Karolina Pliskova sends the Fed Cup final into a decisive doubles match - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova sends the Fed Cup final into a decisive doubles match

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Karolina Pliskova beat Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-4 to level the Fed Cup Final to 2-2 sending the Fed Cup final into a decisive doubles rubber match

 

Karolina Pliskova met Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the second reverse rubber match on Sunday afternoon at the O2 Arena in Prague. This match pit together the two losers of the first two matches on the first day. Pliskova won their only previous head-to-head match in Dubai earlier this year.

Pliskova saved two break points in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. There was little to separate the two players in the first five games. Pavlyuchenova saved a second break point with a big serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-all. Pliskova held her third service game with two consecutive aces to take the 4-3 lead. In four service games Pliskova fired five aces.

Pliskova got the first break of the match on her fourth break point of the match in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead after 40 minutes as Pavlyuchenkova made a forehand error. Pliskova rallied from a break point down to serve out the first set with three consecutive winners.

Pliskova went up a set and a break after pavlyuchenkova made a double fault. Pavlyuchenkova earned three break.back point chances at 0-40 in the second game and converted her first chance as Pliskova made a double fault. Pavlyuchenkova went up 3-2 with a forehand winner.

Pliskova saved two break points with an ace in a long eighth game to draw level to 4-4. In the ninth game the Czech player broke serve for 5-4 with a forehand return winner before serving to draw the Fed Cup Final to 2-2. The Czech player sealed the win on her first match point with a service winner. .

“It’s one of my biggest wins in my career. It was not easy to play in these conditions but I received the support from my teammates. I really enjoyed the match and I am really happy that I won”, said Pliskova

Russian captain Anastasya Myskina has chosen Elena Vesnina and Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova for the doubles team. Czech captain Petr Pala has also made a surprising decision as Karolina Pliskova will return to the court to replace Lucie Safarova in the doubles team. She will team up with Barbora Strycova.

In the last final between these two teams Czech Republic beat Russia 3-2 after the doubles match in Moscow in 2011.

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Novak Djokovic Storms Past Van De Zandschulp To Reach Astana Quarters

Novak Djokovic is into his eighth ATP quarter-final of the season.

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Novak Djokovic (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic stormed past Botic Van De Zandschulp 6-3 6-1 to reach the Astana quarter-finals.

 

The Serb cruised past a valiant Van De Zandschulp to reach the last eight in Astana.

Djokovic is looking to make up significant ground as he looks to climb up the ATP rankings having missed a flurry of tournaments this year.

Next for Djokovic is Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Despite the win, the world number seven had to overcome a clean first set from his Dutch opponent, with Van De Zandschulp returning effectively.

The world number 34’s efficient baseline play saw him test Djokovic in the early stages as he forced the 21-time Grand Slam champion to Deuce in the fifth game.

However the Wimbledon champion survived the early pressure from Van De Zandschulp and went on the attack in the next game, breaking with ease for a 4-2 lead.

The Dutchman continued to apply the pressure on return but to no success as Djokovic saved a break point with bold play as he took a 5-2 lead.

That would be Van De Zandschulp’s only sign of returning threat as Djokovic served out the opening set to love in 39 minutes.

Although the Serb’s return made the headlines like always, it was his returning that was the dominant force in the second set as Van De Zandschulp found no way through Djokovic’s precise baseline game.

The former world number broke on three consecutive occasions as he claimed victory and a place in the quarter-finals of an ATP event for the eighth time this season.

After the match Djokovic praised his serve which was the key to success in Astana, “I think my serve worked very well when I needed to get out of the trouble in the first set particularly,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“There were some 30/30 games, and when I broke his serve for 4-2, I faced a break point and I came in, and he had a look at that passing shot and he missed it. The match is decided in these moments. [Between] 5-2 or 4-3 up there is a big difference, and I served well to end the first set.

“[In the] second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more. Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will now play against Karen Khachanov who defeated Marin Cilic in three sets earlier on in the day.

There was also a 6-4 6-4 victory for Hubert Hurkacz over Alexander Bublik, who is searching for a late spot at the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Roger Federer’s Legacy Will Be Greater Than Nadal And Djokovic, Says Berdych

The former world No.4 has weighed in on the GOAT debate in the wake of Federer’s retirement.

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Roger Federer (SUI) - Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

Roger Federer’s mark on the sport is greater than that of Novak Djokovic and he is more iconic than Rafael Nadal, according to a former rival of the record-breaking trio. 

