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Venus Williams Is Ready To ‘Kill It’ Following Australian Open Run

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Venus Williams (zimbio.com)

Venus Williams’ thirst for success on the women’s tour has intensified following her loss to sister Serena in the final of the Australian Open.

 

The 36-year-old produced her best run in a major tournament since the 2009 Wimbledon championships. On route to the final, Williams enjoyed wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Coco Vandeweghe. Becoming the oldest Melbourne finalist in the Open Era, the world No.17 (who will rise to 11th next week) is eager to take her momentum into the rest of the season.

“It’s a great start to the year.” She said. “ I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. This is like tournament number two and it’s already a lot of work. I’m looking forward to tournament number three and four. It’s going to be awesome.”

Williams’ two-week performance comes as she manages her physical issues. At the start of the year she had to withdraw from the ASB Classic in New Zealand due to an arm injury. She also revealed that she was receiving treatment on the issue throughout the Australian Open. Sidestepping the injury discussion during her runners-up press conference, the resilient American is determined to have a triumphant year.

“(I’m) Ready to kill it this year. That’s my goal. Who goes into the year and says, Oh, my God, it’s not going to be a good year? Who says that? Not me.” She explained.

Reflecting on her final showdown with Serena, which was their 29th meeting on the WTA tour, Williams has hit back at criticisms over the start of the match. Four breaks of serves kicked-off the final with both players struggling to find rhythm and consistency on the court at the Rod Laver Arena.

“I think just in general we go for a lot, so there’s going to be some errors. There’s no counter-punching. There’s no pushing. There’s just aggression. You’re going to see some great shots and at times you’re going to see some errors. But those errors are very close. They’re near-misses.”

Losing in a major final to your sister is somewhat of a consolation for Williams, even if it wasn’t the result she desired. During stages, the 36-year-old was outplayed by her rivals aggressive shots and fast play. Still, she refuses to be downbeat about her 6-4, 6-4, loss.

“I feel like I had opportunities, for sure. Just missed some shots. But it’s not like I missed shots that I wasn’t going for. I went for those shots. It’s a matter of inches.” Williams positively said.

Nearing a return to the top 10 for the first time since September, she has hinted that she will not be playing in the Fed Cup ‘at the moment‘, opening the door for others to fill her space.

2017 is Williams’ 23rd year on the WTA Tour. Throughout her career, she has won 49 WTA titles, including seven grand slams.

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The Russian Tennis Federation scores come-back win over Spain to secure quarter final spot in the Davis Cup

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Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev fought back from one set down to beat Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez 4-6 6-2 6-4 in front of a capacity crowd at the Madrid Arena securing a spot in the quarter final for the Russian Tennis Federation in Group A at the Davis Cup by Rakuten. 

 

The Russian Tennis Federation set up a quarter final clash against Sweden. Spain has been eliminated and will not defend the title won in 2019. 

Spain earned the only break when Lopez hit a forehand return into the tramlines. The Spanish 40-year-old veteran player served out the first set 6-4 when Rublev hit a return long. 

The Russian team earned two breaks to win the second set 6-2. Karatsev earned the decisive break in the 10th game with a backhand winner down the line in the 10th game at 00:40 in the night. 

“We are really happy to be in the quarter finals. We are going to do our best to go further. Two years ago we were in the semifinals so we will see if we can do this result, but every player from usi s giving 100% so that’s the most important thing”, said Rublev. 

In the opening singles match Lopez came back from one set down to beat Rublev 2-6 6-3 6-4. Lopez hit 14 aces and won 82% of his first serve points. 

Rublev earned an early break in the first game and broke again to open up a 4-1 lead after two double faults in the first set. 

Lopez hit a crosscourt volley at 15-15 and broke serve to take a 4-2 lead. The Spaniard held serve after four deuces in a long seventh game to race out to a 5-2 lead. Lopez hit a huge ace out wide to close out the second set 6-3. Lopez went up a 2-1 lead with a break in the third game of the decisive set and held his next three service games. He did not convert two match points on Rublev’s serve at 5-3 and was forced to save a break point on his own serve, but he was able to hold serve at deuce with an unreturnable serve out wide. 

