All That You Have To Know About Upcoming Fed Cup Weekend +Predictions - UBITENNIS
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All That You Have To Know About Upcoming Fed Cup Weekend +Predictions

The headliners of this Fed Cup weekend will definitely be the semifinals, but the play-offs are the ones with the higher ranked players. Kerber, Azarenka, Muguruza, Halep and many more players will be competing in the play-offs for the World Group.

Jakub Bobro

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In this article, for every tie there will be the nominations, venue, background about the tie and the players and then the predictions of me and my fellow writers here at Ubitennis.net

 

World Group Semifinals

Czech Republic – Switzerland

Nominations: Czech Republic has to play the tie without their Top 2 players, Kvitova and Safarova. With these limitations, the team of Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Strycova, Denisa Allertova and Lucie Hradecka was nominated. The Swiss were also weakened, by Belinda Bencic. However Switzerland lacks the depth of players that Czech Republic has. The team right now is Timea Bacsinszky, Viktorija Golubic and Martina Hingis, with the fourth player yet to be nominated.

Venue: This tie will be played in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Hard court (Rebound Ace), Indoor

Background: The Swiss seemed to be the favorites until the withdrawal of Bencic, having two Top 20 players. Now it seems that the Swiss No. 2 will be World No. 129 Viktorija Golubic. The decision to put the tie on an indoor hard court might seem a bit illogical, as next week the tour will move on to clay, and Bacsinszky has had better results on clay then on hard courts. Both Pliskova and Strycova prefer hard courts over clay, which makes the choice of surface even more absurd. Martina Hingis has not confirmed nor denied making another singles comeback for Fed Cup, like against Poland last year.

Predictions:

Me: On Saturday I predict Pliskova to defeat Golubic easily and for Bacsinszky to take the win over Strycova in 3 tough sets. Day 2 will be Pliskova getting her first win over Bacsinszky, and for Strycova to seal the deal against Golubic. The Czechs will advance to the finals 3-1.

Adam Addicott: Czech Republic wins.

Bruno Bergareche: With everyone available and playing at home I would have backed Switzerland but with Bencic out injured I think Czech Republic are marginal favourites.

Diego Sampaolo: Czech Republic will continue its proud tradition and qualify for the final, as Switzerland will play without Belinda Bencic.

France – Netherlands

Nominations: France is bringing their best team to the tie, getting all of their Top 50 players, Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet. Pauline Parmentier will be completing the team. Their opponents are also bringing their best. The surprise semifinalists of Netherlands are bringing their only Top 100 player Kiki Bertens. As for the remaining players Richel Hogenkamp, Cindy Burger and Arantxa Rus, any of them could play as the Dutch No. 2 player.

Venue: This tie will be played on indoor clay in Trélazé, France

Background: Netherlands have been surprising everyone in Fed Cup over the past 2 years, first getting into World Group, and now outing Russia to make the semifinals. The Dutch always get up for the Fed Cup ties and that’s why France should not underestimate them. Especially because none of their Top 3 players are not in a good form.

Predictions:

Me: I believe that Netherlands will be able to pull of the upset. All Bertens, Hogenkamp and Rus are pretty good clay-courters, and I think that they’ll be able to get two wins on Day 1. On Day 2 I expect Mladenovic to beat Bertens, but then for Hogenkamp to finish the tie off against Garcia or Mladenovic. I think that Netherlands will win 3-1 and be the surprise finalist.

Adam Addicott: France win with ease.

Bruno Bergareche: As for the second semifinal, I think Netherlands fairy tale run has to come to an end against one of the most solid teams in France.

Diego Sampaolo: France is the clear favourite against the Netherlands.

World Group Play-Offs

Russia – Belarus

Nominations: Russia will be coming into this without their Top 3 players, not counting Sharapova. Daria Kasatkina and Margarita Gasparyan will most probably play the singles, Elena Vesnina is the doubles specialist on the team, and Elizaveta Kulichkova completes the squad. Belarus had to deal with not having Azarenka on their team, but that is not the case this time. World No. 5 Victoria Azarenka will lead the team of Olga Govortsova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka.

Venue: This tie will be played in Moscow on an indoor clay court.

