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
Marcos Baghdatis Lands First Coaching Role With Top 10 Player
The recently retired tennis player has become the new mentor to one of the stars of women’s tennis.
Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis is set to return to the tour five months after stepping away from the sport as a coach to the world No.6 player on the WTA Tour.
The Cypriot has been appointed to the team of Elina Svitolina with immediate effect. In his new role Baghdatis will be working alongside Svitolina’s current coach Andrew Bettles in what will be his first ever role as a mentor on the professional tour.
“I am so glad to announce the next chapter of my life and look forward to coaching a great athlete and super tennis player, No.6 ranked WTA player Elina Svitolina, working alongside Andre Bettles! I want to thank Elina for putting her trust in me. Let’s do this! Bring it on 2020,” he said on Twitter.
During his career, Baghdatis won four ATP titles and peaked at a high of eighth in the world rankings. Finishing each year inside the world’s top 100 between 2005-2016. He officially retired from tennis during Wimbledon at the age of 34.
Svitolina will be hoping that her new appointment sends her in the right direction following what has been a mixed year. The Ukranian won 39 out of 61 matches played in 2019 and reached the semi-finals of two grand slam tournaments (Wimbledon and the US Open). However, she has failed to win any WTA titles. Making it the first season she has done so since 2012.
“I’m very excited to announce this news and I’m confident his strong experience will add value to my game.” Svitolina wrote on Instagram.
“With such a great coaching team, I have set high objectives for 2020.”
Svitolina will kick-off her 2020 campaign in Australia at the Brisbane International. As well as bidding to win her first grand slam title, the 25-year-old will be hoping to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2019 ATP Tour Review
Ubitennis.net reviews a great ATP season highlighted by Rafael Nadal’s Roland Garros and US Open titles, Novak Djokovic’s win over Roger Federer in an epic Wimbledon final, Daniil Medvedev’s great hard-court season, Stefanos Tsitsipas’ breakthrough into the top 10 and the rise of Italian players Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner.
The best ATP player of the season
Rafael Nadal celebrated his 200th week at world number 1 in the ATP Rankings. Only five players since 1973 have been ranked at the top for more weeks: Roger Federer (310 weeks), Pete Sampras (286), Novak Djokovic (275), Ivan Lendl (270), and Jimmy Connors (268 weeks).
Nadal enjoyed another great season in 2019 by winning four titles, including two Grand Slam titles (Roland Garros and US Open) and two Masters 1000 titles (Rome and Montreal). He also finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.
He won his 12th Roland Garros title with a victory over Dominic Thiem in the final, confirming his reputation as the King of Clay. Becoming player (male or female ) to win the same Grand Slam tournament 12 times.
Overall, he recorded 58 wins to 7 defeats and finished the season as the year-end number 1 player for the fifth time in his career. The 33-year-old Spanish player is the oldest player to finish year-end number 1 in the history.
The most consistent player: Danil Medvedev
Danil Medvedev leads the ATP Tour in 2019 with a record of 59 match wins, including 46 victories on a hard court. He reached six straight finals since Wimbledon. Winning four titles in Sofia, St. Petersburg and two consecutive Masters 1000 tournaments in Cincinnati and Shanghai. He also finished runner-up in three more finals in Brisbane, Barcelona and the US Open.
Medvedev rallied from two sets down before losing to Nadal after 4 hours and 51 minutes in his first Grand Slam final. He is the first Russian player to reach a Grand Slam final since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open and the youngest Grand Slam finalist since Novak Djokovic.
The most improved player of the year: Stefanos Tsitsipas:
One year after clinching the ATP Next Gen Finals trophy in Milan, Stefanos Tsitsipas won the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London after beating Dominic Thiem. The young Greek star won two more titles in Marseille on indoor hard court and Estoril on clay and finished runner-up in two more finals in Dubai to Roger Federer and in Beijing to Dominic Thiem.
At the age of 20 Tsitsipas became the youngest Australian Open semifinalist since Andy Roddick in 2003. He is the first Greek player to break into Top 5 and the first Greek to reach a Grand Slam semifinal. At the Australian Open Tsitsipas saved 12 break points against Roger Federer in the fourth round.
Tsitsipas earned 54 match wins this year and beat Rafael Nadal to reach the Madrid Masters 1000 Final before losing to Novak Djokovic in the title match.
