brazil

Bayern Munich have signed attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona on a season-long loan deal which includes an option to buy.

Barcelona say the German side will pay 8.5m euros (£7.78m) to take the Brazilian, 27, on loan while the option to buy stands at 120m euros (£109.84m).

Bayern will also pay Coutinho’s wages for the duration of the loan spell.

“For me, this change represents a new challenge in a new country at one of the best clubs in Europe,” he said.

“I am really looking forward to this. I have big goals, like Bayern, and I’m sure I can do it with my new team-mates. ”

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added: “We have been working with Philippe Coutinho for some time and are very happy that we were able to realise this transfer now.

“Our thanks to FC Barcelona for agreeing to this transfer. In Philippe, a player comes to FC Bayern who will strengthen our offensive with his creativity and excellent technique.”

Coutinho, who was in the crowd for Barcelona’s La Liga defeat against Athletic Bilbao on Friday, joined from Liverpool in a £142m deal in January 2018.

Despite scoring 21 goals in 76 appearances for the Spanish giants, he has fallen short of expectations and had been linked with several clubs this summer.

It is believed he was included as part of a bid by Barcelona to re-sign Neymar from Paris St-Germain, the Spanish club reportedly willing to offer 100m euros (£92.4m) plus Coutinho for the forward.

Cristiano Ronaldo scores 700th career goals

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Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo’s goal was his 95th for Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo reached a career landmark on Monday by scoring his 700th career goal in Portugal’s Euro 2020 qualifier at Ukraine.

He scored 450 times for the Spanish giants, with 118 of his 700 goals coming during the early part of his career at Manchester United from 2003 to 2009.

His 95 goals for Portugal is more than double the tally of any other player to have featured for the national team. Pauleta has the second most with 47.

Ronaldo’s favourite opponents

Ronaldo
Sweden are one of four teams Ronaldo has scored the most against at international level with five goals

Andorra, Armenia, Latvia and Sweden are the countries to have suffered the most at the hands of Ronaldo, who has scored five goals against each of them.

He has four apiece versus Estonia, Faroe Islands, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands but has never scored against France, Germany, Italy or England.

At club level, Sevilla (27), Atletico Madrid (25), Getafe (23), Celta Vigo (20) and Barcelona (18) are the teams Ronaldo has scored the most against.

A landmark reached, what next?

Watch seven great Premier League strikes by Cristiano Ronaldo as he reaches 700 career goals

Ronaldo is no stranger to breaking records. You name it, he has probably broken it.

Most Champions League goals, most goals in a Champions League season, most goals for Real Madrid, most appearances in European Championships, most Portugal caps, to name but a few.

The list is almost endless. So what is left for him to achieve?

There is still his ongoing tussle with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to be statistically the outright best player in Europe.

Ronaldo’s goal against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League at the start of the month took him up to 605 club goals, two above Messi’s 603.

The pair are the joint all-time top goalscorers in Europe’s top five leagues on 419. Ronaldo has 422 league goals, but his three in Portugal for Sporting Lisbon do not count as one of the top leagues.

Ronaldo still needs four Champions League final goals to overhaul Puskas’ and Alfredo di Stefano’s record of seven, while he needs to score in the competition again next season to match Ryan Giggs’ record of netting in 16 consecutive seasons.

Still plenty for him to aim for then…

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