2014/10/25

Tennis Reacts to the Passing of Elena Baltacha

(May 5, 2014) Tennis is mourning the passing of Elena Baltacha who died on Sunday after a battle with liver cancer at the age of 30. The former British No. 1 was born in the Ukraine and was a member of  Great Britain’s Fed Cup team and participated in the 2012 Olympics.

Former British No. 1 Elena Baltacha Dies from Liver Cancer

The tennis world took to twitter to express their condolences on Baltacha’s death.

 

 

 

 

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Statement from Nino Severino, Elena Baltacha’s husband:
“We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally. She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness.”

 

Statement from Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA:
“We are deeply grieved to lose our friend Elena Baltacha in her battle with cancer. Elena’s journey was never an easy one and yet she consistently showed her strength, good humor and indomitable spirit.

“The WTA was blessed to have such a champion compete and represent women’s tennis; Elena passionately represented Great Britain on the world stage and her personal commitment to excellence inspired us all throughout her career to strive for more, to be more, to give more. The loss of this special person will have a significant impact on her fellow competitors who not only respected her, but more importantly, loved her. ‘Bally’ was such a caring human being, always putting others before herself, and a warm, fun person. A shining example of her commitment to looking out for the welfare of others is the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which she established so that children from disadvantaged backgrounds could learn to play the game she loved so dearly.

“I am honored that I had the opportunity to know Elena, to call her ‘Bally’ as her friends do. She was a gift that was taken from us too soon; she will be deeply missed. On behalf of the WTA family of players and tournaments, our hearts and prayers go out to her loving and supportive husband Nino, her parents, brother and friends on this terribly sad day.”

 

Statement from the LTA:

Today British Tennis mourns the loss of one of our own. The news of the death of Elena Baltacha, one of the shining lights of British women’s tennis of recent generations, is devastating to everyone who has ever had the privilege to know her, play against her, or call her a friend or teammate.

It leaves a huge hole within our sport. Bally gave new meaning to the word ‘fighter.’ She fought tirelessly during her career against opposition on court, and never gave in to the struggles she endured off it. Forever remembered for her relentless determination, unbelievable drive and a will-power that never ceased to amaze us, it was a pleasure to watch Bally develop into a world class player and become an outstanding role model for everyone in the game.

With her enthusiasm, spirit and passion for life, she was a pure joy to be around, and having recently just got married to her husband Niño Severino, she was embarking on a new chapter in her life. The health issues she battled since her teenage years made what she achieved during her career all the more impressive.

The former British number one represented Great Britain in Fed Cup for over a decade, playing a total of 39 ties. She broke into the world’s top 50 in 2010 and amassed a total of 11 ITF titles. Nobody will ever forget the scenes at Wimbledon two summers ago when Bally found out she had gained a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games. There were tears of joy as she finally realised her lifelong ambition – to become an Olympian. Even after Bally hung up her rackets, she continued to give back to the sport she loved by setting up the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Through this legacy, her passion to support and enable young children to play and enjoy tennis will live on, and British Tennis will endeavour to finish what she started. Thank you Bally, for everything you have done, and congratulations on everything you achieved. We were so fortunate to have you be part of our sport, and we will miss you greatly. Our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time are with Bally’s husband Niño, as well as Bally’s family and close friends.

LTA Head of Women’s Tennis Iain Bates said: “Today we have lost a shining light from the heart of British tennis – a true role model, a great competitor and a wonderful friend. We have so many special memories to cherish, but this leaves a gaping hole for everybody in both British and women’s tennis, and words simply cannot express how saddened we are by this news. All our thoughts are with Niño and the rest of Elena’s family. We will miss you Bal.”

For more information on the ‘Rally for Bally’ which aims to raise funds for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, as well as the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, please click here. Thank you so much to everybody who has already kindly donated. Every penny raised will go towards supporting these incredible causes, and if you are able to donate, then please go to www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally or text EBAL60 plus the amount you would like to donate to 70070 (e.g. EBAL60 £10 to donate £10). Thank you.

Today British Tennis mourns the loss of one of our own. The news of the death of Elena Baltacha, one of the shining lights of British women’s tennis of recent generations, is devastating to everyone who has ever had the privilege to know her, play against her, or call her a friend or teammate.

It leaves a huge hole within our sport. Bally gave new meaning to the word ‘fighter.’ She fought tirelessly during her career against opposition on court, and never gave in to the struggles she endured off it. Forever remembered for her relentless determination, unbelievable drive and a will-power that never ceased to amaze us, it was a pleasure to watch Bally develop into a world class player and become an outstanding role model for everyone in the game.

With her enthusiasm, spirit and passion for life, she was a pure joy to be around, and having recently just got married to her husband Niño Severino, she was embarking on a new chapter in her life. The health issues she battled since her teenage years made what she achieved during her career all the more impressive.

The former British number one represented Great Britain in Fed Cup for over a decade, playing a total of 39 ties. She broke into the world’s top 50 in 2010 and amassed a total of 11 ITF titles. Nobody will ever forget the scenes at Wimbledon two summers ago when Bally found out she had gained a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games. There were tears of joy as she finally realised her lifelong ambition – to become an Olympian. Even after Bally hung up her rackets, she continued to give back to the sport she loved by setting up the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Through this legacy, her passion to support and enable young children to play and enjoy tennis will live on, and British Tennis will endeavour to finish what she started. Thank you Bally, for everything you have done, and congratulations on everything you achieved. We were so fortunate to have you be part of our sport, and we will miss you greatly. Our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time are with Bally’s husband Niño, as well as Bally’s family and close friends.

LTA Head of Women’s Tennis Iain Bates said: “Today we have lost a shining light from the heart of British tennis – a true role model, a great competitor and a wonderful friend. We have so many special memories to cherish, but this leaves a gaping hole for everybody in both British and women’s tennis, and words simply cannot express how saddened we are by this news. All our thoughts are with Niño and the rest of Elena’s family. We will miss you Bal.”

