Mahut/Benneteau See Off Murray/Inglot In Four Sets To Seal Davis Cup Win For France Over Great Britain - UBITENNIS
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Davis Cup

Mahut/Benneteau See Off Murray/Inglot In Four Sets To Seal Davis Cup Win For France Over Great Britain

Joshua Coase



Nicolas Mahut and Julian Benneteau secured a four set win over Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot 7-6(7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 to give France an unassailable 3-0 lead in their Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal tie with Great Britain.


The doubles rubber was a hotly contested affair and both teams had their chances. Great Britain squandered four set points in the first set before making sure they took their chances in the second. Murray/Inglot looked in control leading 4-2 in the third set but Mahut/Benneteau responded magnificently, winning five of the next six games to move two sets to one in front. The fourth set was equally as close, but when it looked destined to go to a tiebreak Mahut stepped up and helped inspire a crucial break of serve for the French pair to wrap up the win and book France’s place in the semifinals against Serbia.

Heading into the third rubber the pressure was very much on the British pair of Murray/Inglot to get the win, as the 2015 champions found themselves 2-0 down after day one. Straight set victories for Lucas Pouille over Kyle Edmund and for Jeremy Chardy over Dan Evans left Mahut/Benneteau with the chance to book France’s place in the semifinals. Both sides boasted a good recent record as partnerships, with the French pair wining the ATP title in Marseille in February and the British pair winning both their previous doubles rubbers together in the Davis Cup against Canada and Serbia. All four players quality made a for a really tough battle and a highly engaging contest.

All four players served very impressively at the beginning of the match and neither side looked like they were going to be broken in the opening eleven games of the match. That pattern looked set to continue when France were serving to stay in the set down 6-5 as the team led 40-0. However, two double faults in the next three points brought us to deuce for the first time in the match. Murray/Inglot applied the pressure and managed to bring up a set point on three occasions for Great Britain. The French pairing of Mahut/Benneteau saved the first two with high quality play but the Brits had a an excellent chance on the third opportunity. Inglot had his sights set on ripping a backhand at the two onrushing French players but his one handed backhand hit the net. The chances went begging and France held to force a tiebreak.

Great Britain took command early on and moved 4-1 in front. But, as Pouille had done against Edmund in their singles match yesterday from a similar position, the French pair turned it around and brought up a set point of their own at 6-5. The French pair thought they had secured the set after Mahut hit a cross court backhand return of serve winner, but it missed the outside edge of the line by an inch. A huge serve from Inglot brought Great Britain a fourth set point, but once again Inglot/Murray could not capitalise. When the French pair got a second chance they did not hesitate as the former number one doubles player in the world Mahut struck a volley at Inglot, who could not reply, sealing the first set for France in the breaker 9-7.

Once again in the second set opportunities to break serve were at a premium as all four players impressed when stepping up to the line. In the eleventh game a double fault from Benneteau pushed the French pair back to deuce before the Brits stepped up and earned a first break point in the set. Having squandered three opportunities in set number one, the visiting side made no mistake this time as Inglot struck a lob winner to take a 6-5 lead. Murray had only lost four points throughout the whole match on serve and kept that form going, closing out the set with an unreturned serve to level the match at one set all.

Having looked so strong on serve throughout the match, the Brits came under the most intensive pressure to date in the fourth game of the third set. Inglot’s first serve had deserted him and as a result the pair found themselves 15-40 down. The Brits responded and battled to save both break points with overhead smash put-aways. They then squandered a chance to hold but eventually made it out of the game to level the scores at 2-2.

That escape for the Brits proved to be a turning point as Inglot/Murray responded to break Mahut’s serve for the first time in the match. The game was highly competitive and saw plenty of chances for the French pair to hold pass them by. A lob from Inglot brought up game point and an exceptional reflex volley from Murray secured the break and a 3-2 lead. Great Britain were not out of the woods yet as Inglot came under further pressure on serve down two break points. Yet once again the Brit stepped up when it mattered most, firing down four big first serves to secure the hold and remain in front.

The Brits could not keep getting themselves in danger on serve and keep escaping and this came back to bite them in the eighth game. A one-two combination off Murray’s serve and Inglot’s volley winner saved one break point, but the French pair took a second chance, seeing the Brits drop serve for the first time in the match after two hours and 18 minutes of play. Mahut held to love to move the home team 5-4 in front, asking the question, but Inglot responded with love hold of his own to level the scores once more.

