February 24, 2017

Former Champ Wozniacki and Gold Medalist Puig Advance, While Vandeweghe Loses To Riske in Dubai

Caroline Wozniacki, courtesy of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

(February 20, 2017) Former champion Caroline Wozniacki began the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winning 6-2, 7-5 over teenager Daria Kasatkina. Although Wozniacki is just off reaching the final of Doha.

 

“Well, obviously seeing the draw, it’s like, well, could have had an easier first round,” said Wozniacki, who won the title in 2011 and has reached the semifinals in her last four apperances in Dubai. “She’s a good young player. She mixes up the pace a lot. She kind of tries to bring you out of your rhythm and she has great hands. I was really pleased with how I was able to just stay focused out there from the beginning. I didn’t really know how I was going to play to start off with. Generally, I was pleased with my game.”

 

Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig who is nursing a sore back, beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Puig had a medical time out after the second set.

 

“It’s just some lower back soreness,” Puig said. “I came from Doha two days ago, so the balls are a bit different. The court is definitely much different than in Doha. It’s just something that I have to go and get treatment with, but it’s really no big deal.”

 

Eleventh seed CoCo Vandeweghe lost 6-4, 6-4 to Fed cup teammate Alison Riske, and 13th seed Kiki Bertens was also upset, losing 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 to Christine McHale. Peng Shuai took full advantage of her wild card, overwhelming Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 in just 55 minutes, and Elise Mertens became the third qualifier to reach the second round when she defeated Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3 6-2.

 

The top eight seeds received first round byes and will be in action from Tuesday. They include US Open champion and world number two Angelique Kerber, 2017 Brisbane and Doha champion Karolina Pliskova, WTA Finals winner Dominika Cibulkova, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, and former Dubai winner Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

“There are so many top players competing on Tuesday that not all can be scheduled on Centre Court,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “That means spectators will be able to see stars such as Caroline Wozniacki, Olympic gold medal winner Monica Puig and Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur free of charge on the outside courts. As an added bonus, they will also be able to catch one of the greatest players of all time, Martina Hingis, in doubles action.”

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUBAI, UAE
$2,666,000
17-25 FEBRUARY, 2017

RESULTS – FEBRUARY 20, 2017
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[10] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) 62 75
A. Riske (USA) d [11] C. Vandeweghe (USA) 64 64
C. Mchale (USA) d [13] K. Bertens (NED) 67(5) 63 64
C. Bellis (USA) d [17] Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 61 75
M. Puig (PUR) d Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 63 46 64
A. Konjuh (CRO) d S. Zhang (CHN) 60 61
M. Doi (JPN) d M. Brengle (USA) 62 67(4) 63
L. Davis (USA) d [LL] M. Minella (LUX) 26 62 61
K. Bondarenko (UKR) d [Q] A. Sabalenka (BLR) 46 64 63
[Q] E. Mertens (BEL) d T. Pironkova (BUL) 63 62
[WC] S. Peng (CHN) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 61 61
K. Mladenovic (FRA) d K. Siniakova (CZE) 63 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Peng (CHN) d C. Liang (CHN) / Z. Yang (CHN) 75 62
V. Golubic (SUI) / Kr. Pliskova (CZE) d R. Atawo (USA) / Y. Xu (CHN) 64 62
A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) d [WC] F. Al Nabhani (OMA) / M. Barthel (GER) 46 61 11-9
R. Olaru (ROU) / O. Savchuk (UKR) d N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL) 46 76(4) 10-4
A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d J. Jankovic (SRB) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 64 64

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[3] D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs E. Makarova (RUS)
[Q] E. Mertens (BEL) vs [4] A. Radwanska (POL)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs K. Bondarenko (UKR)
K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs [2] Ka. Pliskova (CZE)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] A. Kerber (GER) vs [WC] M. Barthel (GER)
[Q] S. Zheng (CHN) vs [7] E. Svitolina (UKR)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
M. Puig (PUR) vs [15] C. Garcia (FRA)
[12] S. Stosur (AUS) vs A. Konjuh (CRO)

Not Before 4:00 pm
V. Golubic (SUI) vs [10] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
[9] B. Strycova (CZE) vs [WC] S. Peng (CHN)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
C. Bellis (USA) vs L. Siegemund (GER)
L. Davis (USA) vs Kr. Pliskova (CZE)

Not Before 4:00 pm
A. Sevastova (LAT) vs A. Riske (USA)

COURT 3 start 12:00 noon
M. Doi (JPN) vs [8] E. Vesnina (RUS)
[Q] O. Jabeur (TUN) vs Q. Wang (CHN)
C. Mchale (USA) vs N. Osaka (JPN)
[4] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE)

COURT 7 start 12:00 noon
[7] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR)
D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / J. Ostapenko (LAT)
A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)
E. Mertens (BEL) / A. Naydenova (BUL) vs [5] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

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United States Moves into Fed Cup Semis with 4-0 Win Over Germany

 

(February 12, 2017) The United States moved into its first Fed cup semifinal since 2010 by besting Germany 4-0 at the Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui on Sunday.