The most surprising player of the year: Matteo Berrettini:
The Italian 23-year-old player broke into the top 10 of the ATP Ranking on 28 October and reached the career-high at world number 8 on 4 November. In his breakthrough season Berrettini became the first ATP Finals singles qualifier from Italy since former number 8 player and current Davis Cup captain Corrado Barazzutti in 1978.
Berrettini won two titles in Budapest on clay and Stuttgart on grass and reached ATP 500 semifinals at Halle, Vienna. He became the first Italian player in history to reach a Masters 1000 semifinal in Shanghai. This season he has achieved a series of milestones for Italian tennis. Including becoming the second Italian player in history to reach a US Open semifinal and the fourth overall. Following in the footsteps of Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti and Marco Cecchinato. Berrettini also reached the Wimbledon fourth round by defeating Diego Schwartzman after saving three match points.
Bianca Andreescu Rewrites History As She Is Named Canadian Athlete of The Year
The world No.5 has achieved another milestone in her blossoming career.
Tennis sensation Bianca Andreescu has capped off her breakthrough season by winning the most prestigious sporting prize of her country.
The 19-year-old has become the first tennis player is history to win the Lou Marsh Trophy. An honour that has been awarded to Canada’s top athlete each year since 1936. Andreescu was unanimously selected to receive the trophy by a panel of 24 top sports media members. Fending off competition from Brooke Henderson (golf), Jordan Binnington (ice hockey), Andre De Grasse (athletics) and Mike Soroka (baseball).
“Wow, I’m so thankful for this award. I was not expecting it and to be the first tennis player to win is even more surreal,” Andreescu said.
“None of my success this year would have been possible without the support from all of Canada. Canadian sports crushed it this year so there are definitely many other athletes who deserve a piece of this award as well — we all motivate each other to be better.’
“I can’t wait for what 2020 will bring and am always proud to represent Canada at the highest level.”
Andresscu’s latest milestone is one that surprised few. In September moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury, who won the trophy in 2018, said to Andreescu on Twitter ‘anytime you want to come take the #LouMarsh I have it in Montreal… it’s all yours now.’
This season Andreescu has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of tennis. Highlighted by a win-loss record of 48-7. Starting 2019 outside the top 100 with less than $200,000 in career earnings, she has rocketed up the rankings. She won her maiden WTA title in Indian Wells, followed by the Rogers Cup a few months later. However, her biggest achievement took place at the US Open when she defeated Serena Williams to win the US Open. Becoming the first Canadian in history to win a grand slam singles title.
As a result of her breakout, Andreescu has made $6,504,150 in prize money this season. The 10th highest by a player (man or woman) in 2019. An impressive achievement for the Canadian, who at one stage could only play one match during a four-month period due to injury.
Andreescu will start her 2020 campaign in New Zealand at the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Andreescu’s season review
– Reaches the final of the ASB Classic as a qualifier. Defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams en route.
– At the Australian Open Andreescu eases through qualifying without dropping a set. After winning her first main draw match, she lost in round 2 to Anastasija Sevastova.
– Caps off the month by winning a WTA 125 title in Newport Beach, California.
– Wins both her matches in Canada’s Fed Cup clash with the Netherlands
– Towards the end of the month she reached the semi-finals of the Acapulco Open before losing to Sofia Kenin.
– Stuns the tour by winning the BNP Paribas Open as a wild card to claim her first WTA title.
– Follows up Indian Wells by reaching the fourth round in Miami.
April – played no events due to injury
– Could only play one match at the French Open, which she won, before withdrawing from the tournament injured.
June & July – missed due to injury
– On a comeback from injury she became the first Canadian player in 50 years to win the Rogers Cup. The biggest tennis tournament in her country.
– Claims her first grand slam title at the US Open by defeating Serena Williams in straight sets.
– Reaches the quarter-finals of the China Open before losing in a three-set thriller to Naomi Osaka.
– Made her debut at the WTA Finals. Lost her opening match to Simona Halep and then retired during her her second against Karolina Pliskova due to injury.
Marcos Baghdatis Lands First Coaching Role With Top 10 Player
Entry List For The Australian Open Announced
The 2019 ATP Tour Review
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
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