Fed Cup: CoCo Vandeweghe replaces Keys and completes Australia's disposal by the USA who are back in World Group - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Fed Cup: CoCo Vandeweghe replaces Keys and completes Australia’s disposal by the USA who are back in World Group

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After losing badly the first set Vandeweghe adjusts to Stosur’s serve and increases her serve’s effectiveness to take rubber and tie

 

FED CUP, World Group, play-off
Australia – USA 0-4 (From Brisbane Robbie Cappuccio)

CoCo Vandeweghe: solid as a rock

CoCo Vandeweghe: solid as a rock

After a disappointing Saturday, Australia was trailing two-love and had to show their best to try to level the tie to take it to the decider doubles. “It’s about regrouping and I think believing and trusting ourselves tomorrow” . These were the words by Alicia Molik at the after-match (pardon, rubber) press conference yesterday. For about one hour and a bit trust grew today, to then collapse under Vandeweghe’s strokes. It ended with Stosur in tears and USA back to the World Group.

The fourth singles was not played. In the doubles, Gavrilova/Rodionova lost to Vandeweghe/Mattek-Sands 1-6 4-6 to complete the Aussie debacle.

USA deserved the victory showing more determination, more aggressiveness and more resilience bouncing back twice from one set down. Keys played impressively well (watch out for the upcoming clay season), both McHale and Vandeweghe started slow but regrouped and did not miss a chance when it came up. Gavrilova was possibly a bit too nervous but was clearly out-powered by Keys whilst Stosur started both rubbers perfectly to then melting along the way in the tropical Brisbane heat.

CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Sam Stosur (AUS) 2-6 7-5 6-4
Another beautiful tropical day in Brisbane and the Pat Rafter Arena is crowded and loud. Aussies love tennis and love supporting their team and showing their colours. It’s such a pleasure to see 70 years old ladies all dressed up in green and gold (including wigs) and so competent in the nuances of this beautiful game.

Aussie fans are always colourful, regardless of their age

Aussie fans are always colourful, regardless of their age

The first rubber of the day starts with a surprise, as Coco Vandeweghe takes the court replacing Madison Keys (who is wearing sunglasses instead of the team’s uniform). Stosur starts so determined you would not believed 24 hours earlier she had badly choked. When the rally is longer than 4 shots Vandeweghe is winning it, but Stosur is serving (78% first serve at 170 km/h) and returning so well that seldom a rally is that long. Vandeweghe seems incapable of opposing and the Australian flies up 3-0, then 5-2 and set point: same situation as yesterday. This time she gets it taking advantage of the American sending Stosur’s return a couple of meter long: 6-2 Australia in less than half an hour.
Everybody is expecting Sam’s dip in focus, and guess what? She faces 3 consecutive break points in the first game, but today it’s a different Stosur who is able to regroup and hold serve. Even though Stosur keeps serving well (75% first serve) Vandeweghe has finally adjusted to her serve and returns very effectively. Her serve also grows (4 aces and 78% points won on first serve) with a sliced serve to the forehand and flat to the backhand of Stosur, and the match becomes tight. Let’s face it, it’s not a great match, but the tension keeps the spectators glued to their seats, exploding in chants to support the Australian. “I want to thank the Aussie crowd for cheering against me so hard it was really something special” says a cheeky Coco in the after match interview. At 5-5, yesterday’s Stosur reappears on the court: she makes and then breaks the game, with a double fault, a couple of great winners to lead 40-30 and then unforced errors to lose serve. Vandeweghe thanks for the gift and with a couple of aces takes the set 7-5.

Stosur is now suffering against the American and loses serve straight away and Vanderweghe consolidates. “I was in control in the first but losing set 2 was huge. A match like that can come down to a couple of points” says the Australian at the press conference. Even if the Aussie keeps to love her next three service games, the momentum is on the American side and Vanderweghe even ventures in a serve and volley, with forehand half volley brushing the net and dropping in Stosur serve box. Without much excitement the match goes to 5-4 with Vandeweghe serving for the rubber and the tie. The game is dramatic with the chair umpire Carlos Ramos correcting a double fault (no hawk eye on clay and by the way it was out) and giving Vanderweghe the possibility of replay point. Then on 30 all the American double faults (a total of 6 for her today) rising Australian hopes. Stosur faces the opportunity by sending long an overhead from the service line. She has a second chance this time frustrated by Vanderweghe’s forhand winner (18 winners today for her, 12 for Stusur). A cross court backhand then forces Stosur to the error giving USA the match point and tie point: Vandeweghe’s serve stops on Stosur’s racquet and USA is back to the World Group, leaving the crowd extremely disappointed and Stosur in tears. “It’s disappointing and frustrating but it’s better to go down in a tight one. It does not make it any easier right now, but on the whole I was playing a good tennis” she says at the press conference.

