Fed Cup Final in Prague: Petra Kvitova opens with Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, then Maria Sharapova takes on Karolina Pliskova - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup Final in Prague: Petra Kvitova opens with Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, then Maria Sharapova takes on Karolina Pliskova

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The Draw Ceremony of the 2015 Fed Cup Final was held in the Old Town Hall in Prague. Petra Kvitova will face Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the first match. Karolina Pliskova will replace this year’s Roland Garros finalist Lucie Safarova in the second Saturday’s singles match against Maria Sharapova.

 

Kvitova, who recently reached the final at the WTA Finals in Singapore and won three of the last four editions of the Fed Cup in 2011, 2012 and 2014, leads 6-3 in her head-to-head matches against Pavlyuchenkova. The Czech star, twice Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014 and world number 5, dropped just five games in her only head-to-head match played this year against Pavlyuchenkova on clay in Madrid.

Kvitova has won 20 times in her 22 Fed Cup matches since 2011 losing just to Ana Ivanovic in 2012 and Roberta Vinci in 2013.

Sharapova and Pliskova will clash for the first time in their careers in the second singles match on Saturday. Both players are in good form. Sharapova reached the semifinal at the WTA Finals in Singapore after missing most of the summer due to injury problems following the Wimbledon semifinal.

On Sunday Kvitova will face Sharapova in a re-match of the recent semifinals of the WTA Finals in Singapore where the Czech player won 6-3 7-6 (7-3). The second reverse rubber on Sunday will feature Pliskova and Pavlyuchenkova. Pliskova beat Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-4 in their only head-to-head match in Dubai earlier this year,

Barbora Strykova and Lucie Safarova could face Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the possible Sunday’s doubles match.

Pliskova won a WTA title in Prague and finished runner-up to Venus Williams in the final at last week’s Elite Trophy in Zhuhai and in four more finals in Sydney, Dubai, Birmingham and Stanford. The young Czech player will make her second appearance in the Fed Cup. She made her debut in Quebec City where she beat Canadian players Francoise Abanda and Gabriela Dabrowski.

Czech Republic will take on Russia for the third time in a Fed Cup Final. The first time dates back to 1988 when former Czechoslovakia beat former Soviet Union 2-1 in Melbourne. In 2011 Czech Republic beat Russia 3-2 in Moscow.

The home team has won three of the last four titles (2011, 2012 and 2014) and has not been defeated since a 3-2 defeat against the USA in 2009. Russia will bidding to win their fifth Fed Cup after their previous triumphs in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

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Belinda Bencic battles past Marketa Vondrousova to win gold in Tokyo

Belinda Bencic won the gold medal beating Marketa Vondrousova in three sets.

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Belinda Bencic (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

The Swiss world number 12 won her first-ever gold medal beating the Czech in a tough three-set match.

 

Belinda Bencic is your Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist after beating world number 42 and Czech Marketa Vondrousova in three tight sets 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the tournament’s longest match at two hours and 30 minutes hitting 29 winners in the victory.

It was indeed the Swiss who got off to the faster start and after holding serve in the opening service game went right to work looking for the first break of the match setting up the first breakpoint with a stunning backhand winner.

She earned the first break of the match but the lead didn’t last long as the Sokolov, Czech Republic native broke the world number 12 to love to go back on serve.

At 2-2, it was the Czech setting up two more chances to take the lead this time with her powerful forehand and at the second time of asking she took her first lead of the match but just like earlier in the set relinquished it the very next game.

Vondrousova’s next opportunity to try and get a break and hold a lead was at 3-3 but the Flawil, Switzerland native saved both and stayed on serve until 6-5 when Bencic had a set point took it to win the first set.

The Czech wasn’t going to back down and this time she would break in the first game of the second set and managed to turn it into a double break and served out the second set to send it to a deciding third set.

Again, the world number 42 earned a break of serve in the first game of the third set, but the following game took the Swiss three chances, but she broke back on serve at 1-1 with another forehand passing shot winner.

At 2-1, the world number 12 earned three chances to break and took her first lead of the set when Vondrousova served an untimely double fault but responded by breaking her back the very next game to go back on serve.