For more information on the ‘Rally for Bally’ which aims to raise funds for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, as well as the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, please click here. Thank you so much to everybody who has already kindly donated. Every penny raised will go towards supporting these incredible causes, and if you are able to donate, then please go to www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally or text EBAL60 plus the amount you would like to donate to 70070 (e.g. EBAL60 £10 to donate £10). Thank you.

– See more at: http://www.lta.org.uk/News/2014/April/05-05-2014/Elena-Baltacha/#sthash.X7u6N74h.dpuf

Today British Tennis mourns the loss of one of our own. The news of the death of Elena Baltacha, one of the shining lights of British women’s tennis of recent generations, is devastating to everyone who has ever had the privilege to know her, play against her, or call her a friend or teammate.

It leaves a huge hole within our sport. Bally gave new meaning to the word ‘fighter.’ She fought tirelessly during her career against opposition on court, and never gave in to the struggles she endured off it. Forever remembered for her relentless determination, unbelievable drive and a will-power that never ceased to amaze us, it was a pleasure to watch Bally develop into a world class player and become an outstanding role model for everyone in the game.

With her enthusiasm, spirit and passion for life, she was a pure joy to be around, and having recently just got married to her husband Niño Severino, she was embarking on a new chapter in her life. The health issues she battled since her teenage years made what she achieved during her career all the more impressive.

The former British number one represented Great Britain in Fed Cup for over a decade, playing a total of 39 ties. She broke into the world’s top 50 in 2010 and amassed a total of 11 ITF titles. Nobody will ever forget the scenes at Wimbledon two summers ago when Bally found out she had gained a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games. There were tears of joy as she finally realised her lifelong ambition – to become an Olympian. Even after Bally hung up her rackets, she continued to give back to the sport she loved by setting up the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Through this legacy, her passion to support and enable young children to play and enjoy tennis will live on, and British Tennis will endeavour to finish what she started. Thank you Bally, for everything you have done, and congratulations on everything you achieved. We were so fortunate to have you be part of our sport, and we will miss you greatly. Our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time are with Bally’s husband Niño, as well as Bally’s family and close friends.

LTA Head of Women’s Tennis Iain Bates said: “Today we have lost a shining light from the heart of British tennis – a true role model, a great competitor and a wonderful friend. We have so many special memories to cherish, but this leaves a gaping hole for everybody in both British and women’s tennis, and words simply cannot express how saddened we are by this news. All our thoughts are with Niño and the rest of Elena’s family. We will miss you Bal.”

For more information on the ‘Rally for Bally’ which aims to raise funds for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, as well as the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, please click here. Thank you so much to everybody who has already kindly donated. Every penny raised will go towards supporting these incredible causes, and if you are able to donate, then please go to www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally or text EBAL60 plus the amount you would like to donate to 70070 (e.g. EBAL60 £10 to donate £10). Thank you.

– See more at: http://www.lta.org.uk/News/2014/April/05-05-2014/Elena-Baltacha/#sthash.X7u6N74h.dpuf

 

The “Rally for Bally” mixed doubles exhibition matches at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Aegon International in Eastbourne are scheduled to raise money for Royal Marsden national cancer charity and Elena Baltacha Foundation.

 

http://www.wtatennis.com/players/player/932/title/elena-baltacha

 

Related Articles:

Former British No.1 Elena Baltacha Retires from Tennis

Tennis Panorama News did an interview with Baltacha back on May 28, 2013.

Baltacha’s Comeback Trail

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Switzerland, France and Italy Stage Comebacks to Clinch Berths in Davis Cup Semis

(April 6, 2014) France, Italy and the Czech Republic each had to rally from 1-2 down going into Sunday’s play in Davis Cup and each team won their final two rubbers to join the Czech Republic in the semifinals which will take place September 12-14.

France came back from a 0-2 deficit on Friday to beat Germany, closing out the tie on Sunday with wins from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils. It’s only the eighth time in Davis Cup history that a team has come back from being down two matches to none. They will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals who beat Japan 5-0.

Tsonga dominated Tobias Kamke 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Tsonga hit 45 winners in the match.

Gael Monfils sealed the win for France, beating Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-2. Monfils won the first five games of the match and shut out his opponent in the second set tiebreak.

Team Italy came into Sunday’s play down 1-2. An inspired Fabio Fognini beat Wimbledon champion Andy Murray 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to level the tie at 2-2. Andreas Seppi completed the comeback by topping James Ward 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

It will be the first time in 16 years that Italy has reached the semifinals of Davis Cup. Italy has won the Davis Cup only once, back in 1976.

Italy will face Switzerland next.

Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer won their matches on Sunday to seal Switzerland’s win over a game Kazakhstan team 3-2.

Wawrinka leveled the tie at 2-2 with Kazakhstan rallying to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 for his first point of the weekend. The Australian Open champion lost his opening singles match to Golubev and the doubles where he teamed up with Federer. The Swiss did not allow any break points during the match.

For the first time in his career, Roger Federer played a live fifth rubber in a Davis Cup tie. No. 4 Federer held back No.  64 Andrey Golubev 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-

For Switzerland, they have sealed a berth in their first Davis Cup semifinal in 11 years. They’ll play Italy at home for a chance to reach the final.

 

The nations competing in the World Group play-offs which take place the same weekend as the semifinals are:

World Group first round losing nations: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and USA.

Zone Group I second round winning nations: Brazil, Croatia, Colombia, India, Israel, Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The draw for the play-offs will take place on Tuesday.

