Davis Cup: Team GB to take on Australia as the Belgians to battle the Argentines - UBITENNIS
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Davis Cup: Team GB to take on Australia as the Belgians to battle the Argentines

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TENNIS – Andy Murray rallied from a set and a break down in the Davis Cup quarter final match against last year’s finalist from France to edge Frenchman Giles Simon 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 6-0 to earn the British team the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time in 34 years. Australia fought back from 0-2 down to edge Kazakhstan 3-2. Diego Sampaolo

 

Murray gave the home team the 3-1 lead on grass at the Queen’s Club where he won the ATP 500 title last June. The Scotsman won his match against Jo Wilfred Tsonga 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-2 after saving three set points to bring Great Britain level to 1-1 on Friday and the doubles match with his brother Jamie with 4-6 6-3 7-5 (7-1) 6-1 over Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Nicolas Mahut. In the opening match on Friday Simon beat James Ward 6-4 6-4 6-1

Great Britain has reached the Davis Cup semifinal for the first time since 1981. The British team will play against Australia on 18-20 September.

Simon hit a forehand winner down the line to break serve for 2-1 Simon hurt his knee in a fall but he served out the set after saving two break points. Murray went down a set and a break and came close to losing the second set after losing a hard-fought 35-shot rally but he recovered to break back to draw level to 4-4 and forced the set to the tie-break. Simon took a 4-1 lead in the second-set tie-break but Murray fought back with a backhand and two volleys to reel off five of the next six points to earn a set point at 6-5 before clinching the set with a big serve after 74 minutes.

Murray hit a big serve to seal the set before taking a 3-0 lead in the third set with a double break. Simon broke back but Murray broke again for 5-3 en route to 6-3. Murray broke early in the fourth set for 2-0 to cruise to 6-0 in the fourth set after three hours and 26 minutes. Simon received treatment on his left ankle after slipping on the court.

“The whole weekend has been fantastic. This team has done amazing things. We are punching above our weight here. We are in the semifinals of the biggest competition in tennis. I am just proud to get here and hopefully we can do well against Australia next September. It obviously feels unbelievable to get through that. It wasn’t looking great in the second set. I just managed to find a way and used up all my last ounces of energy. We went through a period where we had Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski were two top-ten players and we never won a World Group match, so that shows you how difficult it is to do”, said Murray.

Lleyton Hewitt beat Aleksander Nedovyesov 7-6(2) 6-2 6-3 to give Australia the decisive 3-2 point against Kazakhstan. Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis were replaced by Australian captain Willy Masur with Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth after losing the first two singles matches on Friday. The decision paid off at the end. Groth beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 7-6(6) 4-6 7-6(6) after the Kazakh player did not convert set point in the second and the fourth sets in the two tie-breaks.

Hewitt teamed up with Sam Groth to win the doubles match on Saturday over Andrey Golubev and Aleksander Nedovyesov with 6-4 7-6(4) 6-2 before earning the Australian team the two decisive points which enabled Australia to come back from 0-2 down to take a 3-2 win.

It was the first time since the 1939 Davis Cup final against the United States in 1939 that Australia has rallied from 0-2 down to win a match in this event. Australia returns to the Davis Cup semifinals after nine years.

“I have said some of the greatest wins have been in Davis Cup and some of my toughest losses”, said Hewitt

Belgium has reached the semifinal for the first time since 1999. Ruben Bemelmans and Kimmer Coppejans beat Daniel Nestor and Adil Shamasdin 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-3 in Ostend to earn Belgium the 3-0 lead.

Belgium will play against Argentina at home. The South-American sealed a 3-0 win against Serbia after Carlos Berloq and Leonardo Mayer cruised past to 6-2 6-4 6-1 over Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki

 

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New British No.1 Cameron Norrie Inspired By Compatriot Raducanu

The Indian Wells champion believes Raducanu’s triumph will trigger a new generation of players in the country.

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Cameron Norrie ad Indian Wells 2021 (Credits: @BNPPARIBASOPEN on Twitter)

Cameron Norrie says he drew inspiration from Emma Raducanu prior to winning the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

 

The world No.16 stunned the men’s field at the tournament where he had never won a main draw match prior to this year. Norrie defeated Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov and Nikoloz Basilashvili to become the first player from his country to win the prestigious title. The run has resulted in him achieving a series of career milestones. After claiming his maiden Masters 1000 title, Norrie has broken into the world’s top 20 for the first time this week and has overtaken Dan Evans to become British No.1.

Norrie credits Raducanu’s US Open run for inspiring him and believes her success is ‘huge for British tennis.’ The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to win a major title in New York as she won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set. Her victories include wins over top 20 players Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari.

“That was utterly incredible what she did in New York. To come through qualifying and then to go out and just whack every opponent that she had,” he told Sky Sports.
“She won in straight sets and to do that at such a young age. To do it with that kind of confidence and come out and own every match was extremely impressive.
“It will definitely give the girls around her ranking where she was before the US Open a lot of confidence and a lot of belief.
“I was inspired by her triumph in New York. It’s huge for British tennis. I think for sure it’s going to put a lot of rackets in hand for the next generation of younger boys and girls to start playing tennis at home in the UK.”