Background: Both No. 1 players of each team had an amazing year, Azarenka winning the ‘Sunshine Double’ and rising to No. 5. Belarus has the Top 10 player, but Russia has the depth in their team, meaning that this compelling tie might be decided in the fifth rubber.

Predictions:

Me: I predict that Azarenka will win both her singles matches, while Gasparyan and Kasatkina beat the Belarus No. 2. I think that the tie will be decided in the doubles. I believe that the team of Kasatkina and Vesnina for Russia will beat the Belarussian team of Azarenka and Govortsova or Sasnovich. Russia will win 3-2.

Adam Addicott: Russia wins

Bruno Bergaracha: Russia wins

Diego Sampaolo: Russia wins

Spain – Italy

Nominations: Spain is coming into the tie with both of their best players, Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro. Sara Sorribes Tormo will come in play in case of an injury, and Anabel Medina Garrigues is the doubles specialist of the team. Italy also got their top two players, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani. Since Camila Giorgi refused to attend the tie, Karin Knapp and Francesca Schiavone are in the team.

Venue: This tie will be played in Lleida, Span on an outdoor hard court.

Background: Carla Suarez Navarro and Roberta Vinci had splendid season so far, so it will be very interesting to see those two play each other and how the match goes. Suarez Navarro is also tied to Sara Errani, whom she played doubles with this year so far, so something to look for in their match, if they play each other, will be the chemistry between them throughout the match, the post-match handshake etc.

Predictions:

Me: I predict Spain to roll through Italy this tie, winning the first three rubbers. After 3-0 the dead rubber doubles will be a coin flip. Spain will win 3-0.

Adam Addicott: Spain wins.

Bruno Bergaracha: I hope Spain wills, despite that upsetting a couple of people here at Ubitennis.

Diego Sampaolo: Spain wins.

Romania – Germany

Nominations: Both teams seem to have brought all the players the captains wanted to this tie, just confirming the quality of it. Romania will be led by World No. 6 Simona Halep, Monica Niculescu and Irina-Camelia Begu are going to bring their best to deserve the No. 2 spot on the team. Alexandra Dulgheru will be completing the team. Barbara Rittner also brought the best German players for the tie. Angelique Kerber is the clear No. 1, Andrea Petkovic will most probably be No. 2. Annika Beck and Julia Goerges are also available on the team.

Venue: Romania selected the same venue in Cluj as against Czech Republic. Once again it will be played on indoor clay.

Background: Simona Halep didn’t reach her heights this season, and wasn’t very impressive thus far. Kerber has had her ups and downs. Won the Australian Open and reached semifinals of Miami, but lost to Saisai Zheng and Denisa Allertova this year. Kerber had to retire from Charleston due to viral illness, so we will see if and how she recovered from it.

Predictions:

Me: I feel that this tie could really go either way, Kerber has had a better year, but Halep has the home advantage and the advantage of the surface. Andrea Petkovic, Annika Beck, Monica Niculescu and Irina-Camelia Begu are, I think, all at the same level on clay right now, so whichever will go into their matches can win. I feel this match will come down to doubles, in which I predict Romania winning. Romania will win 3-2.

Adam Addicott: Germany wins.

Bruno Bergaracha: I think Romania will edge Germany on clay.

Diego Sampaolo: Germany wins.

Australia – USA

Nominations: Compared to their last tie with Slovakia, Australia now has the advantage of Daria Gavrilova being able to play in Fed Cup, which might prove to be the deciding factor in this tie. Other than Gavrilova there is also Samantha Stosur for the singles, Casey Dellacqua and Arina Rodionova as doubles players. USA didn’t manage to get neither of the Williams’ sisters, nor Sloane Stephens as the tie is played in Australia. Madison Keys will be the No. 1 of the team, Coco Vandeweghe will most probably play as the No. 2. There is also Christina McHale and the World No. 3 in doubles Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Venue: This tie will be played in the well known Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane. The change from the tournament that is usually played there will be that this tie is going to be played on an outdoor clay court.