Fed Cup

Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico

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SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Fed Cup

Italian Captain Tathiana Garbin Reveals Rare Tumor Diagnoses After Team’s Loss At BJK Finals

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Former top 30 player and captain of the Italian Billie Jean King Cup team Tathiana Garbin has publically announced that she is battling a serious health issue. 

Just hours after her team lost to Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup final in Seville on Sunday, the 46-year-old issued a statement confirming that she is undergoing treatment for a rare tumor that has been found in her stomach. Garbin had her first surgery in October but will have to undergo further procedures in the coming weeks. 

“I really wish to thank my Federation, which has constantly supported me with extraordinary solidarity and sensitivity,” Gabin said in a statement sent to the news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). 
“Seville was a very important event for me, and I absolutely didn’t want to miss it despite being very close to my operation: the Federation has shown they placed full trust in me. There is nothing that makes me prouder than representing the colors of Italy. “

Gabin says she hopes to raise awareness of medical research and prevention by going public about her condition, as well as hoping to inspire others with her story. She is being treated by Professor Di Candio and Professor Morelli at the Cisanello Hospital in Pisa. 

“I thank my BJ King Cup girls, who have shown me incredible love and support. Their presence and support have been a beacon of positivity in these difficult days,” she said in tribute to her team.
“However, I would like to inform you that I will have to undergo a second surgery, required by the treatment planned by the doctors. Thanks to the rapid recovery I have experienced, I am optimistic about being back on court.”

As a player, Garbin peaked at a ranking high of No.22 in singles and No.25 in doubles. Her sole singles title on the WTA Tour occurred in 2000 when she won the Budapest Open in Hungary. Seven years after that, she reached the fourth round of the French Open in what was her best-ever run at a major event. 

Garbin has served as Italy’s Billie Jean King Cup captain since 2016. 

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Fed Cup

Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic

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

Great Britain has won the last spot in the Davis Cup finals by prevailing in a highly dramatic clash against France in front of a record crowd in Manchester.

With the must-win showdown level at 1-1, the tie was decided by a rollercoaster doubles match with Dan Evans and Neil Skupski battling their way past Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). In what was one of the most tense matches ever involving the British team, four match points were saved by the hosts. Evans fended off three whilst serving 4-5 down in the decider before Skupski saved one when he was serving two games later. To add to the drama, in the decisive tiebreaker Britain lost a mini-break advantage twice before prevailing on their second match point. 

“I don’t know how we’ve won that fight, sheer fight. Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me,” said Skupski.
“The first set wasn’t too good. We regrouped, took a toilet [break] and fought as hard as we could. Dan saving three points in the third set. The rest is history and we’re off to Malaga.” 

The triumph caps off what has been a marathon day at The AO Arena with all three matches going the full distance. A total of more than 13,000 seats was sold for the tie which is a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK. 

Earlier in the day, Evans got Britain off to a perfect start by fighting back from a set and a break down to beat Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in what was a close fight. At the end of the encounter, there was a tense exchange between the two which continued during the doubles match with Evans seen making gestures towards the Frenchman who was watching from the stands. 

France’s sole victor was Ugo Humbert who beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie 7-6(5),3-6, 7-5. A new confidence blow to the British No.1 who has only won back-to-back matches in one out of his past five tournaments. 

“The team is amazing. We get on very well. Everyone’s played a part. It’s all those guys and girls standing there (in the stands) who are amazing.” Captain Leon Smith commented. 

Britain joins Australia in qualifying from Group B to November’s finals which will be held in Malaga. The team has won all three of their ties played in Manchester with their previous wins being over Australia and Switzerland earlier in the week. 

In total, eight teams have secured their place in the finals. Group stages have also been held in Spain, Croatia and Italy with the top two nations from each of those events progressing. 

Britain is seeking to win the Davis Cup title for only the second time in the Open Era after 2015. 

List of teams through to the knockout stages in Malaga

  • Great Britain
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

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