ATP Rome Draw: Andy Murray And Novak Djokovic Suffer Tough Draws - UBITENNIS
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ATP Rome Draw: Andy Murray And Novak Djokovic Suffer Tough Draws

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Can Andy Murray defend his title in Rome? (Zimbio)

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic suffered tough draws ahead of the masters 1000 event in Rome.

 

First Quarter

The first quarter of the Rome draw sees the world number one and defending champion Andy Murray. The struggling Brit could have a tricky match in his first match as Rome champion as he could face erratic Italian Fabio Fognini in the second round. Fognini will have to get past fellow Italian Matteo Berretini first before setting up a blockbuster match with Murray. Also in this half of the draw we have the dangerous youngster Alexander Zverev, he will face a qualifier in round one and could set up a possible second round with Viktor Troicki.

Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic complete the seeds in this quarter. Berdych has got Mischa Zverev and could face Robin Haas in round two, while Milos Raonic will play either Tommy Haas or Ivo Karlovic in a second round match.

Given the form Murray is in you would have to say he is a draw loser in this instance with the likes of Alexander Zverev and Milos Raonic lurking in this section of the draw.

Second Quarter

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw we have Stan Wawrinka, the third seed in Rome. He would of liked a good draw this week, however he could face the man that beat him in Madrid, Benoit Paire. The controversial Frenchman will have to get past compatriot Nicolas Mahut before meeting Wawrinka for a second week in a row. Also in the Wawrinka section of this quarter you have an all German match between Florian Mayer and Phillip Kohlschreiber, with the winner playing the returning John Isner or 14th seed Albert Ramos-Viñolas.

In the other section we have ninth seed David Goffin, who is one of the best clay court players on tour right now, he has a qualifier in the first round. If Goffin was to win he would play either Fernando Verdasco or Donald Young. Completing this quarter sees Ryan Harrison facing a qualifier with the winner facing sixth seed Marin Cilic.

A draw winner here would be David Goffin, given his form and the fact that Marin Cilic is a favourable draw to have considering the Croat isn’t best suited to this surface. You wouldn’t bet against the Belgian reaching the quarterfinals in Rome.

Third Quarter

The bottom half of the draw opens up with eighth seed Dominic Thiem, who looks dangerous once again on the European red clay courts. However he could open up against dangerous Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, who is looking dangerous in Madrid. Should Thiem reach the third round he could face Lucas Pouille, who plays Sam Querrey in the first round. Pouille could play controversial Australian Bernard Tomic in round two.

In the other part of this quarter we have 13th seed Jack Sock who will play Argentinian Diego Schwartzman. The winner of this contest will play the winner of Dan Evans’ match with Jiri Vesely. The king of clay Rafael Nadal closes out the seeds in this quarter and will face either Andreas Seppi or a qualifier.

Nadal is certainly a draw winner here until the quarterfinals where Thiem or Cuevas could await the red hot Spaniard.

Fourth Quarter

Kei Nishikori is the opening seed in this quarter, he might be a doubt going into Rome after suffering wrist inflammation, but if he does play he will play the winner of the all Spanish clash between David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez. It is a loaded part of the quarter this as 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov will play Juan Martin Del Potro. The winner plays either Joao Sousa or Kyle Edmund.

15th seed Pablo Carreño Busta is also in this quarter he has a brutal test against Gilles Simon awaiting in the first round, with a match against Nick Kyrgios or Roberto Bautista Agut awaiting the winner. Novak Djokovic closes the draw out, he plays Gianluca Mager or a qualifier in the second round.

In this fun section of the draw it is anyone’s game. You would have to favour Grigor Dimitrov or Pablo Carreño Busta to challenge Novak Djokovic, although despite his state of mind don’t count out the dangerous Nick Kyrgios.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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(@HeartThamesNews - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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Canada Thumps Australia To Win Historic Davis Cup Title 

The dream of the North American team has finally become a reality.

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MALAGA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 27: Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 at Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena on November 27, 2022 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

109 years after making their Davis Cup debut, Canada has finally claimed the trophy after producing two clinical wins over Australia in the final on Sunday. 

 

The duo of Denis Shapovalov and Felix-Auger Aliassime both shined in their matches to give the North American nation an unassible 2-0 lead in the three-match tie. It is the first time Canada has won the title with 2022 being only the second time they have reached the final. Three years ago they missed out on the title to Spain. 

“The emotions are tough to describe,” said Auger-Aliassime. “All of us here, we’ve dreamt of this. All of these guys grew up together dreaming of this moment, dreaming of winning the Davis Cup. It’s a great moment for me and my country…. I am happy we were able to get our first Davis Cup with this group.”

Shapovalov kicked-off the final with a 90-minute 6-2, 6-4, win over Thanasi Kokkinakis who also lost his semi-final match against Borna Coric. The world No.18 blasted 28 winners past his opponent and broke him four times in the match. Besides handing Canada the crucial lead, it was a much-needed confidence boost for Shapovalov who earlier in the week lost to Lorenzo Sonego and Jan-Lennard Struff. 

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Shapovalov. “I had a long one against Sonego yesterday and was struggling with my back a little bit. So huge credit to the medical staff for putting me back in shape. There were a lot of doubts if I’d be ready to play today. It was amazing to play pain-free today.”

Closing in on the title, Felix Auger-Aliassime secured victory for his country with a 6-3, 6-4, triumph over world No.24 Alex de Minaur. Producing a total of six aces and saving all eight break points he faced. 

https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/1596895388077674497

Canada’s run to their first title occurred with a bit of luck on their side. Originally they were eliminated from the finals after losing to the Netherlands at the start of this year. However, they received a wildcard to play in the group stages following the removal of Russia from the competition. Russia and Belarus are currently suspended from team events due to the war in Ukraine. 

In Group B they scored wins over South Korea and Spain to secure a place in the finale this week. Before dismissing Australia, they beat Italy 2-1 in the semi-finals and Germany 2-1 in the quarter-finals. 

“From juniors it was our dream, growing up watching Vasek (Pospisil), Milos (Raonic), and [Daniel Nestor] taking Canada to new [heights],” Shapovalov said. “We wanted to grow up and help the country win the first title. It’s so surreal right now. After we lost in the final in 2019, we really wanted this bad. It’s such a team effort; everyone was putting in 120 percent every day.”

Canada’s team captain is former player Frank Dancevic who has held the role since 2017. 

 “This is a historic moment,” Dancevic commented on the achievement. “We’ve never won this title in the past. It’s the first time for us. It’s an incredible feeling.”

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