Background: This tie seems to be almost ridiculously equal, with Stosur and Keys being the No. 26 and 25, Gavrilova and Vandeweghe being No. 39 and 36, and Dellacqua and Mattek-Sands being the No. 6 and 3 in doubles. Gavrilova seems to be crucial in her debuting tie. Both Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe have their worst results on clay, while Stosur has reached the Roland Garros final in her career and Gavrilova made the semifinal in Madrid last year.

Predictions:

Me: I predict that the score will be 1-1 after Day 1, with Stosur and Keys taking the wins, but on Day 2 it will be the Aussie show with Stosur and Gavrilova getting wins. I predict, unlike my colleagues, that Australia wins 3-1.

Adam Addicott: USA wins.

Bruno Bergaracha: I’m going for a tight USA win in Australia.

Diego Sampaolo: USA wins.

World Group II Play-Offs

In the Play-Offs for World Group II, Serbia without Ivanovic and Jankovic will face strong Belgium led by Wickmayer and Flipkens.

A solid Slovak team of Schmiedlova and Cibulkova in the singles will face a Bouchard-less Canada, without a player in the Top 250 at home.

Poland without the Radwanska sisters and Linette will face Chinese Taipei without Su-Wei Hsieh and Chan sisters. This seems to be the only tie in which the winner is unclear and also the only tie without a Top 100 player playing.

A strong Ukraine team led by Tsurenko and Bondarenko will host Argentina without a Top 200 player on the hard courts.

Fed Cup

Leylah Fernandez wins Billie Jean King Heart Award

The Canadian was recognized by the fans for her part in Canada beating Serbia in the play-off tie last month.

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Leylah Fernandez has been named the winner of the Billie Jean King Heart award voted on by the fans of the game. She played an integral part in Canada beating Serbia 4-0 in the playoff tie last month.

 

18-year-old Fernandez was involved in a poll with Elina Svitolina, Katie Boulter and Magdalena French. The award comes with $3000 which she donated to her favourite charity Table de Concertation en Securite Alimentaire de Villeray in Montreal.

” I was surprised, there were so many great players who were nominated and showed a lot of heart during the competition so I didn’t expect much from my part but I’m happy the fans voted and that I was given this opportunity to show what we are made of so I am excited,” said Fernandez.

ITF president David Haggerty commented on her award saying “Congratulations to Leylah Fernandez for her great performance at the Billie Jean King playoff in April and for being voted the recipient of the Bille Jean King Heart Award. It’s extra special to be voted by the fans and recognized for showing great courage and commitment to your team”.

Heidi El Tabakh the Billie Jean King Cup captain for Canada also reacted to Fernandez winning the award.

” I am so happy and extremely proud of Leylah (Fernandez) for winning the Billie Jean King Heart Award. It was well deserved following a spectacular performance in Serbia which she worked so hard for,” she said.
“Leylah is a fighter on the court, she always represents Canada with pride and is an incredible teammate for her fellow teammates. She is very worthy of this award”.

This is the 12th year the award has been given and it recognizes players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on the court, and demonstrated outstanding commitment to the team during the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas.

So far the the award winners have donated over $200,000 to charities across the world.

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Davis Cup

Tennis Stars Voice Concerns Over Staging Tokyo Olympics

After being delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, top players such as Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori still have reservations.

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The area around the Olympic Rings and Olympic Stadium - (image via olympics.com)

Japan’s top male tennis player Kei Nishikori has questioned how much preparation the IOC and local officials in his home country has prepared for a ‘worst-case’ scenario of hosting the Olympics. 

 

The four-year event has already been postponed by 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some have called for the sporting extravaganza to be scrapped. Recently governors of nine Japanese prefectures said there should be an option to suspend or even cancel the Olympics altogether if cases in the region can’t be kept under control. Three of those governors are in charge of cities set to stage Olympic events. 

Weighing in on the debate, former US Open finalist Nishikori raises doubts over how organisers plan to hold a safe event given the high number of athletes that will be present, which is an estimated 11,000. Japan has already said that overseas fans are banned and international athletes will not be able to bring relatives with them to minimise the risk.

“I don’t know what they are thinking, and I don’t know how much they are thinking about how they are going to make a bubble, because this is not 100 people like these tournaments,” Nishikori said after his first-round match at the Italian Open on Monday.
“It’s 10,000 people in the village. So I don’t think it’s easy, especially what’s happening right now in Japan. It’s not doing good. Well, not even (just) Japan. You have to think all over the world right now.”