Norrie himself is currently in the midst of what has been a breakout season for the 26-year-old who was a former top-ranked player in the US during his college years. He ties Novak Djokovic for most appearances in a Tour final this season at six. Three of those finals were on a hardcourt, two on the clay and one on grass. He won his maiden Tour title in July at the Los Cabos Open. Norrie has also scored multiple wins over top 10 players this season for the first time in his career – beating Dominic Thiem in Lyon and Andrey Rublev in San Diego.

“I want to get to world No 1, that’s the ultimate goal. Everyone on my team has the same target. Clearly it’s extremely difficult to do, and there’s a long road ahead. But we set high expectations and we’re going to strive towards them.” Norrie told The Telegraph earlier this week.

Norrie enters the final stretch of the 2021 season with 47 match wins to his name and is within contention of qualifying for the ATP Finals. To put that into perspective, since its inception in 1970 only three British players has ever participated in the event.

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Flavia Pennetta Believes Raducanu’s US Open Win Is A Bad Sign For Women’s Tennis

The former star of Italian tennis explains why she doesn’t like what is currently happening in the sport.

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2021 US Open Women's Singles Champion Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

The fairytale run of Emma Raducanu to her first ever Grand Slam title at the US Open has been hailed by many. However, one former player isn’t happy about it.

 

Flavia Pennetta, who reached a ranking high of sixth back in 2015, believes the shock run by the Brit highlights the lack of consistency among women’s players. Raducanu was playing in only her second Grand Slam main draw at the age of 18. Coming through qualifying she didn’t drop a set in 10 matches played, scoring wins over top 20 players Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari. In the final she defeated Leylah Fernandez, who was also making her debut in a major final.

“I don’t like it. What is happening, this very strong discontinuity, in my opinion, is not good for tennis,” Pennetta told Corriere della Sera earlier this week.
“In my time it could never have happened that a young girl played from qualifying, like Emma Raducanu in New York, to win a Grand Slam.
“Top athletes made too much difference.
“There is something wrong.
“Charisma is missing, so women’s tennis is more difficult to sell.”

Raducanu has been tipped as the next big thing in the sport with a surge in sponsorships and fans. Her more recent endorsement is French fashion house Dior who has named her as their new ambassador. Raducanu, who is currently ranked 24th in the world, also has a high-profile deal with jewellery brand Tiffany & Co.

It has been five years since a woman successfully defended a Grand Slam singles title which was Serena Williams at Wimbledon back in 2016. Since then, the last 20 major titles have been won by 14 different players. The only women to have won multiple titles during that period is Naomi Osaka (four), Simona Halep (two), Angelique Kerber (two) and Ash Barty (two).

“The youngsters, Raducanu and Fernandez, have still to confirm themselves at that level. A Slam champion can’t totally disappear,” Pennetta replied when asked if a decline in Williams’ form has caused this level of inconsistency. “I have never been among the superstars but I stayed at a high level for 15 years, and the same for Francesca Schiavone.”

39-year-old Pennetta is a former US Open champion herself who also produced a surprise run to the title. Seeded 26th in the 2015 draw she knocked out Petra Kvitova and Halep to set up a final showdown with Roberta Vinci which she won in straight sets. Shortly after her shock triumph she announced her retirement from tennis.

Recently it was announced that Pennetta has been shortlisted for the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot. Besides her US Open trophy, she won an additional 10 Tour titles and reached world No.1 in the doubles during her career. Should she receive nomination into the prestigious Hall of fame, she would become only the third Italian in history to do so after former player Nicola Pietrangeli and journalist Gianni Clerici.

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Only Double Vaccinated Players Will Be Allowed To Play Australian Open – Government Minister

Players will not be exempt from a ‘universal application’ applied to those wishing to travel to the country.

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A high ranking official from the Australian government has confirmed for the first time that players will not be allowed to enter the country next year if they have not been double vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

Immigration minister Alex Hawke has stated that there will be no exemptions in force for tennis players hoping to play in the Australian Open amid recent speculation. According to Andrey Rublev, he had been told that unvaccinated players could be allowed to play but will have to enter into a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that it was unlikely visas would be issued to those who are unvaccinated.

Trying to clarify the current situation, Hawke has told ABC radio that all entrants into the country will be required to be vaccinated regardless of who they are. His comments come before Tennis Australia has made any official announcement regarding the tournament and it’s entry requirements.

“The government in establishing its borders has said that you’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia. That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke said on ABC radio.

The move raises further questions about the prospect of Novak Djokovic being able to attend the Australian Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion recently said he doesn’t want to reveal his vaccination status to the public. In the past he said he was against the idea of being forced to have a vaccination but rejects allegations that he is an anti-vaxxer.

“I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He’ll need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke later added.

Unlike other sports, tennis’ governing bodies have not issued any public statements outlining the vaccination rates among players on their Tour’s. Reuters news agency estimates the vaccination rate is 65% for the ATP and 60% for the WTA based on recent media reports. However, The Age newspaper reports those who are double vaccinated are below half with 35% for the ATP and 40% for the WTA.

As for the suggestion that players who had already contracted COVID-19 should be allowed into the country regardless of their vaccine status, the president of the Victorian Australian Medical Association has dismissed the idea.

“I understand he [Djokovic] had it [coronavirus] but, believe it or not, the immunity from the vaccination is better than the immunity from catching the disease,” Dr Roderick McRae told The Age.
“I think there is an element of standards [here]. It’s important our leaders make these decisions in our interests and it [banning unvaccinated travellers] demonstrates to the community just how important we take this.”

The Australian Open will begin on January 17th. Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the reigning champions.

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