 

Thomas Berdych has heaped praise on the Swiss Maestro who recently retired from tennis after playing on the Tour for 24 years. Bringing an end to one of the most successful tennis careers in history. However, Federer’s Grand Slam trophy tally of 20 is less than that of Djokovic (21) and Nadal (22). The debate concerning who should be regarded as the greatest of all time continues with each player having strong arguments as to why they should receive the honour. 

Weighing in on the debate, former Wimbledon finalist Berdych said during a recent interview with Idnes that he believed Federer is ‘superior’ when it comes to looking at the bigger picture. The two locked horns on the Tour 26 times with Berdych being successful on just six occasions. Their last meeting was at the 2018 Australian Open which was a year before the Czech retired. 

“Those who want to compare the best by numbers will find arguments for different options. The number of Grand Slams may be the most objective measure, but there are athletes who have left a great mark,” Tennis 365 quoted Berdych as telling iDnes.cz.
“I think Roger will leave a bigger mark than Djokovic. I think he is a bigger icon than Nadal. Perhaps, because he started this great era. What he did for tennis cannot be surpassed by any result.”

The 37-year-old continued his argument by saying Federer’s tennis skills helped attract a surge of interest in the sport during his career. 

“A lot of people watched matches or started playing because of his ability. That is what makes it superior to others. Although, of course, I can understand if a fan finds something special in Nadal, Djokovic or other players.” He said. 

Berdych also played the other two members of the Big Three regularly throughout his career. His only Grand Slam final was against Nadal who he has a negative 4-20 head-to-head record against. As for Djokovic, he won just three out of their 28 meetings.

Nevertheless, it is Federer who gets Berdych’s backing in the GOAT debate. It wasn’t just his on-court performance that impressed Berdych, he was also how he conducted himself off-court. 

“Roger behaved humanely and pleasantly. If you met him in the dressing room or somewhere else backstage, you wouldn’t know what he is,” he said. “On the contrary, he had moments when he acted like a boy and did stupid things.”

 Berdych is one of only a few players who have managed to beat every member of the Big Three at least once at a Grand Slam. 

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Nick Kyrgios Relishing Double Duty And Local Culture At Japan Open

After his latest win at the Ariake Coliseum, Kyrgios explains how playing doubles helps him enjoy tennis more.

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Image via https://twitter.com/rakutenopen/

Nick Kyrgios says he hopes to play at the Japan Open every year until he retires from the sport after booking his place in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

 

Kyrgios, who is playing in his first tournament since the US Open, overcame a slow start to see off Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Booking his place in the last eight of an ATP event for the ninth time this year. In his latest match, the Australian produced an impressive 43 winners, including 22 aces. In the last two sets, he won 33 out of 40 points behind his serve.

“Towards the end, I played lights out. I forgot really how fast this court is and how big you can play on it.” Kyrgios said during an interview with TennisTV. “I just started to play the right way in the second and third set. I tried to play more aggressively. Serve through the court instead of trying to pick my spots.”
“He’s a tough player. He doesn’t mind a fast serve and his backhand is very good. I’m just happy to get through.”

The victory follows up on Kyrgios’ dominant win over Tseng Chun-Hsin in the first round where he dropped just four games. His win-loss record for 2022 now stands at 37-10 with his only title won being at the Citi Open in Washington.

The world No.20 will be kept busy this week in Tokyo. Besides his singles matches, he is also the top seed in the doubles tournament alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis who he won the Australian Open doubles title with earlier this year. Besides the extra work which is required, Kyrgios says playing doubles helps him enjoy the sport.

Tennis is stressful as hell in singles. You try to hold yourself to such high accountability every time. You can be out here (on the court) for three hours. It is exhausting and so serious,” he said.
“Playing doubles with Thanasi (Kokkinakis) brings the fun element back. But at the same time, it’s my job and I’m here to make money. That’s how I do it. I play both events.”

Despite his packed schedule, he has still managed to explore some of Tokyo with a trip to the local zoo, as well as the nearby Pokemon centre.

“It’s just a different culture and different people. It is so fun to be around here and it is different from Australia. It is definitely an event that I want to play pretty much until the end of my career.” He stated.

Kyrgios will play either lucky loser Hiroki Moriya or Taylor Fritz in the next round.

In other matches, US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe defeated Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-1, 7-6(7). The fourth seed will next play Miomir Kecmanović who edged out Dan Evans 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4).

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