The world No.45 expresses a view similar to the of four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka who said earlier this week that she was ‘not sure’ if the event should go ahead due to the current case numbers.  

“I’m an athlete, and of course my immediate thought is that I want to play in the Olympics,” she said.
“But as a human, I would say we’re in a pandemic, and if people aren’t healthy, and if they’re not feeling safe, then it’s definitely a really big cause for concern.”

In the latest figures published by health officials, Tokyo reported 925 news cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday which is an increase of almost 400 compared to the previous day. Although Monday figures are usually low due to the closure of testing centres over the weekend. Tuesday’s number is higher compared to this time last week (609 cases) and two weeks ago (828 cases).

Besides the COVID-19 concerns, the prospect of having to go to the Games without a member of family could result in the absence of four-time gold medallist Serena Williams. The former world No.1 says she is undecided on playing the event and hasn’t been separated from her three-year-old daughter for more than 24 hours before.

“I haven’t spent 24 hours without her, so that kind of answers the question itself,” said Williams.
“I haven’t really thought much about Tokyo, because it was supposed to be last year and now it’s this year, and then there is this pandemic and there is so much to think about.
“Then there are the Grand Slams. It’s just a lot. So I have really been taking it one day at a time to a fault, and I definitely need to figure out my next moves.”

Besides athlete concerns, Olympic organisers are also facing falling public support. A recent poll conducted by newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun found that nearly 60% of respondents wanted the Games to be cancelled. Furthermore TBS news reported 65% of people surveyed in another poll wanted the event either cancelled or suspended again, with 37% supporting the cancellation and 28% in favour of suspension.

The Olympic tennis event is set to start on July 24th. 

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Davis Cup

Top Tennis Tournaments Among 97 Events UK Sport Hopes To Host Over The Next Decade

A plan for the ‘greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments’ in the UK has been published and tennis is among the sports officials are interested in.

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London's O2 Arena, venue of the ATP World Tour Finals between 2009-2020 (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

The government agency responsible for investing in Olympic and Paralympic sport within Great Britain has said they could submit an application to host two team tennis events over the next decade.

 

UK Sport has labelled both the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup Finals as an ‘opportunity’ for them to host in their 10-year strategic plan which will last until 2021. Overall the country is looking at the possibility of staging 97 events across 44 sports over the next 10 years. Those behind the plan believe such a move could generate a total of £7 billion for the UK economy. A live feasibility study is already underway for bidding to host the 2030 football World Cup, 2026 European Athletic Championships and more.

“Together we have achieved so much in Olympic and Paralympic sport. Nevertheless, we are very aware there is no room for complacency and that we must build on our success to create the next exciting phase of high-performance sport,” UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger said in a statement.
“One where we work even more collaboratively and inclusively to keep winning and win well, in ways that will inspire more people and have a broader impact on our society.
“Achieving on the world stage will still sit firmly at the heart of what we do. But we should not underestimate the powerful platform that provides us with, and it is our shared responsibility to better harness this for positive social change.”

When it comes to both the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup, UK Sport has categorized them as a mega event. Meaning they are ‘seen as the pinnacle of their sport at World level and which have significant staging costs, attract more than 100,000 live spectators, entail considerable delivery complexity and require extensive public funding and guarantee commitments.’ At present they have been labelled as an ‘opportunity’ by the agency. Meaning that no decision to bid to host them has been made yet but remains a good possibility.

The government made no reference to what venues could be used, especially regarding the tennis events which will require more than one court due to the change of the tournament in recent years. The finals of the team events now last for a week or so and are done initially in a group format before turning into a knock-out stage.

This year’s Davis Cup finals are taking place across three European cities. However, the women’s equivalent remains in doubt after the ITF ended their contract with the Hungarian Tennis Association who were meant to be holding the event. Hungary recently sent a letter saying it was no longer feasible to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK is best known for its staging of the prestigious Wimbledon Championships, as well as other grass-court events. Furthermore, it also experienced great success in hosting the ATP Finals between 2009-2020 which attracted more than 2.8 million visitors during that period.

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