“This is over any espectation to be honest. For me it was already amazing to be here represening my country at 40 years old.  I did not expect to be the one playing the singles and I had to take the role. Playing against Andrey at this stage of my career in my home town, it’s over any expectations”, said Lopez. 

Danil Medvedev beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2 7-6 (7-3) in just an hour and a half in the second singles match to draw level the tie to 1-1. Medvedev hit 14 winners and broke five times. 

Medvedev raced out to a 5-0 lead with three breaks. Carreno Busta pulled one of the breaks back in the sixth game and saved three break points to hold serve in the seventh game. Medvedev rallied from one break down with a break back in the fifth game. Medvedev broke for the second time to take a 5-3 lead. Carreno Busta converted his fourth break-back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Medvedev cruised through to a 5-0 lead with three mini-breaks. Carreno Busta saved two match pointsa at 6-3, but Medvedev sealed the tie-break 7-3 on his third opportunity. 

“Everybody is super happy, because that’s how we all are in the team, all five players. If I am not mistaken, we needed to win just one game to be through. Yet we won a match, and that’s all you need to know about us. We want to win, no matter it’s an exhibition match, a match that doesn’t count maybe for the tie, or an important match. Our goal is to win. It’s very important for the confidence of the team to win against such team as Spain. Even if they didn’t have their best line-up, they are playing at home, and to beat them means a lot”, said Medvedev. 

Serbia sets up quarter final over Germany

Two-time Roland Garros doubles champions Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz beat the Austrian team formed by Phillp Oswald and 2018 Australian Open doubles champion Oliver Marach 6-3 6-4 with a break in each set in Group F to secure a spot in the quarter finals for Germany in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals. 

Krawietz and Puetz won 82% of his first serve points and did not face a break point to beat Oswald and Marach in 85 minutes sealing a 2-1 win for Germany over Austria. The German team had beaten Novak Djokovic and Nikola Cacic in a crucial match against Serbia on Saturday. 

Germany will take on Great Britain in the quarter finals on Tuesday in a repeat of the match of the 2019 Davis Cup last eight match in Madrid. 

“I am not sure about being on top of the world but we are pretty happy right now and deservedly so. We deserve to be happy right now and to enjoy tonight. Tomorow we will start preparing for Great Britain”, said Puetz. 

Earlier world number 139 Jurij Rodionov beat Dominik Koepfer 6-1 7-5 in 87 minutes to give an early lead. Rodionov, who was making his first appearance in the Davis Cup, hit six aces and saved four of the five break points he faced. 

Rodionov broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Rodionov went up a break to take a 2-1 lead. Koepfer, who beat Filip Krajinovic during Germany’s victory over Serbia on Saturday, broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4, but he was not able to convert two set points before Rodionov broke serve in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5.  

“Winning my first Davis Cup match is really a dream come true. It was one on the biggest goals in my career and it is always very special playing for my country and representing Austria in Davis Cup”, said Rodionov. 

Jan Lennard Struff hit eight aces to beat Dennis Nowak 7-5 6-4 in 74 minutes. Struff earned his first break in the opening game. Novak broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Struff earned a second break to win the first set 7-5. Struff broke once in the third game and held his next service games to win the second set 6-4. 

“I am very happy. It is tough as expected against Austria. Dennis is a good friend of mine, but I am very happy with my performance today. I played aggressively and I tried to put a pressure on Dennis from the beginning”, said Struff.

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‘We Competed Like Animals’ – Defending Champions Spain Knocked Out Of Davis Cup Finals

The Spanish team reacts to missing out on a place in the last eight of the team event.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2021 at Madrid Arena on November 28, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Mateo Villalba / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

The captain of the Spanish Davis Cup team says he is proud of his players’ performances after their 2-1 loss to the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) on Sunday.

