Italy vs. Russia: Davis Cup Tie Preview - UBITENNIS
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Italy vs. Russia: Davis Cup Tie Preview

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TENNIS- The Siberian city of Irkutsk will play host to the BNP Paribas World-Group Play-Off match between Russia and Italy. The Italian team coached by former Davis Cup champion Corrado Barazzutti will bid to maintain its place in the World Group for 2016 after reaching the semifinals last year. Italy will have to defend its position in the Davis Cup World Group top-tier after losing 3-2 against Kazakhstan in Astana last March.

 

Italian top two players Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi both have a better ranking than the Russian best player Teymuraz Gabashvili and start as favourites but rankings do not matter too much at Davis Cup level and surprises are possible.

In the opening match Russian best player Gabashvili will play against Simone Bolelli, replacing Andreas Seppi who has been sidelined for the opening match by a left foot issue. Seppi could play in the second singles rubber on Sunday if the match will be decisive.

Gabashvili, a Russian player of Georgian origin, beat Andy Murray this year in Washington, reached the fourth round in the Paris Roland Garros where he lost to Kei Nishikori and won three ATP Challengers. Gabashvili reached his best ranking this year when he advanced to World Number 50. Bolelli leads 2-1 in his previous three head-to-head matches against Gabashvili. The Russian player beat Bolelli in Miami in 2009 but the Italian won their last head-to-head match in Biella in 2010.

“Teymuraz is playing well this year and I think he likes this surface. He is an indoor specialist and a dangerous. I will try to play my best tennis and push him and try to win”, said Bolelli.

The Indoor surface and home advantage could be a factor and help the Russian team reduce the gap on the Italian team.

“It won’t be easy to play there because it’s for sure going to be on a fast court. Our rivals will be pretty young. It’s an important tie for us. Last year we did very well by reaching the semifinals, so we hope to stay in the World Group four a fifth consecutive year. Before we played a lot of years in the first division, one down from the World Group, and it took us a long time to come back to this level. We lost a close match against Kazakhstan in the fifth rubber at the beginning of the year, so it was a little bit sad but we will try to win this one to stay in the World Group”, said Andreas Seppi.

The Russian team came captained by Shamir Tarpishev back from 0-2 to beat Spain 3-2 in the Davis Cup in the second round of the Davis Cup Group I in Vladivostok last July. The home team will bid to return to the World Group for the first time since 2012. Seventeen-year old Andrey Rublev, Roland Garros Junior champion in 2014, won the decisive point for 3-2 in the fifth rubber match against Pablo Andujar in Vladivostok and will be a dangerous rival to Italian star Fabio Fognini, who reached the fourth round at this month’s US Open after beating Rafael Nadal in the third round. The Italian, who is ranked World Number 28, was the first player to beat Nadal after losing the first two sets.

Fognini and Rublev will meet in the second match on Friday during the opening day. Fognini and Rubliev are separated by 148 positions in the ATP Ranking but the young Russian player will play without pressure. Fognini beat Rublev earlier this year on clay in the ATP 500 in Barcelona.

Fognini has recently boosted his confidence with his third win over Nadal at Flushing Meadows and the first Grand Slam title won by his fiancee Flavia Pennetta over Roberta Vinci in New York. Fognini joined the Italian team on Tuesday after a 19-hour flight from New York.

“I am tired but to play for your country is something different and something that you have to feel in your body and your skin and especially in your heart. I just have to go out on to the court and do my best to try and fight against him and that’s it I trained very well. I will play against a young player. I hope that the experience will be a factor and that I will play with a 1-0 lead for the Italian team. I don’t feel pressure. I have always played very well in the Davis Cup but it will not be easy becaus the level is very high. All players want to do well as they represent their country. The surface is not very fast and I am adaèting well to it. The only problem is the jet-leg after the long flight from New York but there is no time to think about that as it’s a very important week-end for Italian tennis. The win of Flavia Pennetta in Flushing Meadows gives me extra motivation as it shows that it is possible to fulfil every dream with hard work ”, said Fognini.

On Saturday Evgeniy Donskoy will team up with Konstantin Kravchuk in the doubles match against the Italian team formed by Paolo Lorenzi and Andreas Seppi, although it is possible that this year’s Australian Open doubles champions Fognini and Bolelli could play for what is expected to be a crucial match. Donskoy and Kravchuk won the doubles match against Spain leading to the incredible come-back victory in Vladivostok.

Donskoy is a dangerous player for the Italian team at Davis Cup level especally after he beat Tommy Robredo in four sets in the match between Russia and Spain last July.