Rain shortened play on Saturday with the U.S. up 1-0. Prior to play on Sunday, CoCo Vandeweghe won her second match when Julia Goerges retired with a right knee injury, with the American up 6-3, 3-1 when the match was called for rain.

Vandeweghe began the day coming back to beat Andrea Petkovic for the first time 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, capturing the last 10 games after taking a medical time out for heat illness. This clinched the tie for the U.S.

 

“I just think at 4-2 I had 15-40 and I was playing well.” Petkovic said. “I think she served really well in the decisive moments there. She had four first serves and then I played a bad game at 4-3.
 

“I think in tennis it can change so quickly.

 

“Then she was just serving really well in the third set. I never really got any rhythm to begin with. It was difficult for me to find my way or grind my way back into the match then in the third set.”

 

“It’s really a team effort,” Vandeweghe said of the win. “It’s a home tie for a reason. I think that was a big motivating factor for me to come out there and represent my country. I don’t really need much of a reason more to give everything I have out there on the court.

 

“That was kind of it.”

 

She gave credit to the Maui crowd – “ It’s no secret I was feeling like crap out there. I definitely needed a big pick-me-up. I definitely feed off the crowd and my teammates. This is one of the few times we do have teammates.

 

“I think that is definitely what pushed me through the hump for sure.”

 

Singles match D was skipped and in the doubles rubber, the Germany team had to retire, down 1-4 when Laura Siegemund injured her elbow.

 

The U.S. will host the Czech Republic the weekend of April 22-23 at a place to be announced.

 

U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi, making her debut as captain this weekend, spoke about the next tie: “Obviously Czech Republic is a very strong, tough team. They have many, many great players. One of our players knows one well.

 

“So, you know, yes. We’re going to enjoy this one. We’re going to look forward to playing them at home and have the home court advantage.

 

“Again, we’ll put together a strong team. I believe in all our American players. They’re doing great. They started off 2017 extremely strong.

 

“Yeah, we’re going to go for it.”

 

 

FINAL RESULTS

 

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. HST      

Singles A:

Alison Riske (USA) def. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 7-6(10), 6-2

Sunday, 10:00 a.m. HST  

Singles B:

Coco Vandeweghe (USA) def. Julia Goerges (GER) 6-3, 3-1, ret.

Singles C:

Coco Vandeweghe (USA) def. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0

Singles D:

Alison Riske (USA) vs. Julia Goerges (GER) not played

Doubles:

Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Shelby Rogers (USA) def.

Laura Siegemund/Carina Witthoeft (GER)   4-1, ret.

 

 

WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND RESULTS

United States def. Germany, 4-0

Czech Republic def. Spain, 3-2

Belarus def. Netherlands, 4-1

Switzerland def. France, 4-1

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U.S. Leads Germany 1-0 in Fed Cup After Outdated Stanza of German Anthem Sung as Day One is Shortened by Rain

U.S. Leads Germany 1-0 in Fed Cup After Outdated Stanza of German Anthem Sung During Opening Ceremony

(February 11, 2017) During the opening ceremonies of day one of the Fed Cup quarterfinal tie between the United States and Germany on Saturday in Maui, Hawaii, a World War II era stanza of the German National anthem was sung.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) issued an apology for the error in a statement:

“The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition,” the release said. “In no way did we mean any disrespect. This mistake will not occur again, and the correct anthem will be performed for the remainder of this first-round tie.”

 

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Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who lost in the only completed match on Saturday was very upset about the anthem.

I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I never felt more disrespected in my whole life,” she said. “I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now, and it was the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

Alison Riske, who defeated Petkovic 7-6(10), 6-2 also commented: “You know what, as it was happening obviously, we have no idea. News got around to us, and it’s extremely unfortunate. We have nothing but respect for the German team.”

“Obviously, that will not happen again.”

Alison Riske

 

For Riske, this was her first singles victory in Fed Cup.

“It mean(s) a lot when you play for your country. I’m always emotional when I talk about America. We’re lucky to be living here and to represent America. Any time we can, it’s a real honor.”

Petkovic was serving for the first set at 5-3, when Riske came back to force a tiebreak. At 3-3 in the tiebreak, play was suspended due to rain.

“I just tried to be the one that was more aggressive in the tiebreaker, because usually that person is the one who’s going to win the tiebreaker.

“Just tried to get out there after the rain break and go after it. Yeah, I did have four set points to win it. After that, I felt like I was in a better place mentally just to have one set under my belt.”