Davis Cup Results:

WORLD GROUP QUARTERFINALS

 

CZECH REPUBLIC defeated JAPAN 5-0

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard – indoor)

 

Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 67(5) 76(5) 61 75

Lukas Rosol (CZE) d. Taro Daniel (JPN) 64 64 36 46 62

Lukas Rosol/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Tatsuma Ito/Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 64 64 64

Lukas Rosol (CZE) d. Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 63 36 64

Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Taro Daniel (JPN) 64 64

 

FRANCE defeated GERMANY 3-2

Venue: Palais des Sports Jean Weille, Nancy, FRA (hard – indoor)

 

Tobias Kamke (GER) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 76(8) 63 62

Peter Gojowczyk (GER) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 57 76(3) 36 76(8) 86

Julien Benneteau/Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Andre Begemann/Tobias Kamke (GER) 61 76(5) 46 75

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Tobias Kamke (GER) 63 62 64

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 61 76(0) 62

 

ITALY defeated GREAT BRITAIN 3-2

Venue: Tennis Club Napoli, Naples, ITA (clay – outdoor)

 

Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 26 64 61

Andy Murray (GBR) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 64 75 63

Colin Fleming/Andy Murray (GBR) d. Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) 63 62 36 75

Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Andy Murray (GBR) 63 63 64

Andreas Seppi (ITA) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 63 64

 

SWITZERLAND defeated KAZAKHSTAN 3-2

Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard – indoor)

 

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 76(5) 62 36 76(5)

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 64 64 62

Andrey Golubev/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) d. Roger Federer/Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 64 76(5) 46 76(6)

Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(4) 64 64 64

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Andrey Golubev (KAZ) 76(0) 62 63

 

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND

 

BRAZIL defeated ECUADOR 3-1

Venue: Francisco Segura Cano, Guayaquil, ECU (clay – outdoor)

 

Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) d. Julio-Cesar Campozano (ECU) 64 26 64 64

Emilio Gomez (ECU) d. Guilherme Clezar (BRA) 67(3) 64 1-1 ret.

Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) d. Gonzalo Escobar/Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 62 60 63

Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) d. Emilio Gomez (ECU) 64 67(10) 61 61

Julio-Cesar Campozano (ECU) v Guilherme Clezar (BRA) – not played

 

COLOMBIA defeated DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 4-1

Venue: Estadio de Tenis “Alvaro Carlos Jordan”, Cali, COL (clay – outdoor)

 

Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. Jose Hernandez (DOM) 62 46 64 67(3) 62

Alejandro Falla (COL) d. Victor Estrella (DOM) 46 62 57 62 62

Juan-Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL) d. Victor Estrella/Jose Hernandez (DOM) 63 62 64

Peter Bertran (DOM) d. Robert Farah (COL) 26 61 64

Juan-Sebastian Cabal (COL) d. Jose Olivares (DOM) 60 61
ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND

 

UZBEKISTAN defeated CHINA, P.R. 3-2

Venue: Tianjin Tennis Center, Tianjin, CHN (hard – outdoor)

 

Denis Istomin (UZB) d. Zhang Ze (CHN) 64 46 36 63 64

Wu Di (CHN) d. Farrukh Dustov (UZB) 16 76(4) 76(4) 36 97

Farrukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB) d. Gong Mao-Xin/Li Zhe (CHN) 64 62 62

Wu Di (CHN) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 16 75 63 75

Farrukh Dustov (UZB) d. Zhang Ze (CHN) 62 16 63 67(4) 63

 

INDIA defeated KOREA, REPUBLIC 3-1

Venue: Spo1 Tennis Courts, Busan, KOR (hard – outdoor)

 

Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Chung Hyeon (KOR) 76(4) 76(3) 64

Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) d. Sanam Singh (IND) 76(5) 64 64

Rohan Bopanna/Saketh Myneni (IND) d. Lee Hyung-Taik/Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 76(4) 57 76(2) 63

Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 64 57 63 61

Chung Hyeon (KOR) v Sanam Singh (IND) – not played

 

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND

 

CROATIA defeated POLAND 3-1

Venue: Torwar Hall, Warsaw, POL (hard – indoor)

 

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Michal Przysiezny (POL) 61 64 64

Borna Coric (CRO) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 26 62 75 57 64

Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski (POL) d. Marin Draganja/Mate Pavic (CRO) 67(1) 76(4) 46 76(2) 64

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 36 67(5) 64 61 63

Michal Przysiezny (POL) v Borna Coric (CRO) – not played

 

ISRAEL defeated SLOVENIA 3-1

Venue: SRC Marina Portoroz, SLO (clay – outdoor)

 

Amir Weintraub (ISR) d. Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 46 75 63 36 64

Blaz Rola (SLO) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 63 64 64

Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Blaz Rola/Grega Zemlja (SLO) 76(7) 46 76(5) 63

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Grega Zemlja (SLO) 62 67(5) 60 62

Blaz Rola (SLO) v Amir Weintraub (ISR) – not played

 

UKRAINE defeated SWEDEN 4-1

Venue: Baltiska Hallen, Malmo, SWE (hard – indoor)

 

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Johan Brunstrom (SWE) 64 64 57 36 1311

Artem Smirnov (UKR) d. Markus Eriksson (SWE) 64 61 62

Johan Brunstrom/Robert Lindstedt (SWE) d. Sergei Bubka/Denys Molchanov (UKR) 76(4) 67(6) 36 64 108

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Markus Eriksson (SWE) 76(5) 76(4) 64

Sergei Bubka (UKR) d. Robert Lindstedt (SWE) 57 76(3) ret.

