TENNIS – Davis Cup 2014. Italy took the lead after Fognini beat Ward in the first rubber in four sets with 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 after heavy rain postponed the match by two hours. The second match was suspended because of bad light as Murray was leading 6-4 5-5 against Seppi. Murray saved four set points at 4-5 in the second set. The match will be resumed on Saturday morning at 10.30 local time. Diego Sampaolo
Word Number 13 Fabio Fognini gave Italy the early 1-0 lead after clinching a tough match in four sets with 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 after a two-hour delay due to heavy rain which made the clay court very slow. .
Fognini went down a break to fall behind 0-3 in the early stages of the match but recovered from a sluggish start to break back at 3-3 before breaking serve again to clinch the first set. Ward, who won against Sam Querrey in the first round match against the USA in San Diego, broke early in the second set and went on to play a consistent second set against a struggling Fognini. Ward broke again with a drop-shot to take the second set.
Fognini took a medical time-out to treat his injured rib. The Italian broke serve early in the third set as Ward hit wide. Fognini faced a series of break points during the third set but he managed to hold serve before serving out for the set.
Fognini got a early break in the fourth set before sealing a easy win with a drop volley on his first match point for 6-1 after three hours and nine minutes.
“I feel a bit tired. I had a week off after Miami. Everything is going to be in the right way”, said Fognini.
If Fognini is fit, he could team up with Simone Bolelli in tomorrow’s doubles match.
Andy Murray and Andreas Seppi started their second rubber at 17.40 local time. They were aware that they were unlikely to finish their match before sunset.
The match was balanced until the seventh game when Murray got the break in the seventh game to lead 4-3 before closing out the first set with a forehand pass.
Seppi got the break at the fourth opportunity to take a 4-2 lead but Murray broke straight back in the following game. The Scotsman could not convert on three break point chances at 4-4 before it was decided that there would be one more game
Murray served to stay in the set at 4-5 as light was fading. Murray saved four set points with a volley to draw level to level to 5-5 in a long and dramatic game before the match was suspended.
Murray and Seppi will resume the match on Saturday morning. The Scotsman could play his second match in the crucial doubles match if he will be chosen to team up with Colin Fleming.
“First and foremost we have got to get Andy focused to finish the job against Seppi. I twill be a difficult challenge but I think that Andy is in the driving seat. Once the match is finished we will a discussion with Andy and the rest of the team to see what we can do with the doubles, said British captain Leon Smith
Switzerland vs Kazakhstan 1-1
The winner of the Naples match will play against either Switzerland or Kazakhstan in next September’s semifinal. Switzerland was the favourite on the eve of the match held indoors in the Palexpo in Geneva but the Davis Cup often provides surprises .
The match between 2014 Australian Open champion Stanislas Warinka and Andrey Golubev was the example that everything can happen in the Davis Cup and ranking do not matter too much.
The Kazakh player gave a surprising early lead after taking an upset win over Wawrinka in four sets with 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5).
Wawrinka saved two match points in the 12th game of the fourth set. In the tie-break Golubev took a 6-2 lead but Wawrinka managed to save three more break points before the Kazakh player converted his sixth match point after 3 hours and 14 minutes to win for the second time in four head-to-head matches against Wawrinka.
Wawrinka converted on just one of his 10 break points and made 70 unforced errors.
“There is always a lot of pressure when you play at home and for your country but it’s part of our game and you have to deal with that. I am expecting to play better omorrow in the doubles. I started a little bit tight. When I am in this position, I know that I don’t move so well. He was playing really aggressive and I did not find a way to to turn the match”, said Wawrinka
Roger Federer kept Swiss hopes alive by drawing level with a three-set win over Mickail Kukushkin with 6-4 6-4 6-2 in less than two hours to the relief of the 15000 Swiss fans who packed the Geneva Indoor arena Federer got the break in the tenth game for 6-4 in both the first and the second set The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who is bidding to win his first Davis Cup, broke serve in the second game to take a 3-0 lead in the third set. He broke sere in the final game to clinch the third set 6-2. Federer capitalized on four of his nine break points and did not face a break point chance.