“I was fighting a lot of nerves,” she said after the match.” Like I said, we all want to win for our country, our team, our captain.”

“Considering all the conditions, it was a good quality match in the first set,” said the former top 10 Petkovic.” I just didn’t close it out. Yeah, maybe a little unlucky in few moments; maybe a little also few mistakes that shouldn’t have happened in the important moments.

“Then, as I said, she played fantastic second set.”

Coco Vandeweghe took a 6-3, 3-1 lead over Julia Goerges before rain halted play for the day.

The United States leads Germany 1-0 after the first day of play. They will resume play at 9:30 AM local time. Vandeweghe-Goerges will be completed, followed by reverse singles – Riske against Goerges,  Vandeweghe takes on Petkovic, and then the doubles match- Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe versus Laura Siegemumd and Carina Witthoeft.

The winner of this tie will take on the winner of the Czech Republic- Spain tie the weekend of April 22-23.

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United States Host Germany in Fed Cup First Round in Maui

Team USA, (Left to right) CoCo Vandeweghe, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Alison Riske, Shelby Rogers, Captain Kathy Rinaldi at the 2017 Fed Cup tie between the United States and Germany in Maui, HI on February 7.

 

 

(February 10, 2017) The United States takes on Germany in the first round of World Group this weekend in Maui. Day one’s schedule includes two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Sunday’s schedule features two “reverse singles” matches, where the No. 1 players square off and then the No. 2 players meet, followed by the doubles match.

 

The Royal Lahaina Resort hosts the tie which will lead off with world No. 40 Alison Riske taking on world No. 51 Andrea Petkovic.

 

Riske is playing in her first Fed Cup tie since 2015 and is competing in her second Fed Cup singles match, holding an 0-1 record. Riske peaked at a career-high No. 38 in the world this January after a strong start to 2017, highlighted by reaching her fifth career WTA singles final in Shenzhen and advancing to the third round of the Australian Open. Petkovic is competing in her 14th Fed Cup tie and holds a 12-6 Fed Cup singles record. She peaked at No. 9 in the world in October 2011 when she reached the quarterfinals of three different Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open, and the US Open). She also advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 French Open. Riske and Petkovic have never faced each other in WTA competition.

 

The second match-up on Saturday will feature the United States’ top player Coco Vandeweghe against German Julia Goerges. Vandeweghe and Goerges have met three times on the WTA Tour, with Goerges holding a 2-1 record over Vandeweghe. Goerges won the last two meetings at the 2015 French Open (in three sets) and in Brussels in 2013. Vandeweghe defeated Goerges in Tokyo in 2010. Vandeweghe is ranked a career-high No. 20 in the world after advancing to the semifinals of the 2017 Australian Open—her career-best Grand Slam result. In Australia, she upset three seeded players, including then-world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, before falling to Venus Williams in the semifinals. Vandeweghe has played in four Fed Cup ties for the U.S., holding a 1-3 record in singles and a 3-0 record in doubles. Goerges is ranked No. 57 in the world and peaked at a career-high No. 15 in the world in April 2012. She holds two WTA titles and advanced to four additional finals. She is playing in her 14th Fed Cup tie and holds a 4-6 singles record in Fed Cup play.

 

Kathy Rinaldi will be making her debut as Fed Cup Captain in this match-up.Rinaldi was named the 19th U.S. Fed Cup Captain on December 8, succeeding Mary Joe Fernandez after eight years at the post. Rinaldi currently serves as Lead National Coach, Team USA – Pro Women for USTA Player Development, focused on helping American pros achieve Top-100 rankings. She has coached the U.S. to multiple junior international team competition titles and coached the U.S. women in the Pan-American Games in 2015. Rinaldi, 49, was ranked as high as No. 7 in the world in singles (May 1986) and No. 13 in the world in doubles (February 1993).

 

The winner of this matchup will advance to face either the Czech Republic or Spain in the World Group Semifinals, held April 22-23, for a chance to compete for the 2017 Fed Cup title. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoffs in April to remain in the World Group.

 

Order of Play

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. HST      

Singles A: Alison Riske (USA) vs. Andrea Petkovic (GER)

Singles B: Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Julia Goerges (GER)

 

Sunday, 10:00 a.m. HST  

Singles C: Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Andrea Petkovic (GER)

Singles D: Alison Riske (USA) vs. Julia Goerges (GER)

Doubles:Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Laura Siegemund/Carina Witthoeft (GER)

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Davis Cup: U.S. Shuts Out The Swiss – Querrey, Johnson Close Out World Group First Round With Singles Wins

DAVIS CUP: U.S. SHUTS OUT THE SWISS
Querrey, Johnson Close Out World Group First Round With Singles Wins

By Junior Williams

(February 5, 2017) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Americans Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson each posted straight sets victories in dead rubbers to give the United States a 5-0 victory over Switzerland in the Davis Cup World Group first round.