Bencic took a medical timeout at 4-3 to have the trainer tape up her big toe and the treatment seemed to do wonders for her as she broke the Czech to love the very next game.

With the Swiss serving for the win and the gold medal, she faced some heavy pressure facing two breakpoints but saved both and on her second match point she served out the match and the win.

Earlier Elina Svitolina won the bronze medal beating Elena Rybakina in three sets.

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Novak Djokovic Faces No Regrets Over Olympic Participation After Missing Out On Medal

Novak Djokovic has no regrets about being in Tokyo despite walking away with no Olympic medal for the third consecutive games.

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Novak Djokovic (@BleacherReport - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic has revealed he doesn’t regret competing in Tokyo despite missing out on an Olympic medal.

 

The world number one lost his bronze medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3 in 2 hours and 48 minutes.

A frustrating last 24 hours was capped off with a hard-fought defeat that saw him withdraw from his mixed doubles semi-final due to a left shoulder injury.

As a result Ash Barty and John Peers claimed the bronze medal which sees Djokovic without an Olympic medal for a third consecutive Olympics.

However after the loss to Carreno Busta Djokovic said he has no regrets about competing in Tokyo, “I don’t regret coming to Olympics at all,” Djokovic said to Sasa Ozmo.

“I believe that there are no coincidences in life, everything happens for a reason. I had some heartbreaking losses at Olympics and big tournaments, and I know that those losses have usually made me stronger.

“I do have a regret for not winning a medal for my country, both in singles and mixed. I just didn’t deliver yesterday and today. Level of tennis dropped, also due to exhaustion mentally and physically.

“I know that I will bounce, I will try to keep going for Olympics in Paris, to try to win a medal for my country. I am sorry I disappointed a lit of fans in Serbia, but that’s sport, I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much.”

After failing to win a medal in Tokyo, Djokovic now has gone three consecutive Olympic games without a medal.

Despite this latest setback Djokovic is still on course to achieve the grand slam ahead of the US Open.

But in his post-match interview the Serb admitted that before he can think about that he has to take care of a few injuries, “I hope that the physical consequences won’t create a problem for me for the US Open,” Djokovic admitted.

“That is something I am not sure about right now, but there are no regrets, you have to give your all for your country. I have withdrawn (from mixed) because of injuries, not only one. I hope that won’t stop me for playing the US Open.”

Djokovic’s next scheduled tournament is in Cincinnati on the 16th of August although it’s possible that the world number one won’t play until the US Open on the 30th of August.

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Rafael Nadal Returns In Washington Ahead Of Historic US Open Bid

Rafael Nadal returns to action next week when he competes at the Citi Open in Washington.

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Rafael Nadal (@CitiOpen - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal makes his return to the tour in Washington this week ahead of a history-making two weeks in New York.

 

The top seed will enter the Citi Open next week playing his first tournament since losing in the Roland Garros semi-finals to Novak Djokovic.

Nadal leads the field as he prepares for a crucial few weeks coming up with history awaiting at the US Open.

Heading into the tournament at Flushing Meadows, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are all level at 20 grand slams.

With Federer still recovering from his knee injury and Djokovic looking exhausted from his Olympic bid, Nadal will look to capitalise on a golden opportunity to get in-front in the race to being the greatest of all time.

In Washington, Nadal will begin his campaign against either Jack Sock or Yoshihito Nishioka.

A potential third round meeting with Lloyd Harris could await while Nadal could face 7th seed and in-form Cameron Norrie in the last eight.

Norrie is coming off of a title in Los Cabos having won the third most matches this season behind Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

Also in the Spaniard’s half is Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios, Benoit Paire, Taylor Fritz and Dan Evans.

In the bottom half of the draw Felix Auger-Aliassime will face Andreas Seppi or a qualifier in the opening round.

The Canadian is also projected to meet Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka en route to the semi-finals.

The likes of Jannik Sinner, Sebastian Korda and Alex De Minaur are also in Auger-Aliassime’s half of the draw

Play starts on Monday with Nadal’s opening match set to take place on Wednesday night local time.

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