 

SLOVAK REPUBLIC defeated AUSTRIA 4-1

Venue: Aegon Arena, National Tennis Centre, Bratislava, SVK (hard – indoor)

 

Norbert Gombos (SVK) d. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 64 36 63 64

Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) 76(3) 46 46 62 63

Martin Klizan/Michal Mertinak (SVK) d. Alexander Peya/Dominic Thiem (AUT) 67(4) 36 76(5) 64 64

Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 76(5) 75

Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Gerald Melzer (AUT) 46 63 62

 

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II SECOND ROUND

 

BARBADOS defeated EL SALVADOR 4-1

Venue: National Tennis Centre, St Michael, BAR (hard – outdoor)

 

Darian King (BAR) d. Rafael Arevalo (ESA) 61 63 63

Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) d. Haydn Lewis (BAR) 76 (5) 57 64 76(1)

Darian King/Haydn Lewis (BAR) d. Marcelo Arevalo/Rafael Arevalo (ESA) 26 64 76(9) ret.

Darian King (BAR) d. Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) 60 1-0 ret.

Seanon Williams (BAR) d. Salvador Andres Bolanos (ESA) 62 67(5) 76(8)

 

MEXICO defeated PERU 3-1

Venue: Club Britania Zavaleta, Puebla, MEX (hard – outdoor)

 

Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Mauricio Echazu (PER) 63 46 76(2) 64

Duilio Beretta (PER) d. Cesar Ramirez (MEX) 26 64 26 61 62

Santiago Gonzalez/Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Sergio Galdos/Rodrigo Sanchez (PER) 62 61 61

Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Duilio Beretta (PER) 63 76(2) 46 63

Cesar Ramirez (MEX) v Mauricio Echazu (PER) – not played

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II PLAY-OFF

 

CHILE defeated PARAGUAY 5-0

Venue: Club Palestino, Santiago, CHI (clay – outdoor)

 

Gonzalo Lama (CHI) d. Juan Borba (PAR) 63 60 61

Christian Garin (CHI) d. Gustavo Ramirez (PAR) 46 63 60 63

Jorge Aguilar/Paul Capdeville (CHI) d. Ramon Delgado/Gustavo Ramirez (PAR) 62 64 64

Jorge Aguilar (CHI) d. Juan-Carlos Ramirez (PAR) 64 62

Christian Garin (CHI) d. Juan Borba (PAR) 62 61

 

BOLIVIA defeated GUATEMALA 3-1

Venue: Country Club Cochabamba, Cochabamba, BOL (clay – outdoor)

 

Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) d. Federico Zeballos (BOL) 76(8) 76(4) 76(4)

Hugo Dellien (BOL) d. Andres Bucaro (GUA) 62 63 75

Hugo Dellien/Federico Zeballos (BOL) d. Andres Bucaro/Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) 76(3) 75 64

Hugo Dellien (BOL) d. Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) 63 36 62 46 62

Federico Zeballos (BOL) v Andres Bucaro (GUA) – not played

 

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II SECOND ROUND

 

PAKISTAN defeated PHILIPPINES 3-2

Venue: Philippine Columbian Association, Manila, PHI (clay – indoor)

 

Patrick-John Tierro (PHI) d. Aqeel Khan (PAK) 75 64 64

Ruben Gonzales (PHI) d. Samir Iftihkar (PAK) 64 63 61

Aqeel Khan/Aisam Qureshi (PAK) d. Ruben Gonzales/Treat Huey (PHI) 75 63 62

Aqeel Khan (PAK) d. Johnny Arcilla (PHI) 46 61 26 63 5-1 ret.

Aisam Qureshi (PAK) d. Patrick-John Tierro (PHI) 62 63 36 64

 

THAILAND defeated KUWAIT 4-1

Venue: The National Tennis Development Centre, Nonthaburi, THA (hard – outdoor)

 

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Abdulhameed Alshatti (KUW) 60 60 60

Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) d. Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (THA) 36 76(8) 76(4) 36 75

Pruchya Isarow/Nuttanon Kadchapanan (THA) d. Hasan Al Mousa/Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) 76(2) 75 63

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) 62 76(12) 16 61

Warit Sornbutnark (THA) d. Ali Ghareeb (KUW) 63 64

 

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II PLAY-OFF

 

SRI LANKA defeated VIETNAM 3-2

Venue: The 198 Tennis Club, Da Lat City, VIE (hard – outdoor)

 

Minh-Quan Do (VIE) d. Dineshkanthan Thangarajan (SRI) 63 64 64

Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Thien Nguyen Hoang (VIE) 62 63 62

Sharmal Dissanayake/Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Minh-Quan Do/Quoc-Khanh Le (VIE) 64 75 63

Thien Nguyen Hoang (VIE) d. Sharmal Dissanayake (SRI) 62 63 64

Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Minh-Quan Do (VIE) 63 75 60

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II SECOND ROUND

 

LITHUANIA defeated SOUTH AFRICA 3-2

Venue: Irene Country Club, Centurion, RSA (hard – outdoor)

 

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Jean Andersen (RSA) 63 76(2) 63

Rik de Voest (RSA) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 76(5) 76(3) 26 76(4)

Jean Andersen/Raven Klaasen (RSA) d. Ricardas Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 36 63 63 76(5)

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Rik de Voest (RSA) 62 64 57 75

Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Ruan Roelofse 76(5) 36 76(3) 64

 

BOSNIA/HERZEGOVINA defeated FINLAND 3-2

Venue: Tali Tennis Center, Helsinki, FIN (hard – indoor)

 

Damir Dzumhur (BIH) d. Juho Paukku (FIN) 63 76(4) 64

Mirza Basic (BIH) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 36 76(3) 36 63 86

Henri Kontinen/Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Mirza Basic/Tomislav Brkic (BIH) 63 76(4) 62

Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 75 76(1) 61

Mirza Basic (BIH) d. Juho Paukku (FIN) 36 46 63 75 64

 

MOLDOVA defeated BELARUS 4-1

Venue: Manejul de Atletica Usoara, Chisinau, MDA (clay – indoor)

 

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR) 62 62 36 62

Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) d. Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) 75 76(5) 63

Egor Gerasimov/Max Mirnyi (BLR) d. Andrei Ciumac/Andrei Gorban (MDA) 63 62 60

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 36 16 63 61 62

Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) d. Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR) 76(3) 76(2)