Querrey defeated lefty Adrien Bossel 6-3, 7-5 in a 73-minute match. The Californian blasted 16 aces past the 485th-ranked Bossel and faced zero break points.

It took Johnson only an hour to beat another Swiss left-hander — 20-year old Antoine Bellier — 6-4, 6-3, in a very entertaining match featuring powerful groundstrokes and strong returns. The players combined committed only 16 unforced errors for the entire match.

The U.S. now turns its attention to the quarterfinals in April, when the team will face Australia in a road tie. The Aussies will be looking for revenge after losing in the first round last year to the Americans in Kooyong.

Australia will be hosting team USA for a second straight tie, however, the visitor will have choice of ground – hardcourt. Normally nations alternate hosting ties, but the U.S. and Australia played consecutive ties in U.S. in 1997 and 1999, in order for the U.S. to host the 100th anniversary of Davis Cup at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hills, Mass., the site of the first-ever Davis Cup tie. TEam USA is 26-20 versus Australia in Davis Cup play.

Switzerland will try to remain in the World Group by winning its play-off match-up September 15-17.

—-

The U.S. victory marks the second straight American sweep of the Swiss. The last one was a 2012 shocker on clay in Fribourg, Switzerland that included Mardy Fish defeating Stan Wawrinka 9-7 in the 5th set, John Isner beating Roger Federer in four sets – and a doubles win for Mike Bryan and Fish over Federer and Wawrinka, also in four sets.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice, he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the USA home ties. He is in Birmingham, Alabama covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

—-
Final results
Singles A: Jack Sock (USA) d. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
Singles B: John Isner (USA) d. Henri Laaksonen (SUI), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(1)
Doubles: Jack Sock/Steve Johnson (USA)
d. Adrien Bossel/Henri Laaksonen (SUI), 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(5)
Singles C: Sam Querrey (USA) d. Adrien Bossel (SUI), 6-3, 7-5
Singles D: Steve Johnson (USA) d. Antoine Bellier (SUI), 6-4, 6-3

 

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Davis Cup: U.S. Clinches Quarterfinal Berth; Sock and Johnson defeat Switzerland In World Group First Round Tie

DAVIS CUP: U.S. CLINCHES QUARTERFINAL BERTH

Sock and Johnson defeat Switzerland In World Group First Round Tie

 

 

By Junior Williams

 

(February 4, 2017) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – For the clincher, United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier called on the 2016 Olympic bronze medal doubles team.

Jack Sock and Steve Johnson delivered for the U.S. with a 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Switzerland’s Adrien Bossel and Henri Laaksonen. The win gives the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead in this World Group first round tie, advancing to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face Australia on the road for a second consecutive year.

Both Courier and Swiss Captain Severin Luthi switched up their originally scheduled lineups: Jack Sock replaced Sam Querrey for the Americans, while Luthi went with Laaksonen instead of Antoine Bellier. Laaksonen had an impressive return of serve during Friday’s second singles rubber, despite losing to John Isner in four sets.

The U.S. took the lead in the first set, winning a tiebreak capped by a Steve Johnson forehand winner up the sideline to go up 6-3, followed by a Johnson forehand that was hit long by the Swiss. The Americans won 85-percent of their first serve points in the set.

Serving in the first game of the second set, Jack Sock vehemently disputed a lineman’s foot fault call, but to no avail. As the game went on the U.S. found itself in a 0-40 hole, but eventually staved off those three break points and held serve. The Americans broke the Swiss in the next game, which ended with a thrilling rally punctuated by a Sock winner at net — bringing fans at the Legacy Arena at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex to their feet.

Both teams exchanged breaks of serve later in the set, but the U.S. went on to win it on a Sock service winner. A stellar performance at the net by Johnson also a major factor contributing to the Americans’ two set lead.

Switzerland refused to go quietly. Spurred on by their fans chanting “Hop Suisse,” the Swiss team broke the U.S. to go up 3-1 in the third set on a Laaksonen overhead smash at net. But the visitors blew a golden opportunity when the Americans staved off three set points and broke Switzerland to get the set back on serve at 5-4.

The U.S. closed out the rubber and clinched the tie by winning a third set tiebreak, which ended with the Swiss at net hitting the ball past the baseline. After each team shook hands, the American team took a victory lap around the court with the U.S. flag, cheered on by the home crowd.

Despite being heavy underdogs without their top guns Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, the Swiss have given the U.S. a good fight – and will attempt to remain in Davis Cup’s top tier when they compete in the World Group Play-offs this coming September.

