Davis Cup Final: Gasquet, Herbert to fight Bemelmans, De Loore in crucial doubles tie - UBITENNIS
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Davis Cup Final: Gasquet, Herbert to fight Bemelmans, De Loore in crucial doubles tie

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(Ruben Bemelmans, Joris de Loore – photo via zimbio.com)

Belgium’s David Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France accomplished comfortable victories on Friday to leave the Davis Cup final evenly balanced at 1-1 going into Saturday’s crucial doubles rubber. Will the pair of Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert be able to hand over the advantage to the hosts by winning the match or will the duo of Ruben Bemelmans and Joris de Loore power the Belgians to a 2-1 lead this afternoon?

 

Saturday’s pivotal doubles rubber will see the French team of Gasquet and Herbert, a surprise combination chosen by their captain Yannick Noah taking on Belgium’s Bemelmans and De Loore. While it is true that neither of the two combinations participated in the semifinals, still the Belgian decision to bring in De Loore in place of Arthur de Greef is reasonably understandable whereas the French change is quite baffling to say the least.

Noah’s decision to opt for Gasquet at the expense of Nicolas Mahut hasn’t gone unnoticed in the media and the people are questioning his decision even before the start of the rubber. And it is quite normal to see the fans react in such a manner because Mahut is one of the finest doubles players of the current era and secondly, why would you chose a combination of players that have never played before for such an important clash.

One of the greatest exponents of doubles play, World No. 6, Mahut has been a regular member of the French Davis Cup squad, appearing in all three earlier rounds, and triumphing in all three doubles’ rubbers. Mahut joined forces with Herbert twice to defeat Japan and Serbia and then partnered Julien Benneteau to beat Great Britain in the quarters. Mahut’s ouster is all the more surprising considering the fact that Herbert had recently withdrawn from the ATP Finals citing a lower back injury and will enter the vital doubles encounter with some questions to answer about his fitness.

On the other hand, the Belgians opted for Bemelmans and De Loore for the doubles. The pair participated in the initial two rounds, registering a huge win over the Zverev brothers in the first round against Germany in Frankfurt. De Loore couldn’t play in the semis against Australia due to a knee injury that needed a surgery in September. He hasn’t played any form of competitive tennis since then, but Belgians believe that he has trained extremely hard to regain his spot in the squad.

With the home crowd right behind them, France would definitely have a slight edge over the Belgian duo. However, had the French stuck to Mahut and Herbert as a pair, they would have been overwhelming favorites to win this rubber. But, Noah’s big change has given Belgium a real opportunity to gain the upper hand in the tie. At the moment France can only hope that both Gasquet and Herbert will be able to strike a chemistry to prevent an upset on Saturday.

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Canada beats Italy 2-1 in the opening day of the Davis Cup in Madrid

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Denis Shapovalov battled past Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5) in a hard-fought second match of the round-robin Group F at the Davis Cup in Madrid to give Canada a 2-0 lead over Italy

 

Berrettini faced three break points in the third game of the opening set. Shapovalov earned two break points in the ninth game, but Berrettini held on his serve at deuce. Both players held on their service games. In the 10th game Berrettini earned three set points on return, but Shapovalov fended them off. Barrettini saved another break point to set up a tie-break. Shapovalov took a 6-3 lead earning three set points. Berrettini won two consecutive points to claw his way back to 5-6, but Shapovalov sealed the tie-break with a backhand passing shot.

Both players went on seve setting up a second tie-break. Berrettini got an early mini-break, but Shapovalov broke straight back. Berrettini took another mini-break to take a 3-2 when Shapovalov hit a volley into the net and sealed the second set 7-3 on his first set point.

Shapovalov earned a break point in the fifth game of the third set with a forehand winner. Berrettini held on his serve with his 11th ace. Both players went on serve in the next games setting up a third tie-break. Berrettini got the first mini-break to take a 4-3 lead after a double fault from Shapovalov. The young Canadian player broke straight back, when Berrettini made a forehand volley error. Shapovalov sealed the tie-break 7-5, when Berrettini fired his forehand long on his first match point after 2 hours.

“After making semifinals in the Madrid Mutua Open here, and winning the Junior Davis Cup in 2015, I feel like Madrid is a really good city for me. We will see how this week goes, but it’s a good step today”, said Shapovalov.

Fognini and Berrettini won the doubles match over beating Shapovalov and Pospisil 6-2 3-6 6-3. The Italian team got a double break to win the first set 6-2. Shapovalov and Pospisil drew level by winning the second set with a break in the eighth game. Italy saved two break points in the seventh game of the decisive set before breaking serve in the eighth game. Berrettini sealed the win for Italy with an ace.

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claim their first ATP Finals title in London

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The French team formed by Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claimed their first men’s doubles title with a 6-3 6-4 win over Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in 70 minutes at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London ending the 2019 ATP season on a high note with back-to-back titles in Paris Bercy and London. They remained unbeaten during the whole week at the ATP Finals in London winning all five matches in straight sets.

 

Herbert and Mahut fended off all four break points they faced scoring their ninth consecutive match win. The French doubles specialists have become the first team to win the doubles ATP Finals title without dropping a set since Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 2015.

Herbert and Mahut fended off break points in the third game of the match before earning the only break of the opening set in the next game. The Frenchmen saved a break point in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game.

They have become the French team to win the ATP Finals doubles title since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who triumphed in Shanghai in 2005.

Herbert and Mahut have won 15 doubles titles as a team during their career. This year they became the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam at last January’s Australian Open and also won the Rolex Paris Masters in front of their home fans.

Last year they came within one point of winning the ATP Finals title against Mike Bryan and Jack Sock after holding a match point.

“Thank you Nicolas for sharing the court, for having so much enjoyable moments and giving me so much joy, when I am with you on the court. You played an unbelievable final, so thank you for that”, said Pierre Hugues Herbert.

 

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Jannik Sinner wins his third ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Jannik Sinner won the ATP Challenger in Ortisei adding another title to his impressive collection of trophies he lifted during a memorable 2019 season.

 

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion beat world number 173 Sebastian Ofner from Austria 6-2 6-4 in 1 hour and 6 minutes in the final of the Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena Sudtirol at the Tennis Center in Ortisei.

Sinner won his third ATP Challenger title in 2019 after his previous wins in Bergamo and Lexington. He also reached the final in Ostrava. During the tournament the 18-year-old player from San Candido beat Lucas Miedler in the first round, Roberto Marcora in the second round, Federico gaio in the quarter final and Antoine Hoang in the semifinal without dropping a set.

Sinner will improve his ranking to his career-high at world number 78 in the ATP Ranking becoming the sixth best ranked Italian player after Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi.

Sinner broke serve in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner missed two game points in the seventh game. The Austrian player faced another break point after his third double fault. In the next game Sinner saved the first break point he faced. Sinner closed out the first set 6-2 after two backhand errors from Ofner in the eighth game.

Sinner went up a break to open up a 2-0 lead, but Ofner broke back in the fourth game and held on his serve to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner saved three break points in the seventh game to take a 4-3. Sinner converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and served out the win with two consecutive aces.

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