 

DENMARK defeated LUXEMBOURG 5-0

Venue: Hillerod Tennis Klub, DEN (hard – indoor)

 

Martin Pedersen (DEN) d. Ugo Nastasi (LUX) 64 64 61

Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Mike Scheidweiler (LUX) 63 64 57 67(5) 61

Thomas Kromann/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Gilles Kremer/Mike Scheidweiler (LUX) 46 64 57 64 62

Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Ugo Nastasi (LUX) 64 36 62

Mikael Torpegaard (DEN) d. Christophe Tholl (LUX) 62 63

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II PLAY-OFFS

 

MONACO defeated NORWAY 5-0

Venue: Oslo Tennis Arena, Oslo, NOR (hard – indoor)

 

Benjamin Balleret (MON) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 61 62 64

Romain Arneodo (MON) d. Joachim Bjerke (NOR) 76(7) 63 63

Guillaume Couillard/Thomas Oger (MON) d. Stian Boretti/Erling Tveit (NOR) 62 64 63

Benjamin Balleret (MON) d. Joachim Bjerke (NOR) 76(5) 64

Romain Arneodo (MON) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 61 62

 

BULGARIA defeated GREECE 4-1

Venue: Ilioupoli Tennis Club, Athens, GRE (clay – outdoor)

 

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d. Markos Kalovelonis (GRE) 63 63 60

Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Theodoros Angelinos (GRE) 64 63 16 63

Grigor Dimitrov/Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Alexandros Jakupovic/Markos Kalovelonis (GRE) 76(4) 62 64

Alexandros Jakupovic (GRE) d. Dinko Halachev (BUL) 76(2) 61

Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Charalampos Kapogiannis (GRE) 57 60 61

 

IRELAND defeated EGYPT 3-2

Venue: Castleknock Tennis Club, Dublin, IRL (hard – indoor)

 

James McGee (IRL) d. Karim-Mohamed Maamoun (EGY) 60 63 62

Mohamed Safwat (EGY) d. Sam Barry (IRL) 36 75 75 76(5)

Sam Barry/James Cluskey (IRL) d. Sherif Sabry/Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 62 76(6) 62

James McGee (IRL) d. Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 75 64 63

Mazen Osama (EGY) d. Daniel Glancy (IRL) 76(4) 76(5)

 

MOROCCO defeated CYPRUS 4-1

Venue: Complexe Sportif Al Amal, Casablanca, MAR (clay – outdoor)

 

Sergis Kyratzis (CYP) d. Hicham Khaddari (MAR) 26 62 61 75

Lamine Ouahab (MAR) d. Petros Chrysochos (CYP) 63 64 64

Lamine Ouahab/Mehdi Ziadi (MAR) d. Petros Chrysochos/Rares Cuzdriorean (CYP) 76(6) 61 36 46 64

Lamine Ouahab (MAR) d. Sergis Kyratzis (CYP) 60 60 60

Ayoub Chakrouni (MAR) d. Constantinos Ioannides (CYP) 63 62

 

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Murray Beats Querrey to Send Great Britain to the Davis Cup Quarterfinals

IMG_9611

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

 

(February 2, 2014) SAN DIEGO – With the Americans’ place in the 2014 Davis Cup World Group on the line, Sam Querrey ran neck and neck with Andy Murray today.  Unfortunately, he only kept pace with the 2-time major champion for two sets. Of those, he won just one. Therein lies the story of the match.  After a valiant effort, Querrey succumbed 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-3 in 2 hours and 54 minutes at Petco Park In San Diego.  Such is the challenge of playing against a member of the modern game’s “Big Four.”

 

“I had some ups and downs definitely,” Querrey said reflecting on the weekend. “Still bummed I lost that first one…but I’m proud of myself for putting it behind me and coming out strong today.” While Querrey was miles more competitive today than he managed to be on Friday versus James Ward, his loss clinched the tie for Great Britain.

 

Andy Murray, all but singlehandedly wiping the negative recent history of British tennis, guaranteed his side their first berth in the World Group quarterfinals for 28 years.  For your reference, Murray is 26 years old.

 

Despite the loss, US captain Jim Courier found positives in his team’s performance.  “We kept our heads together,” he said.  “I was proud of Sam and the way he competed.  I think Donald (Young) got some valuable experience…. Of Course Bob and Mike (Bryan) did that they do so well, which is compete hard and typically get us the win.”

 

Despite the unpredictable way in which the tie ultimately played out: Isner’s injury, Querrey’s flat opening performance and two ruthless displays by Murray, one questionable call may have played a major part in writing the final script, the Americans’ choice of a red clay surface.  Courier defended the choice at every turn throughout the week, pointing to strong prior performances by his squad on the terre battue. For his part at least, Murray was skeptical, “I was surprised they put it on clay, to be honest,” he said, even noting that the surface may have been helped Britain to victory.  “Yeah, obviously, it did have a bearing in the tie, for Sam especially.  I think his best surface is hard courts….I don’t know if they thought I wasn’t going to play because I had problems on clay last year with my back and coming off surgery.  So I don’t know”

 

Oddly enough, the road for the advancing team, Great Britain, on paper at least, becomes presumably easier than that for the losing American squad.  The Brits will play their next World Group tie away versus an Italian team headlined by Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini.  The United States, in falling to the World Group playoffs for the first time since 2010, could potentially face three teams headlined by major champions: (Spain, Serbia and Argentina) or our surging neighbor to the north, Canada, just to stay in the World Group for 2015.

 

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

Murray’s not quite thinking about the next tie just yet.  Still in the midst of recovery, the Dunblane native is still working his way back to playing his best ball.  “I’m proud of the way I’m playing just now because I had to do a lot of work to get back to where I wanted to be,” said Murray. “I’m still not quite there yet, but winning matches of that length and quality so soon after the surgery is good.”