“If you lose, it’s disappointed that you lost,” noted Swiss captain Severin Luthi. “I mean, I’m never like happy when we lose or if I lose. Even if it’s card games or whatever, I’m never happy.

“So disappointed. But, again, I have to say the same as yesterday. It wasn’t the performance of the players at all, you know. I thought they gave everything. They were, yeah — they had chances first and third set, and unfortunately we just couldn’t make it.”

Australia will be hosting team USA for a second straight tie, however, the visitor will have choice of ground – hardcourt. Normally nations alternate hosting ties, but the U.S. and Australia played consecutive ties in U.S. in 1997 and 1999, in order for the U.S. to host the 100th anniversary of Davis Cup at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hills, Mass., the site of the first-ever Davis Cup tie.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go back and battle those guys (Australia) again,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. “They came through pretty comfortably as well. Hugely talented team. Passionate Davis Cup nation. Had a lot of fun playing down in Melbourne with them.

“Obviously got the result we wanted which makes it a lot more fun, but they’re a knowledgeable crowd and they have won a ton of Davis Cups, so they know what it’s all about.

“It will be exciting for us to go down. We’re already talking about it, looking forward to it. We have work to do tomorrow. We’re not your overlooking the matches on Sunday. We will be ready to play tomorrow for sure, even though this thing is decided.

“I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’re anxious to get down there and battle on. We really want to get out to the semifinals and see what we can do this year.”

Two dead rubbers are scheduled for Sunday – and we have yet to see Querrey and Bellier play in this tie.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice, he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the USA home ties. He is in Birmingham, Alabama covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

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Canada and Great Britain Tied at 1-1 After Day One of Davis Cup Play

 

 

Vasek Pospisil

(February 3, 2017) OTTAWA 0 Tennis Canada– The Canadian Davis Cup team sits tied with Great Britain 1-1 following the opening day of action at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie at TD Place in Ottawa. Great Britain’s top player, Daniel Evans, secured the first victory of the day on Friday, defeating Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, Ont.) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 before Canada’s No. 1 player, Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver), overcame Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3).

World No. 45 Evans unhinged Shapovalov in one hour and 50 minutes, breaking the 17-year-old Canadian four times in the three-setter to give Great Britain the early lead. While Shapovalov flaunted his powerful serve, firing 13 aces to Evans’ three, young nerves seemed to have contributed to his 39 unforced errors on the scoresheet.

“Just [Evans’] confidence alone, those points at deuce, those break points. He knows he’s got them, he knows what to do,” Shapovalov said in the post-match press conference. “I think I played the right way, my strategy was right. I felt like I was right there with him. It was very close and I had my chances but he played the big points better. That’s tennis, I’ve got to move on from it.”

Denis Shapovalov

But Shapovalov has shifted his focus to the matches ahead, and kept the bigger picture in perspective.

“I’m playing for my country first of all, and myself second so I’m going to give it all I have every single match I play, so that was that. The match is over and I did everything I could. Now I’m getting ready for Sunday.”

In the second match of the day, Pospisil turned things around for Canada. He dominated Great Britain’s No. 2 player Kyle Edmund and closed out the second match of the day in just over two hours. The 22-year-old Brit challenged Pospisil in the third set, forcing a tiebreak, but a strong performance from the Vancouver resident at the net and the support of a roaring crowd helped him capture the win. Pospisil won 86 per cent of first serve points, and didn’t allow Edmund a single break from four opportunities throughout the contest.

“I’ve been struggling of late to get some momentum and rhythm in matches and confidence. It’s been a bit frustrating but I’ve been trying to stay patient and I knew that it was going to click at some point. This is a bit of a turning point for me, and Davis Cup is a good platform for me to get some confidence and momentum,” Pospisil said after the match. “I enjoy playing in front of a home crowd, and for my team and country. Whether it’s that’s little bit of adrenaline to get me out of a slump, I don’t know but I’m definitely thrilled with the way I played.”
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“This court suits Vasek really well,” said Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau. “It forces him to play a certain way and it exposes his strengths tremendously. I had full confidence in Vasek going in. The set-up is perfect for him – Davis Cup and especially the crowd.”

The crowd in question, which was the largest-ever attended Davis Cup day hosted in Canada, clocked in at 6,962 and provided constant energy and support throughout the day’s action.

Play picks back up on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET with the doubles match, scheduled to feature Canadians Daniel Nestor (Toronto) and Pospisil against Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot. The team captains have until one hour before the match to change their nominations. The tie will conclude on Sunday with the two reverse singles matches, scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET. All matches will be best-of-five sets, with the exception of Sunday’s matches if the tie has already been decided.

Limited availability for tickets on Saturday and Sunday remain. They can be purchased online at TDPlace.ca, by phone at 1-877-489-2849, or in person at the box office at TD Place.