 

Spain, who won the last edition of the Davis Cup Finals back in 2019, narrowly missed out on a place in the last eight after losing a decisive doubles match against Russia. The host nation got off to a strong start with 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez stunning Andrey Rublev 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. However, Russia battled back with world No.2 Daniil Medvedev levelling the tie with a 6-2, 7-6(3), win over Pablo Carreno-Busta. Then in the doubles Rublev and Aslan Karatsev battled back from a set down to prevail 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, over Lopez and Marcel Granollers.

Despite the defeat, captain Sergi Bruguera has hailed his team after experiencing what he describes as ‘issues.’ Their rising star Cartlos Alcaraz was forced to withdraw from the competition after testing positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Roberto Bautista Agut, who was part of the winning team two years ago, was also forced to pull out after suffering a training accident.

“The truth is I couldn’t be more proud of my team. We have been through a lot of issues. I think we competed like animals both days,” said Bruguera.
“We won 3-0 (against Ecuador) and we lost 2-1, 6-4 in the third in the doubles. Because of that, and we are out, we still like don’t understand.’
“But my team competed incredibly both days. Today (Sunday) was excellent. I mean, I couldn’t put one bad in anything, 10 points the attitude, the compromise, how they play, the level of game of all my players. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Lopez, who made his Davis Cup debut back in 2003, shared his captain’s disappointment with them narrowly losing out of a place in the last eight due to the format. The 18-team event has been split into six groups of three. The winner of each group will progress to the quarter-finals along with the two highest-scoring second place teams.

“Unfortunately playing in this format, sometimes you do what you have to do, and you don’t get the price,” said Lopez. “This is what happened, winning 3-Love and losing 2-1 the way we lost is really rare not to qualify. This is why we are so disappointed now, especially myself giving one point to my team and then going one set up in the doubles. We were very close, but it was not enough.”
“I don’t want this to sound as an excuse, of course, because there’s no excuses when you lose in any sport, but it’s really disappointing to be out of the Davis Cup the way we are.”

As for the Russian Tennis Federation, they will take on Sweden who are the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition. The country is seeking only their third Davis Cup title and first since 2006.

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Croatia sets up a Davis Cup quarter final clash against Italy in Turin

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Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic moved past Fabian Marozsan and Peter Nagy 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 after 1 hour and 30 minutes to give Croatia a 2-1 win over Hungary at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. Croatia set up a quarter final match against Italy on Monday afternoon. 

 

“We wanted to win and give a statement and now we will go into tomorrow’s match with confidence. We won a tight first set but we are happy to win”, said Mektic. 

Croatia’s Nino Serdarusic won 95% of his first service points and earned a break in each set to cruise past Fabian Marozsan 6-4 6-4. Serdarusic’s win secured Croatia the quarter final spot. 

Zsombor Piros rallied from one set down to beat Marin Cilic 4-6 7-5 6-4 levelling the tie to 1-1 after the first singles matches. 

Cilic earned an early break to take a 3-0 lead and earned a set point on Piros’ serve at 5-2. Piros saved it to hold serve and broke back in the eighth game. Cilic broke for the second time to close out the first set 6-4. 

Piros earned a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2. Cilic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Piros broke for the second time in the 11th game to win the second set 7-5. 

Cilic opened up a 4-1 lead with a break in the fourth game. Piros broke straight back to draw level to 4-4 before reaching 0-40 on Cilic’s serve. Cilic got back to serve and saved a fourth break point. Piros earned her fifth break point with a cross court retun and converted it when Cilic sent a forehand into the tramlines. Piros served out the win on his sixth match point.

 “I have no words, to be honest. It seems impossible at the start of the match. I barely put in the court. I was a bit nervous, even if it was not a big match for my team as there was no pressure on us. I did not play against a high-quality player as Marin until today, and it was a pleasure to share the court with him. It’s an amazing feeling to be here as a winner. I don’t believe it. I will believe it in a few days”, said Piros. 

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