It’s the first time that Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia near the Angara River will host a Davis Cup match. Italy played only once on Russian soil in 1969 and lost 5-0 against the former Soviet Union team.

The last time both teams met dates back to 1996 when Italy beat Russia 3-2 in Rome.

Diego Sampaolo

Davis Cup

PREVIEW: Vasek Pospisil Looking To Lead Canada At Davis Cup Finals

The Canadian will look to lead his team one step further after reaching the final in Madrid back in 2019.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23: Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2021 at Madrid Arena on November 23, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

It’s not an ideal situation when two of your best players decide not to play and represent their country but that is what has happened to Canada with both Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.

 

Both players citing the need for rest after a long and taxing season that literally gives them less than two months to rest and recuperate before the off-season preparations and a trip down under for the Australian tennis season.

Pospisil leads a team with Brayden Schnur, Peter Polansky and replacement Steven Diez. While on paper all players are ranked outside the top 100 Canada still has good chances of getting past the group stage.

In their way are Sweden and Kazakhstan. They will open their tournament on Thursday in Madrid against the Swedes before facing the Kazaks on Sunday morning at the Madrid Arena.

Once again two wins will be needed and it will be a busy week for Pospisil who will be called upon to play singles and doubles, which has been confirmed by team captain Frank Dancevic.

The million-dollar question is who will be Canada’s number two singles player and who will play with the Vernon, BC native? Dancevic is yet to confirm this.

Schnur was an alternate player on the team last time, Polansky wasn’t even called upon and it’s been 10 years since Diez even represented his country so the experience isn’t there.

But then again anything can happen in Davis Cup and looking at the other teams Sweden will use Elias and Mikael Ymer while Kazakhstan will rely on the highest-ranked player in the group Alexander Bublik with teammate Mikhael Kukushin.

It’s all to play for in the Spanish capital and Canada is coming off an incredible run in 2019 which ended up in them losing to Spain in the final where they were able to show the world they are here to play.

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Davis Cup

Canada suffers massive blow as Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime pull out of Davis Cup

The two tennis stars cited fatigue and injury as the reason why they have chosen not to play in the team event.

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Canada will be without its top two players as they head to Madrid for the Davis Cup Finals.

 

After losing in the Stockholm Open final at the weekend, Denis Shapovalov made it official that he was pulling out of the Davis Cup Finals citing he needed to rest and take time off.

“Unfortunately, I will not take part in the Davis Cup Finals,” Shapovalov said in a statement. “It’s always a pleasure and an honor for me to represent my country in the Davis Cup, but I need some rest in the offseason.”

Shortly after Felix Auger Aliassime also released a statement confirming that he was pulling out as well due to a nagging injury and also stated he needed some time off as well.

So far Canada has only called up Steven Diez as a replacement for the team that currently has Vasek Pospisil, Peter Polansky, and Brayden Schnur. It is a massive blow for a team that looked like a heavy favorite.

Team captain Frank Dancevic also commentated on the situation by saying he understands why both players have decided not to play.

“We know that Félix and Denis have always made the Davis Cup one of their top priorities since the beginning of their professional careers, and even before that since they had won the Junior Davis Cup for Canada in 2015,” said Dancevic. “But it’s been a long and even more trying season due to the protocols and measures put in place to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and we completely understand their decision.’
We know that we can count on Félix and Denis’ support and leadership in the years to come. That said, we are delighted to have Steven (Diez) join us for the Finals. Although Steven doesn’t have much Davis Cup experience, he has proven time and time again that he’s an incredible team player and that he’s able to adapt to various situations.”

Diez, who is 30 years old, has only played Davis Cup once before which was 11 years ago back in 2010 in a Group 1 semi-final tie against Columbia. His career-high ranking was 134 in 2019 and his best result was making the final of an ATP Challenger event in Spain.

The Davis Cup Finals will be held in Madrid, Innsbruck, and Turin beginning on the 25th of November. Canada will be based in Madrid in a group with Sweden and Kazakhstan.

Canada faces Sweden on the 25th and Kazakhstan on the 28th of November. The last time around made the final back in 2019 before losing to Spain.

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Novak Djokovic Leads Quartet Of To 10 Players Set To Play Davis Cup Finals

Here is a full list of players who have been nominated to play in the team event next month.

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Novak Djokovic returns a shot during a Men's Singles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Jed Jacobsohn/USTA)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic will lead Serbia in the Davis Cup Finals once again after getting officially nominated for the event on Monday.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the final of the US Open but had previously expressed his desire to play in the team event. Djokovic will be the only top 20 player participating in Group F with both Austria and Germany missing their top players. Dominic Thiem is still recovering from injury and Alexander Zverev has said he would not play in protest of the changes made to the Davis Cup in recent years.