Federer and Wawrinka are expected to team up for Saturday’s match against teh Kazakh team which may feature Golubev and either Aleksander Nedovyesov or Evgeny Korolev.
“I trust Stan that he is going to be fit and healthy and fighting till the end. It was unfortunate for his match but I think that Golubev played a good match in good indoor conditions for him”, said Federer.
The Swiss team is bidding to reach the first semifinal since 2004.
Japan vs Czech Republic 0-2
Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol gave defending champions from Czech Republic a comfortable 2-0 lead against Japan in Tokyo. Japan is missing their best player Kei Nishikori who is nursing a groin injury.
Radek Stepanek rallied from a set down to edge Tatsuma Ito with 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 7-5. Lukas Rosol overcame a tough match against Taro Daniel in five se ts with 6-4 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2
Davic Cup hero Radek Stepanek will team up with Jiri Vezely in Saturday’s double match against Yasutaka Uchiyama and Tatsuma Ito
Is Covid-19 Just An Excuse To Axe The 2020 Davis Cup Finals?
The decision to cancel the team event five months before it was set to start may be more complex than what officials are letting on.
On Friday the International Tennis Federation issued a statement to confirm that their two premier tennis team events will not be taking place this year.
The Davis Cup and Fed Cup tournaments have been delayed until 2021 due to the global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Davis Cup, it is only the 12th time in history a season has ended without a champion being decided since its birth in 1900 and the first since 1945. The teams that have qualified for the week-long finals this year will instead have to wait until November 2021 to battle it out for the title.
“This is a tough decision to have to make, but delivering an international team event on this scale while guaranteeing the health and safety of all involved ultimately poses too great a risk,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement. “It is a complex undertaking and we have made the decision now to provide certainty for players, national associations and fans.”
There are however some questions over why the ITF has made this announcement five months before the start of the tournament. Especially when both the ATP and WTA Tours are set to restart in August. Furthermore Madrid, where this year’s finals were scheduled to take place, will still host their premier combined event at the Caja Magica in September.
“It’s the inconsistencies that I find tedious. Two months before the Davis Cup was meant to be playing we are playing at the same venue in Madrid for the masters. In regards to the crowds there seemed to be a fair bit of social distancing at this event last year,” John Millman wrote on Twitter.
It appears that there could be a more substantial financial reason to postpone the Kosmos-backed event. Investment company Kosmos was founded by Gerard Pique and has pledged millions into the Davis Cup in a deal to help revamp it. French newspaper L’Equipe have quoted sources reporting that the event lost an astonishing 50 million euros in 2019, which was the first year where the new format took place. Furthermore, it has been reported that the decision to scrap November’s event will help save 18 million euros.
Furthermore, one senior figure at Tennis Canada has suggested that Pique had tried to do everything he could to prevent the tournament from taking place. Louis Borfiga, who serves as his country’s Vice President of High Performance, said he believes there has been no meetings with the federations prior to Friday’s announcement.
“While everyone is doing everything possible to try to replay, I have the impression that Piqué did everything to prevent the Davis Cup from taking place this year,” he said in a separate interview with L’Equipe.
“ They (Kosmos leaders) put forward health reasons, I hope they are the right ones. They are going to have the right role. There is nothing we can say about health.”
“When I read the official press release, I am surprised by one thing. It is Piqué who speaks first, and the president of the ITF (David Haggerty) after. That too is shocking.” He added.
Borfiga is not alone in this view. Back in March tennis player Nicola Mahut criticised Pique for not being more optimistic about holding the finals this year. The Spaniard had previously said he was ‘pessimistic’ about having the event without fans.
“The message he sent through his statements is: ” If Madrid is complicated and we cannot do it, well it will be cancelled and he will save some money.” Mahut commented.
According to Diario AS, the Madrid economy will lose in the region of 50 million euros due to the finals not being held. Furthermore, it is estimated that 600 jobs would have been created to support the running of the tournament from start to finish.