Matches will be shown on Sportsnet ONE on Saturday and OLN on Sunday, and TVA Sports on both days. Please check local listings for the full schedule.

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Davis Cup: Home Cookin’ in the Deep South; Sock, Isner Give U.S. 2-0 Lead Over Switzerland In First Round

 

DAVIS CUP: HOME COOKING IN THE DEEP SOUTH

Sock, Isner Give U.S. 2-0 Lead Over Switzerland In First Round

 

By Junior Williams

 

(February 3, 2017) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The heavily favored United States team lived up to expectations as Jack Sock and John Isner won their respective singles rubbers against Switzerland, giving the Americans a 2-0 lead in the first round of Davis Cup Cup World Group competition at Legacy Arena at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

 

Switzerland is playing this tie without its two top players – world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 10 Roger Federer who won the Australian Open last week.

 

Isner’s victory over world No. 127 Henri Laaksonen was far from a cakewalk. It took two hours and 44 minutes for the American to win the rubber 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(1).

 

In the first set, Isner’s powerful service game was blunted by Laaksonen executing solid returns and winning long rallies. Isner saved three break points to knot the set at 4-4, but the Swiss went on to win the set by breaking the world No. 23.

Isner committed 21 unforced errors during the set and backhanded numerous shots into the net.

 

The 31-year old Isner seemed to find his rhythm in the second set after breaking Laaksonen to go up 3-2, helped by a more effective service game — striking seven aces during the set and winning 84-percent of his first serve points. On the flip side, Laaksonen committed three double faults, including one that gave the U.S. a 5-2 advantage. Isner won the next game, closing it out with his 12th ace of the match.

John Isner

The American got off to a fast start in the third set. He broke the Swiss in the first game with a winning forehand passing shot as Laaksonen approached the net. Isner held in the second game, but not before staving off three break points. In this set it was Laaksonen with 21 unforced errors helping Isner cruise through the remainder of the set.

 

The fourth set was a tight affair as both players battled. Isner was visibly frustrated by the 24-year old Laaksonen’s returns and defensive play. But when tiebreak time came around, it was all Isner. After a mini-break on the first point — followed by two service winners — victory came five points later when Laaksonen double faulted. During the on-court post-match interview, Isner admitted to being nervous at times during the match.

 

“I’ll take the film of that first set and just throw it in the fire, delete that one,” Isner said in his post-match news conference. “I think more than anything I was a little bit nervous, and that was affecting my footwork quite a lot. With me being so big and when my footed work is not sharp, it can be ugly. It was in the first set.”

 

Jim stayed on me to stay positive, even though I wasn’t feeling very positive out there. I think that’s actually what tilted the match in my favor a little bit. Certainly could have been cleaner, but Davis Cup you ties throw out rankings and whatnot, it’s tough touch out there in these matches, so I’m happy to get the win.

 

In the first rubber, it took just under two hours for No. 1 American Jack Sock to defeat Marco Chiudinelli — ranked 146 in the world — 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Things were pretty even until Sock won the first set by breaking Chiudinelli with an overhead lob that was retrieved but hit just wide of the sideline.

 

“There are always few extra nerves I think playing Davis Cup,” Sock said. “When you’re playing for your country, being a part of a team, maybe at a normal event, normal tournament, you come out swinging a little bit more.

“I think I was a little hesitant at the beginning; maybe too conservative playing when obviously my game is to kind of play big and hit big forehands and be aggressive.”

Sock continued to put pressure on the 35-year old Swiss by stepping up his aggressive play, with solid ground strokes and serves with some net play in the mix. For the match, Sock had 29 total winners to Chiudinelli’s eleven. The Nebraska-born 24-year old was never broken in four attempts.

 

The U.S. can clinch the tie by winning Saturday’s doubles match-up — scheduled to be Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson versus Switzerland’s Antoine Bellier and Adrien Bossel. Bellier’s heroics kept the Swiss in the top tier of Davis Cup, courtesy of his 2016 World Group play-off win in the deciding rubber against Uzbekistan back in September.

 

Team USA is not taking anything for granted. They had a 2-0 lead back in July and lost in the quarterfinals to Croatia.

 

Jack Sock

 

“I think as a whole, as a team, like I said, we’re not taking anyone lightly,” Sock noted. “But at the same time, we’re confident in our squad and our four guys in the matchups this weekend.

“We’re going to go one match at time and get one point at time.”

 

A victory would earn the Americans a quarterfinal trip to Australia — a rematch of last year’s first round tie won by the U.S. at Kooyong. Australia clinched their tie against the Czech Republic with a doubles win to give them a 3-0 lead.