With a tough challenge behind him and Murray’s mood lightening, he added “I’ll have done 13 weeks consecutively without a break of training and I’m playing tournaments to try and get myself back.  I need a break now, so I’ll take some days off after I get home, because I deserve it.”

 

Related articles:

Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

Teams On The Edge

 

 

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Teams On The Edge

Courier and Bryans

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(February 1, 2014) SAN DIEGO – With the Southern California sun finally making an appearance and a partisan crowd finally making their presence both seen and heard, it was clearly a new day in this US vs. Great Britain Davis Cup World Group tie.  Nonetheless, the American team was still haunted by yesterday’s failures at Petco Park in San Diego.

 

For a doubles pairing that had just kept the American side alive in this Davis Cup, the Bryan Brothers were in no mood for celebrating—or even smiling—about their win today, neither was US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier.  The Bryans raised their record as a team to 21-4 in the competition on the back of a decisive 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Dominic Inglot and Colin Fleming. Yet, it was clear from the beginning of their press conference that the twins had other things on their minds.

 

“Always feels bad to let the team down,” Bob said.  He was responding to the first question raised.  While the query was about winning this match following two uncharacteristic, five-set Davis Cup losses a season ago, Bryan’s allusion wasn’t lost on anyone.  Bob was as much referencing the still-stinging memories of their 2013 Davis Cup campaign as he was yesterday’s upset loss by Sam Querrey at the hands of James Ward.

 

The Bryans had little mercy on their opponents today, avenging their teammate’s defeat by drawing 45 forced errors from the British pair in a match that didn’t reach the two-hour mark.  Their only hiccup, a loose game on Bob’s serve in the third set, that cost the USA a straight sets triumph. “I think they just take it to you every time,” said Inglot about his opponents. “They always ask a question of you and they’re never going to give you any free points.” “The match can rush away from you,” Fleming added.  “When we got behind in sets, it can become a blur against them.”

 

As uncharitable as the Bryans were on-court, Courier matched in the pressroom.  When asked about Querrey’s chances of springing an upset of 2-time major champion Andy Murray tomorrow, Courier fired with little hesitation, “He’s going to have to play significantly better than he did yesterday to stand a chance.” The British squad, while realistic, wasn’t taking anything for granted.  When asked about Andy Murray’s chances against a player who had just suffered a disappointing loss, another thinly veiled reference to Querrey, British captain Leon Smith stifled the rumor of a smile breaking out on his face and replied “Very good.  Yeah, very good.”

Vito Ellison is in San Diego, California covering the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Great Britain for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on the site’s twitter @TennisNewsTPN, on his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

Related articles:

Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

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Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

James Ward

James Ward

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(January 31, 2014) SAN DIEGO – “Yeah, from London, Arsenal fan, see myself as a pretty normal bloke,” that’s how James Ward described himself to the assembled press following what was a rather abnormal moment in his career.  On a temporary red clay court constructed in the outfield of a baseball field, 175th ranked James Ward stunned No. 49 Sam Querrey 1-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in 3 hours and 10 minutes at Petco Park in San Diego.

 

Querrey opened the match in ominous form.  Although he only served 52% in the frame, he stormed to a 6-1 lead in 26 minutes.  This US Davis Cup team’s alpha male was doing the expected versus a presumably outmatched opponent and without much help from his most vaunted weapon.  Asked about moving on from that first set in his post match presser, Ward deadpanned “I thought I couldn’t play much worse than I did in the first set anyway.”

 

With Ward unable to inflict much scoreboard pressure early, he waited for his chances, fully knowing that the situation should ultimately reward him with a few. “They’re one rubber down,” Ward noted. “He’s expected to beat me on paper.  He’s not in an easy position.” After splitting the first six games of the second set though, it looked as if Querrey were about to re-establish his authority on the match. Ward engineered an unlikely comeback from 0-40 down on his serve to hold for 4-3 on serve.  The set went to a tiebreak and it was in that pressure cooker that the big-serving Californian first lost his grip on the match.

 

Sam Querrey

Sam Querrey

It was a topsy turvy affair for the next two sets, Querrey opening the 3rd set strongly, riding newfound momentum to a 6-3 win, backed up by a 4-2 lead in the 4th.  From there, with the expectations shifted back to Querrey, the American, up two sets to one, with a break in the fourth, would only win one more game.  “You know, I think he started to gain some momentum and get some reads on my serve,” Querrey said reflecting on the match.  “You know, kudos to him for making some big shots in the latter part of the match.”

 

The crowd, which had largely been out of the matches all afternoon, in part thanks to Andy Murray’s suffocating victory over Donald Young in the first rubber, began desperately cheering for Querrey to right the ship, but to no avail.  The American No. 1 found himself in a fifth set, a place where he had a 2-7 record; in Davis Cup where he had a 4-6 record.  He wouldn’t improve any of those numbers tonight and his loss leaves the Americans with yet another stat line to try to reverse, 0-2.  The Americans are down 0-2 to Great Britain and will begin trying to take the long road back, starting with the Bryan Brothers tomorrow.  With Murray up next for Querrey, it’ll be the American’s turn to play with no expectations.

 

Vito Ellison is in San Diego, California covering the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Great Britain for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on the site’s twitter @TennisNewsTPN, on his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

Related article:

Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

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Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

Donald Young

Donald Young

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(January 31, 2014) SAN DIEGO – Donald Young and Andy Murray exist on two different planes of the tennis universe; they left the court Saturday afternoon showing just how far apart they are.  Dunblane’s favorite son, a champion on the fast courts of the US Open and Wimbledon, looked quite at home on the slow, by his words “slippery” red clay court in the outfield of Petco Park.  Murray dismissed his less-heralded American opponent 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 in just an hour and 38 minutes.