Djokovic, who has won three out of the four major events this season, is expected to play in both the Paris Masters and ATP Finals prior to the Davis Cup. He was instrumental in guiding his country to glory in the team competition back in 2010 which was the first and only time they have won the title.

Russia boasts a strong team with both US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and world No.6 Andrey Rublev getting the nod. Making them the only team in the event to feature two top 10 players. Unlike other countries, they will be called the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) in the tournament. This is due to a previous WADA and CAS ruling against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency over the country’s involvement in state-sponsored doping during multiple Olympic Games.

Italy, who hasn’t won the Davis Cup since 1976, will be headlined by Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini. Joining him in the team will be Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego, Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti. The Italians have the advantage of playing their group ties on home ground in Turin which is the same city which will hold the ATP Finals. They will take on America and Colombia.

It is possible that some nominations for the Davis Cup could change in the coming weeks. French captain Sebastien Grosjean told reporters that it is possible he may include Gael Monfils in the team should he produce some good results on the Tour. Meanwhile, Andy Murray isn’t ruling out taking part.

“Never say never, maybe I could be convinced to play,” The Times newspaper quoted Murray as saying on Monday.

The Davis Cup Finals will take place between November 25 – December 5th. The group and quarter-finals ties will be held across Europe in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck. Then the semi-finals and final will be held in Madrid. Each Group tie will consist of three matches – two singles and one doubles.

Tournament schedule

source – www.daviscupfinals.com

List of team nominations

Group A – Madrid, Spain

Spain
Pablo Carreno Busta
Roberto Bautista Agut
Carlos Alcaraz
Feliciano Lopez
Marcel Granollers
Captain: Sergi Bruguera

RTF
Daniil Medvedev
Andrey Rublev
Aslan Karatsev
Karen Khachanov
Evgeny Donskoy
Captain: Shamil Tarpischev

Ecuador
Emilio Gomez
Roberto Quiroz
Diego Hidalgo
Gonzalo Escobar
Cayetano March
Captain: Raul Viver

Group B – Madrid, Spain

Canada
Felix Auger-Aliassime
Denis Shapovalov
Vasek Pospisil
Brayden Schnur
Peter Polansky
Captain: Frank Dancevic

Kazakhstan
Alexander Bublik
Mikhail Kukushkin
Dmitry Popko
Aleksandr Nedovyesov
Andrey Golubev
Captain: Yuriy Schukin

Sweden
Mikael Ymer
Elias Ymer
Jonathan Mridha
Andre Goransson
Captain: Robin Soderling

Group C – Innsbruck, Austria

France
Ugo Humbert
Arthur Rinderknech
Richard Gasquet
Pierre-Hugues Herbert
Nicolas Mahut
Captain: Sebastien Grosjean

Great Britain
Cameron Norrie
Daniel Evans
Joe Salisbury
Neal Skupski
Captain: Leon Smith

Czech Republic
Jiri Vesely
Tomas Machac
Zdenek Kolar
Jiri Lehecka
Lukas Rosol
Captain: Jaroslav Navratil

Group D – Turin, Italy

Croatia
Marin Cilic
Borna Coric
Borna Gojo
Nikola Mektic
Mate Pavic
Captain: Vedran Martic

Australia
Alex de Minaur
John Millman
Jordan Thompson
Alexei Popyrin
John Peers
Captain: Lleyton Hewitt

Hungary
Marton Fucsovics
Attila Balazs
Zsombor Marozsan
Mate Valkusz
Captain: Gabor Koves

Group E – Turin, Italy

USA
John Isner
Reilly Opelka
Taylor Fritz
Jack Sock
Rajeev Ram
Captain: Mardy Fish

Italy
Matteo Berrettini
Jannik Sinner
Lorenzo Sonego
Fabio Fognini
Lorenzo Musetti
Captain: Filippo Volandri

Colombia
Daniel Galan
Nicolas Mejia
Juan Sebastian Cabal
Robert Farah
Captain: Alejandro Falla

Group F – Innsbruck, Austria

Serbia
Novak Djokovic
Filip Krajinovic
Dusan Lajovic
Laslo Djere
Miomir Kecmanovic
Captain: Viktor Troicki

Germany
Jan Lennard Struff
Dominik Koepfer
Peter Gojowczyk
Kevin Krawietz
Tim Puetz
Captain: Michael Kohlmann

Austria
Dennis Novak
Jurij Rodionov
Gerald Melzer
Oliver Marach
Philipp Oswald
Captain: Stefan Koube

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