 

—–

 

EXTRAS:

 

John Isner notched his 500th Davis Cup ace during the fourth set of his match against Henri Laaksonen.

 

Isner was not aware of this upcoming milestone: “I was wondering, because I heard them say 500. I was wondering what that was. Thank you for clarifying that. I had no idea I was close to that in Davis Cup play.

“You know, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to play in a lot of singles matches on the Davis Cup team. I guess that’s a pretty cool number to achieve.

“More than anything, I’m just happy I was able to get the win today. I thought the crowd was great, and we’re up 2-0. We’re in a pretty good spot.”

 

“But Davis Cup anything can happen. You see it every year. Every tie almost you see some kind of crazy things happen.”

 

Unusual for a Davis Cup tie in the U.S. to have a serve speed clock deliver results in kilometers per hour instead of miles per hour. Fans in the stands were trying to guess the actual MPH.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice, he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the USA home ties. He is in Birmingham, Alabama covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

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Sock to Lead Off for USA Against Switzerland in Davis Cup; Courier Reflects on Team USA’s Past and Future

(February 2, 2017) In celebration of Groundhog Day, “Birmingham Bill” of the Birmingham Zoo picked the first match-up of the draw for the U.S. vs. Switzerland Davis Cup World Group First Round tie in Birmingham, Ala. on Thursday.

 

Day one will pit the No. 1 singles of their respective teams versus the No. 2 players on the other team.

American Jack Sock ranked No. 20 in the world will take on Marco Chiudinelli, ranked No. 46, followed by No. 23 John Isner against No. 127-ranked Henri Laaksonen. Sock is 3-2 in Davis Cup Singles play, while his opponent is 6-12. Isner beat Roger Federer when the U.S. shutout Switzerland 5-0 in the cup tie in Fribourg back in 2012.

 

Here is the lineup for the weekend tie:

 

Friday, February 3, 3:00 p.m. Central

Singles A: Jack Sock (USA) vs. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)

Singles B: John Isner (USA) vs. Henri Laaksonen(SUI)

 

Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m. Central

Doubles:

*Sam Querrey/Steve Johnson (USA) vs. Adrien Bossel/Antoine Bellier (SUI)

 

Sunday, February 5, 11:00 a.m., Central

Singles C:Jack Sock (USA) vs. Henri Laaksonen (SUI)

Singles D: John Isner (USA) vs. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)

 

*Team captains may substitute the doubles team up to one hour before the match.

 

December will mark ten years since the United States won Davis Cup. With the Bryan brothers retiring from Davis Cup play and former star Andy Roddick about to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the USA Captain reflected about the current team carrying American tennis forward since that group of players won the cup in Portland in 2007.

 

“First of all, we’ve been unbelievably lucky to have a great generation of Davis Cup players in Andy (Roddick) and James (Blake) and Mardy (Fish) and Bob and Mike Bryan that did great things for this country,” Courier said.

 

“They’ve passed that baton now off to these guys. It’s the turn and the privilege of these four players I’m sitting with right now to carry American tennis fans and the American flag for us.

 

“They’re ready for it. These guys are battle-tested, they’re veterans on tour, and they’re ready for this responsibility. It’s a great privilege to go out there and play for the United States. These guys are anxious to do that. They’ve answered the call every time they’ve been asked to play for the U.S. I expect that will continue to be the path.

 

“So it’s an exciting new time for us as a team. There’s no doubt that we’re indebted to the great service of Bob and Mike Bryan. I hope they continue to play great as long as they’re still on tour. We’ll miss them on this team, but I feel confident in the group we have assembled here and their capabilities both in singles and doubles.

 

“We have a lot of options at our disposal now, where you’re a little bit more limited when you go with two doubles players and two singles players from an injury standpoint.

 

“There are pluses and minuses. Fortunately we never got into a position with Bob and Mike where we had an injury issue that impacted us as a team. But we’re looking forward to what this year will bring. 2017, we’re excited to start at home. We need to get off to a good start obviously. We won’t take anything for granted. We’ll be ready to play, as I mentioned. But it’s a new page, a new chapter in the U.S. Davis Cup team. It starts right here, right now.”

 

As to the future of American men’s tennis, Courier sad: “You’re looking at the present and the future of it right here, for starters. The even better news is that we have a cluster of 18, 19 and 20-yearolds that are starting to make their way onto the tour, starting to get through the challengers, move up to tour level.

 

“I was lucky enough to come through a generation that pushed each other. We had a cluster back then. We were able to push each other to great heights.

 

“It can only benefit American tennis if we have this young group here. I know these guys are very proud of their positions that they’ve earned in the sport. They’re not going to let those youngsters come up and take them easily either. That will be fun, I think, to see everyone pushing in the same direction, to try to get a few more names on the sports pages for American tennis. That would be a good thing, for sure.