In the twelfth game, with Great Britain serving to stay in the third set, the French team stepped up and moved to two set points. After a tentative volley from Inglot, Mahut had the chance to win the point but missed his forehand cross court just wide. The Brits then saved a second with a good first serve from Murray and swiftly moved to game point. Mahut hit a bullet forehand at Inglot to force the score back to deuce before he struck another superb forehand down the line winner to bring up a third set point. A very untimely double fault from the Scot ended the set on a very disappointing note for Great Britain as they found themselves two sets to one down.

The fourth set was equally as competitive and looked as though it was destined for another tiebreak as the British pair brought up two game points on Murray’s serve. After those two chances went begging the French team sensed that now was the moment to secure victory. Mahut produced some fine shot making to bring up a first match point. The Brits saved that one but Mahut was relentless with his fierce groundstrokes. Determined to seal the tie, the Wimbledon men’s doubles champion played a huge part in taking the next two points to seal a fantastic win for France 7-6(7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-5. Of course that win secured an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie for France over Great Britain, meaning that tomorrow’s two singles matches will be dead rubbers.

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.




The area around the Olympic Rings and Olympic Stadium - (image via

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.




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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Davis Cup

Davis Cup Finals To Become Three-City Event From 2021

Austria and Italy join Spain in hosting the finale of the men’s team competition.




The International Tennis Federation has approved a plan to transform the Davis Cup finals into a three-city event with it taking place over a longer duration.


Starting from 2021 the finals of the 121-year-old men’s team competition will be held across three European venues which are set to have ‘similar conditions.’ Madrid, who hosted the event back in 2019, will remain the location for both the semi-finals and finals. Additionally, Turin in Italy and Innsbruck in Austria will co-host the event with each of them staging two of the six groups, as well as one quarter-final.

The development is the latest change made by the ITF in partnership with Kosmos, who have pledged to invest $3 billion in the sport over a 25-year period. Kosmos is the key driving force being the recent transformation of the competition and was founded by footballer Gerard Pique.

“The proposals announced in January were aimed at providing a better schedule for players while bringing the competition to new audiences and improving the experience for fans. Following a thorough bid process, we are delighted to be able to confirm Innsbruck and Turin as co-hosts alongside Madrid. We are confident that, together, they will deliver an outstanding world championship event for players and fans alike.” ITF Senior Executive Director, Professional Tennis, Kris Dent, said in a statement.

As a result of Turin’s and Innsburk’s inclusion in the finals, the competition has been extended from seven days to 11 days. A total of 18 teams are set to take part in the finals which wasn’t held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From next year the number of teams will be reduced to 16. The ITF confirmed the schedule of tournaments will be issued in the ‘coming weeks.’

Former French Open champion Albert Costa says the two cities have been selected to ‘ensure a smooth transition’ between countries for players. Costa, who is Director of the Davis Cup Finals, has stressed that the conditions of each venue are similar to each other.

We are very excited to bring the Davis Cup Finals to Innsbruck and Turin. Both cities submitted impressive bids that not only promise a world class experience for players and fans, but also include stringent measures to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance,” said Costa.
“It was important to find two European cities that were well connected to Madrid, with similar playing conditions, to provide a smooth transition for players travelling from other venues. With confirmation of the three venues, we are already working hard to offer the best possible event in 2021. We are also liaising closely with the Region of Madrid and the City Council as thanks to their support, Madrid remains as the main venue for this year.”

There are questions about if the move will be enough to attract the top names. Due to the extension, the event will result in the off-season being reduced by a week. A key period for many players who used it for training.There are also questions about the decision to launch a multi-county tournament this year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will each country having their own rules.

The Davis Cup finals are set to take place between November 25th and December 5th.

Venues of 2021 Davis Cup Finals

Madrid Arena, Madrid (ESP)

  • Group A: Spain, Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), Ecuador
  • Group B: Canada, Kazakhstan, Sweden
  • Quarter-finals: Winner Group A v group runner-up; Winner Group B v group runner-up
  • Semi-finals and final

Olympia-Halle, Innsbruck (AUT)

  • Group C: France, Great Britain, Czech Republic
  • Group F: Serbia, Germany, Austria
  • Quarter-final: Winner Group C v Winner Group F

Pala Alpitour Arena, Turin (ITA)

  • Group D: Croatia, Australia, Hungary
  • Group E: USA, Italy, Colombia
  • Quarter-final: Winner Group D v Winner Group E

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