Medvedev, Rublev upset in Madrid; Sabalenka advances

MADRID (AP): Leading men’s seeds Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev were knocked out by fellow Russians in the fourth round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday.

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka reached the last four after trailing Mayar Sherif by a set and a break. Sabalenka rallied to beat the Egyptian 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. The Australian Open champion reached her fifth semifinal in seven tournaments. She won Madrid in 2021.

The 59th-ranked Sherif was the first Egyptian to make it to the quarterfinals in a WTA 1000 event. No. 2-seeded Medvedev lost to qualifier Aslan Karatsev 7-6 (1), 6-4. Karatsev, ranked 121, earned his first victory against a top-10 opponent since 2021. No. 5-seeded Rublev lost to his doubles partner Karen Khachanov 7-6 (8), 6-4.

Khachanov saved two set points in the tiebreaker in his first win against a top-10 opponent on clay since 2019. Medvedev entered the match with a tour-leading 33-4 record this year.

Karatsev is a former No. 14 in the world and has won three tour titles, the last in Sydney last year. “I’m feeling great,” Karatsev said. He will play Taylor Fritz or Zhang Zhizhen in the quarterfinals.

The 12th-ranked Khachanov believed their tiebreaker was crucial after losing to Rublev in Monte Carlo three weeks ago, when Rublev went on to capture his maiden Masters 1000 title.

“It’s always tricky to play against each other because, on one side, we know each other’s games perfectly because we’ve been training together for so many years,” Khachanov said. “At the same time, we know what to expect, but also of course a bit nervous to play against each other. We are good friends.”

Khachanov improved his win-loss record to 19-0 after winning the first set in 2023. His next opponent will be defending champion Carlos Alcaraz or 13th-seeded Alexander Zverev, who met late Tuesday. Khachanov and Rublev made it to the doubles quarterfinals, where Jamie Murray and Michael Venus await.

“This (singles) match is over,” Khachanov said. “We need to have some time maybe to absorb it. That’s how it was in Monte Carlo. The day before, we played doubles, we lost a very tight match, and then the next day he beat me. After one day, life goes on. He’s doing well this year, I’m doing well, I’m just happy.”

Also through to the quarterfinals was Daniel Altmaier, who defeated Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-0.

Munar was upset with a call that put him down 3-0 in the final set. He challenged it and was irate when the ruling against him stood, saying: “I will destroy this machine. How is it possible? The mark is clear.” He walked to what appeared to be some tour officials near the court and argued with them about the challenge system, telling them “we are playing for 80,000 euros ($87,600) here.”