 

“But there’s a lot of work ahead of those youngsters, too. I’m fortunate enough to get a chance to see a lot of it down in Orlando at the new home of American tennis. A lot of them are training there. Jack has been there, as well, to check it out. We’re in the beginning stages of seeing some nice transition from juniors to professional tennis from a big group of players. That will be very fun to watch.”

 

Team USA holds a  3-1 record against the Swiss in Davis Cup play, with the the two countries’ last meeting in Birmingham, winning 4-1 win for the U.S. in the 2009 World Group First Round at the same venue – Legacy Arena.

 

The winner of this tie moves into the World Group Quarterfinal, April 7-9, and will play either the Czech Republic or Australia. The losing country will compete in the World Group Playoff, Sept. 15-17, to try and stay in the World Group in 2018.

 

Related Articles:

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U.S. Davis Captain Jim Courier on Tie Against Switzerland: “We don’t expect it to be easy”

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U.S. Davis Captain Jim Courier on Tie Against Switzerland: “We don’t expect it to be easy”

U. S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier

(January 31, 2017) The United States Davis Cup team will face off in the first round of World Group against Switzerland at the Legacy Arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Alabama.  The Swiss team will be without their top players – world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 10 Roger Federer, who won the Australian Open on Sunday for his 18th major.

The U.S. team will consist of No. 20 Jack Sock,  No. 23 John Isner, No. 27 Sam Querrey and No. 31 Steve Johnson. Representing team Switzerland will be No. 127 Henri Laaksonen, No. 146 Marco Chiudinelli No. 485 Adrien Bossel and No. 598 Antoine Bellier.

Back on 2009, the U.S. also played Switzerland in Birmingham.

Both teams took part in pre-draw news conferences on Tuesday.

Playing Switzerland without their top two players, looks like an easy task for team USA this weekend, but USA Captain Jim Courier says there are no “gimmies.”

“Now, rankings don’t mean anything,” he said. “Once you get on the court, the ball doesn’t care what your ranking is. You have to hit the shots and win the points.

“We come in ready to play and ready to fight for every point. We don’t expect it to be easy.”

We’re confident that we have four great players here ready to go to battle in five matches,” Courier continued.

“It’s nice to play at home, of course. Nice to have a facility that we like, like this, a court that we like, like this. It’s not always the case.”

Swiss Captain Severin Luthi acknowledged that this weekend won’t be an easy task without Wawrinka and Federer.

“We have the best players behind them here, he said. “We’re going to try to do our best and give 100%. We’ll also try to improve this week. All the rest really doesn’t matter for us.”

“I think one of our strengths is really that the players we have here, especially Marco and Henri, who played more matches already in Davis Cup, they’re always playing well. They give all the time 100%. They’re ready to fight. Yeah, they had good results in Davis Cup. I think that’s one of our big strengths.

“With Antoine, we have a rather young player who is playing the first time last year and helped us staying in the Group. With Adrien also we won the doubles there.

“Obviously we’re completely outsiders here, but as I said, we’re going to try our best and give 100%.”

Bob and Mike Bryan announced their retirement from playing Davis Cup last week during the Australian Open.

“We were blessed to have Bob and Mike on our team for so many years,” Courier said. “They’re incredible. We’ll miss them for sure.

“I have a lot of confidence in these guys. Any combination of these four players would be a very, very good doubles team.

“It is different to not have Bob and Mike here. I wouldn’t say it’s better, but I would say that we feel comfortable that we have great options at our disposal for all of the matches.”

Swiss Captain Luthi was asked if the absence of the Bryan brothers was advantage to his team: “Honestly, I don’t think that it’s a big advantage because they have more flexibility like that for singles also. When they had the brothers in the team, you knew which players are going to play singles.

“Now, like I mentioned, I think all four players can also play doubles. They can change. They can wait and see how the matches on Friday went.

“I don’t think that it’s an advantage for us.”

The draw ceremony will take place on Thursday at the Birmingham Zoo at Noon.

The Davis Cup ties takes place  this weekend February 3-5, on an indoor hard court. Singles play begins at 3:00 p.m. CT on Friday, February 3. Doubles play begins on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CT. The final two singles matches will be held on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. CT. Tennis Channel will broadcast daily coverage.

The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Quarterfinals to be played April 7-9, against the winner of the Czech Republic vs. Australia tie. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoff, Sept. 15-17, for the right to remain in the World Group in 2018.

 

For information on the tie from the USTA .

Related Articles:

Isner, Sock, Johnson and Querrey Named to U.S. Davis Cup Team

Bryan Brothers Retire From U.S. Davis Cup Team

Friendly Fribourg; The Swiss City Did Itself Proud As a Davis Cup Host

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