 

The combatants played the first two games on the match on near-even terms, though Murray would end both occasions the victor.  From there, with the exception of some brief signs of life from Young in the third set, the gulf only widened. “I’ve seen [Murray] do that to a lot of guys,” said Young “So I don’t feel quite as bad…it’s just rough.”

 

With Friday’s victory, Murray increased his winning streak in Davis Cup to 17 consecutive singles matches.  Across the net, Young admitted to feeling nerves in his first outing for the USA.  “Everything seemed like it was in hyperspeed,” Young said, “it was tough for me, but I’m happy I got through it.”

 

A matchup against Murray would have been tough enough under neutral circumstances, but the World No. 6 has some extra motivation coming into this year’s event. “I’ve never started a year in Davis Cup when you could actually win the competition, so this year it’s obviously a little bit different,” Murray pointed out. “I mean, every time I’ve played Davis Cup, I’ve enjoyed it; I’ve played well…it’s not like when I’ve played I just haven’t been motivated. It’s a different mindset, coming in and being in the main competition and being able to actually win it. I’m excited this year.”

 

Murray is giving Great Britain his complete commitment to winning, at minimum, this tie at least versus the Americans.  In addition to the two singles matches, Murray is scheduled to suit up alongside Colin Fleming in the doubles tomorrow.  The British pair will take on fifteen-time major champions Bob and Mike Bryan.

 

Young will have to wait until Sunday for his shot at Davis Cup redemption.  There will be no less pressure though, he could be tapped to play a decisive fifth rubber versus James Ward. For his part, Young is looking forward to the challenge. “I’ll never have this problem again, this feeling of the first time.  I’m looking forward to Sunday if need be,” Young said.  “If I’m needed, I’m definitely looking forward to playing and I’ll feel a lot better and a lot more confident….”

Vito Ellison is in San Diego, California covering the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Great Britain for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on the site’s twitter @TennisNewsTPN, on his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

Related articles:

Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

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Former British No.1 Elena Baltacha Retires from Tennis

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Elena Baltacha photo by James Jordan Photography

(November 18, 2013) Great Britain’s Elena Baltacha announced her retirement from tennis on Monday. She released the following statement:

 

“It just feels it’s the right time. My body has taken such a bruising over the last 16 years and that’s finally taken its toll. I have had some amazing experiences through playing tennis – some incredible highs and some very low lows – and I wouldn’t change any of them but now my mind and my body are telling me it’s time to move on to a new phase of my life.

 

“I still absolutely love tennis and I want to take that passion and put it into learning to be the best coach I can be so that I can take all my experiences as a player and use that to help develop the next generation of British tennis players. I am very committed to my Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis (EBAT), which I started with my coach Nino Severino. We believe that no matter what background you are from, that all children, rich or poor, should have the opportunity to play tennis. Hopefully we’ll produce a champion one day.

 

“There are lots of people for me to thank. Firstly I want to thank all the tennis fans because they’ve been amazing to me through the years, supporting me through my success and been there through the lowest moments of my career. They have been simply brilliant.

 

“There are also lots of people in ‘Team Bally’ who have played an important part in my career:

 

“My coach Nino – thank you so much for believing in me when I didn’t! For picking me up off my knees and letting me lean on you when I wasn’t strong enough and teaching me how to become a true professional and a true competitor.

 

“Judy Murray and Louis Cayer – Judy, for being such an inspirational lady. I can’t tell you how much of an honour it was to play for such a brilliant Fed Cup captain. Louis, you are simply a genius.

 

“Everyone at the LTA – Leon Smith, Iain Bates, Jeremy Bates and all the physios and sports scientists who have always given me such brilliant support.

 

“Everyone at AEGON for their support, and at Yonex for making me feel so special in your clothes and when playing with your rackets.

 

“My team – Alasdair Jones, Ben Haining, Vicky Solomon, Jamie Friend, Caroline Tronson, Pete Tuffrey, Eleanor Preston, Lindsay Farish-Carradice and Anna Sheppard. Thank you for the honesty when I didn’t want to hear it, for not jumping off when it got a bit rough and for being special people.

 

“My family – who have supported me through everything, but most importantly my Mum. Thank you for introducing me to tennis 24 years ago in our back garden in Ipswich and for sacrificing most of your life to allow me to follow my dream of one day being a professional tennis player.”

 

 

The 30-year-old Baltacha broke into the top 50 in 2010 with wins over Li Na and Francesca Schiavone. She reached the third round of the Australian Open twice (in 2005 and 2010) and the third round of Wimbledon (in 2002). She also won 11 International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles titles, most recently the Aegon Trophy in Nottingham in June this year.

Despite being diagnosed at 19 with chronic liver condition primary sclerosing cholangitis, she still had a successful tennis career.

 

She is the highest ranked female singles player Scotland has ever produced. She also represented Great Britain in 39 Fed Cup ties in 12 consecutive years (2002-2013) as well as being a member of the Great Britain’s team at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

 

Related story:

Baltacha’s Comeback Trail

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Michael Downey Named LTA Chief Executive

 

(September 24, 2013) The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has appointed Michael Downey as its new Chief Executive.

Downey has been President and CEO of Tennis Canada for the past 9 years Canada reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas.

Before his post at Tennis Canada, Downey held a series of executive positions including regional president for Canada’s largest brewery, Molson Canada.

“This is a huge privilege for me, at a fantastic time for British tennis,” Downey said. “We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us, and it is an honour to be able to lead the work of the LTA in getting more people playing tennis.”

Downey begins his position on January 6th 2014 and will relocate to the UK.

Downey replaces Roger Draper, who leaves the LTA at the end of this month after more than seven years.  During the interim period, the LTA’s Chief Operating Officer, Nick Humby, will lead the Executive.