Gerard Pique’s Pessimistic Davis Cup Outlook Blasted By French Tennis Star
The football player has been urged to ‘put more energy’ in finding a solution for the event to take place in 2020.
Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has come under fire over his plans for the Davis Cup Finals later this year after recently casting doubt on the event taking place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Pique, whose company helped finance the transformation of the 120-year-old team competition, recently admitted that he was doubtful that the event could go ahead if crowds weren’t allowed to attend. Last year was the first time the new format of the competition took place with 18 teams featuring in a week-long round-robin tournament which was won by host nation Spain.
“I’m a bit pessimistic, to have the Davis Cup with no fans is difficult,” Pique told Movistar.
“There is a lot of uncertainty. We are listening to what the sport’s ministry and the government are telling us about whether we’ll have the ability to have fans.”
All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended since March due to the Pandemic. Officials are hoping to be able to get the sport going again in August ahead of the US Open that is scheduled to take place. Although some have doubts about the chances of the Tour’s starting by then, including world No.43 John Millman.
Amid the ongoing uncertainty, French tennis star Nicolas Mahut has criticized Pique’s bleak outlook for this year’s Davis Cup finale. The 38-year-old has represented his country in 13 ties, including the 2018 final as well as the semifinals in two other years.
“We don’t have a lot of information. But as a player, you can just trust the official statements. And when I hear Pique, I’m extremely disappointed,” Mahut told L’Equipe.
Mahut has called on Pique to explore more options such as potentially relocating the event to another country if it would make it safer for the event to go ahead. Implying that he was his duty to do so after setting ‘to destroy the formula’ of the event. Critics of the revamp have accused Pique of ruining the traditional competition.
“I would like him to put as much energy into saving the Davis Cup that he has set up. That is to say, to find solutions for it to take place in Madrid or elsewhere, as he has set to destroy the formula that had been in place for over a hundred years,” he said,
“The message he sent through his statements, is: ” If Madrid is complicated and we cannot do it, well it cancels and I save some money. ” And it bothers me a lot compared to what has happened for more than a year. We don’t play with this competition. Maybe that suits it.”
Kosmos has signed a $3 billion 25-year deal with the ITF to acquire the rights for the Davis Cup Finals.
Davis Cup Finals In Doubt, Admits Gerard Pique
The Kosmos founder explains why he isn’t too optimistic about the team event going ahead later this year.
The chances of this year’s Davis Cup Finals taking place are still up in the air with one of the key figures involved in the competition openly saying that he is ‘pessimistic’ about its chances.
Football star Gerard Pique is one the driving forces behind the new format following a huge financial investment from his company Kosmos. Signing a 25-year deal with the International Tennis Federation worth in the region of $3 billion. Despite the significant investment, Pique admits that he has low hopes of the event taking place later this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All professional tennis tournaments have been halted since March.
“There is a lot of uncertainty, we try to be aware of what the government says regarding sports and to whether we can put spectators inside the Caja Magica,” Pique said during an interview with Movistar.
“I would say I am a bit pessimistic, because a Davis Cup without fans is difficult.
“I think that nobody at the moment has the certainty that we can put fans in or if it will have to be behind closed doors. As the days go by, I suppose we will have a little more clarity.”
Spain is currently in the process of relaxing some of their lockdown restrictions with tennis players being able to train at local facilities from next week. The country is following a four-stage plan with the hope that their premier La Liga football league will resume next month at some stage.
However, the issue for the Davis Cup is the limited number of fans that would be able to go to the tournament if it takes place. In more advanced stages of the plans, no more than 50 people can attend an indoor venue. Although the number could be increased by November, it will be a stark difference to 2019. Held at the Caja Magica, the total capacity of the premier court is 12,500 people.
Last year’s final saw Spain lift the title for the first time since 2011 after they defeated Canada in the final. The two teams are seeded third and sixth in this year’s draw.
The Davis Cup is scheduled to take place between November 23-29 in Madrid. The ATP, WTA and ITF will not restart their Tour’s until at least July 13th, however, there is speculation that the suspension will be extended in the coming weeks.
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