Goffin to face Pouille in Davis Cup Final opener - UBITENNIS
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Goffin to face Pouille in Davis Cup Final opener

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(David Goffin – photo via zimbio.com)

ATP Finals runner-up David Goffin will face World No. 18 Lucas Pouille in the opening singles rubber of the Davis Cup final on Friday. Can Goffin lead Belgium to their first ever Davis Cup title triumph or will France’s superior squad lead the host nation to their 10th victory in the prestigious event?

 

Goffin and Pouille’s great friendship will be put to an enormous test this afternoon when they will square-off to claim the biggest prize of their respective careers. Goffin, who has lost to Pouille on all three occasions in the past on the ATP tour, is the main man standing between Davis Cup glory and France.

While acknowledging his past struggles against Pouille, Goffin also appeared confident of overturning the tide in his favor this time around. Speaking to the media on the eve of the tie, Goffin said: “We’re friends and I’m sure we’ll be friends after the match as well. I’ve never beaten Lucas so I will try to find a solution to find my best tennis.”

“I’m happy to start the first match again,” Goffin added. “I spoke with Steve (Darcis) beforehand and he preferred that I start and he played second. It won’t be easy, two years ago I played first in the final and I was tired. This time I will try to be a little more relaxed and play as good match as I can from the start.”

Goffin has been simply sensational not just on the ATP circuit, becoming only the sixth player ever to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the same tournament, but has been outstanding in Davis Cup play as well, compiling an impressive 4-0 win/loss record. However, without his compatriot Steve Darcis it wouldn’t have been possible for Belgium to make it this far in the esteemed team competition.

With Goffin unavailable in their first-round tie against Germany, Darcis stunned the tennis world with his twin victories over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Alexander Zverev as Belgium secured a seemingly unlikely win. Since then he has accumulated an excellent 4-1 record in 2017, stretching his overall record to 22-9 in Davis Cup play.

Meanwhile, France has advanced to the tournament finals on the back of the depth in their squad. With the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Pouille, Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon all playing at some point in the tourney, it allowed the Yannick Noah led side to overcome the stiff challenge, especially from Serbia when Dusan Lajovic claimed an upset victory over Pouille in their opening rubber, before Tsonga came to their rescue by winning both his singles rubbers.

Heading into the final against Belgium, there was a lot of talk about massive changes in the French squad before Noah ended all speculation by selecting Gasquet as his other singles player who will compete against Darcis in the second singles rubber. Even though, the head-to-head between the two players is tied at one-all, French captain Noah sounded confident about his decision to select Gasquet for the crucial tie. Noah said: “Today I decided to choose the two best singles players and the two best doubles players. I think (Gasquet and Herbert) have a game that compliments each other very well.

In Davis Cup play, France has a slight edge over Belgium with their superior 4-3 head-to-head record against them, including victories in a World Group semifinal in 1999 and an opening round tie in 2001. However, tennis is all about the momentum and at the present juncture, Belgium has the momentum with Goffin playing the best tennis of his career. He would also want to shrug off the disappointment of losing out on the ATP Finals trophy by capturing a maiden Davis Cup title for his country.

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Monte Carlo Breakthrough Leaves Andrey Rublev With Mixed Emotions

The world No.8 takes confidence from his latest run but admits it is ‘impossible’ to play at his very top level every week on the Tour.

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After achieving a career milestone at the Monte Carlo Masters, Andrey Rublev was sent crashing down to earth on Sunday.

 

The Russian tennis star broke new territory at the tournament by reaching his first ever Masters 1000 final at the age of 23. However, he was denied the title by Stefanos Tsitsipas who produced a clinical performance to seal victory in just 71 minutes. Ending Rublev’s run of winning seven finals in a row.

“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn’t show my game,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Of course, I’m happy with the week because I beat so many great players and I beat one of the best players in history. It’s a special week.”

Earlier in the tournament Rublev stunned the draw when he upset Rafael Nadal in three sets en route to the semi-finals. Making it the fourth time in his career he has scored a win over a player ranked No.3 in the world. He is also the first player in history to come back from a set down to defeat Nadal at the tournament.

Besides the king of clay, Rublev also dismissed Roberto Bautista Agut and Casper Ruud. He has now won 24 matches on the ATP Tour this season which is more than anybody else. However, he is reluctant to link all of his match play with his latest performance.

“I feel tired after all the matches that I play, exhausted. But this is not excuse. He was just better than me, and that’s it,” he stated.
“Not always everything goes your way. It happened today. I was completely exhausted. Stefanos, he showed great game. He was just better than me, and that’s it.”

Despite his recent success, Rublev is eager to not get too far ahead of himself heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam where he has only played in the main draw twice before, including last year where he reached the quarter-finals.

“I would like to play really good in Madrid and I would like to play really good in Rome. I would like to play all of the weeks good. But it’s impossible,” he explains.
“Some of the weeks for sure will be better, some will be worse and some will be amazing.’
“For the moment I’m playing really consistent. I’m really happy I’m playing my best season so far. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Rublev is set to return to action next week at the Barcelona Open where he will be the third seed.

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Former Australian Open Semi-Finalist Kyle Edmund Undergoes Surgery

It has been reported that the world No.69 may not be able to return to the Tour for ‘several more months.’

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British world No.69 Kyle Edmund is set to be sidelined from the Tour for some time after having surgery to treat a long-standing problem in Switzerland. 

 

The former British No.1 has confirmed he had a ‘small procedure’ on his knee after being hampered with issues in the area ever since 2018 when a scan revealed that he had fluid behind his left knee. Details of the surgery have not been disclosed by the person who conducted the operation was Dr Roland Biedert, according to BBC Sport. A specialist Orthopaedic surgeon who has also operated on Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro.

“I had a small procedure on my knee. I’m currently rehabbing. The recovery is going well and I hope to be back on court as soon as possible.” Edmund said.

Currently ranked 69th in the world, Edmund hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the first round of qualifying at the Vienna Open last October due to his knee. 2020 saw mixed fortunes for the 26-year-old. After winning the New York Open during February of that year, he lost seven out of 10 matches played during the rest of the season. Including five defeats in a row.

No return date has been outlined by Edmund or his team following the surgery. However, British media have reported that he may be out for ‘several more months.’ Casting doubts over his chances of being ready in time for Wimbledon which starts on June 28th. He hasn’t been absent from a Wimbledon main draw since 2012.

Edmund has been ranked as high as 14th in the world with his best Grand Slam run being to the semi-finals of the 2018 Australian Open. Overall, he has won two ATP titles and has earned more than $5.7 in prize money. 

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Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’

The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.

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Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.

 

The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.

Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.

“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”

It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.

“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”

Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.

“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.

Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.

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