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Ward Rallies Past Tursunov to even tie with Russia 2-2

 

By Ros Satar

James Ward [GBR] def. Dmitry Tursunov [RUS] 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

 

(April 7, 2013) COVENTRY, England – After facing the press on Friday in utter desolation, British No. 2, James Ward, rallied against a sometimes agitated Tursunov to bring GB level with Russia.

 

After starting so impressively against Evgeny Donskoy, only to lose in five sets from being two sets and a break up, there was a lot of pressure on Ward’s thin shoulders.

 

If any nerves were evident on Ward’s side, he hid them well, banging down two aces a-piece, as the first five games went with serve.

 

The first sign of frailty appeared on Tursunov’s serve, taken to deuce twice in successive serves.

 

It paid off for Ward as he needed just one break point to edge ahead 5-4, before topping off the first set with a hold to love.

 

The games were going tightly with serve in the second set.

 

At times Tursunov seemed just a little slow and Ward struggled to get into Tursunov’s service games, letting two break points go, at 5-5.

 

It was Ward’s turn for fraying nerves, starting with a double fault, while serving to stay in the set, and ending with a netted cross-court forehand to hand Russia the second set 7-5.

 

British hopes were raised with an early break in the first game of the third set, only for Tursunov to break straight back.

 

A stream of errors from Ward gave Tursunov a second break in the third set, to leave Ward coming out to stay in the set at 2-5.

 

Ward was rewarded for his tenacity by breaking Tursunov in the next game to put himself back on serve.

 

Despite that, Ward found himself having to save break points on his next two serves.

 

Tursunov turned up the pace, aided and abetted with another error-strewn game by Ward, to take the third set 7-5.

 

Ward started the brighter in the fourth set breaking early, and Tursunov picked up a code violation as he started to get annoyed with the crowd.

 

Ward just needed the one set point as Tursunov netted forehand return to even the match and take the rubber into a deciding set.

 

Ward got a break to lead 3-2, courtesy of a Tursunov double fault on break point, after a long rally where the Russian sent a forehand flying long.

 

Just keeping his nose ahead, the Brit was only taken to deuce once on his serve, before coming out to serve for the match at 5-4.

 

To the watching crowd’s delight, Ward held his final serve to 15, finishing with an ace to go from zero to hero.

 

Ward said: “It would have been very tough to take 2 5-set losses in a weekend.

 

“If anything it’s even more pleasing beating Tursunov, who I’ve lost to twice in the past”

 

Team captain, Leon Smith had been reiterating the same advice, to serve out wide to the Russian unless he started to read the serve.

 

And Ward was happy to acknowledge the captain’s belief in him.

 

He said: “I’m grateful to him for the opportunity to play again and show heart and desire and everything that he wanted this weekend, and I think I showed it.”

 

Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her on twitter at @rfsatar.

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Great Britain Wins Doubles Rubber Over Russia in Davis Cup

 

Fleming/Marray [GBR] def. Baluda/Kunitsyn [RUS] 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

By Ros Satar

(April 6, 2013) COVENTRY, England – The British team were always the favorites to win this doubles rubber, and Jonny Marray and Colin Fleming did not disappoint.

 

The British pair, ranked 16th and 28th respectively, were counting on a win, to give the British team any hope at all of salvaging the second round Europe /Africa zone Group 1 tie, after two crushing 5-set defeats on the first day.

 

Victor Baluda (doubles ranking of 440) and Igor Kunitsyn (439) would be facing the British team, although there had been some speculation that Dmitry Tursunov would replace Baluda.

 

After some tentative serves into the lights, Marray kicked off his Davis Cup debut with a strong hold.

 

The Russians may be ranked some 400 places below the Brits, but were already exhibiting some good tagging shots, especially coming from Kunitsyn.

 

First blood went to the Brits, breaking Kunitsyn to take an early lead.

 

With another break, this time against Baluda on the third break point, the Brits took the first set, in just under half an hour.

 

The first break of the second set came even earlier, again on Kunitsyn’s serve, but the Russians stayed in contention, when Kunitsyn held for the first time since the match began, as the Brits maintained a single break margin.

 

Fleming came out to hold, with an overhead smash from Marray sealing the second set 6-4.

 

The final set could not have started worse for Russian pair, with Baluda being broken in the first game, followed by Kunitsyn in the next service game.

 

The crispness that they had started to display in the second set deserted them, and although they got two games on the board, they never took the British pair to deuce on any serve.

 

Fleming came out to serve for the match, and although the Russian pair saved one of the match points, an ace nailed the win.

 

After the match, Marray described how he’d felt his debut had gone:

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of, to get the opportunity to represent your country, it’s fantastic.”

 

For Fleming, it was his eighth Davis Cup win in a row.

“It’s something to be proud of, but in tennis and life you’ve got to keep pushing forward,” he said.

 

“It’s all about focusing on what the team needs to do and my aim when it comes to DC, is to play one of those matches in the World group.

“It would be a special occasion and I’ve not managed to do that.”

 

There was a nice touch on the on-court interview, as Colin Fleming dedicated the win to Davis Cup team-mate Ross Hutchins, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

 

He is over half way through his chemotherapy and the initial results show the treatment is working.

 

Later in press, Leon Smith and Colin Fleming described how Ross had spent hours watching and analyzing the Russian team.

 

Fleming said: “It’s great that he’s still involved in the team.

“I know Ross has got big plans to play again, and I’m sure he’ll be part of the team again in the future.”

 

Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her on twitter at @rfsatar.

Day 2 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 second round results:

Russia leads Great Britain 2-1

Rubber 1 – D. Tursunov (RUS) d. D. Evans (GBR) 64 67(5) 64 57 64

Rubber 2 – E. Donskoy (RUS) d. J. Ward (GBR) 46 46 75 64 86

Rubber 3 – C.Fleming/J.Marray (GBR) d. V.Baluda/I.Kunitsyn (RUS) 61 64 62

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