Australian Open Day 14 Preview: The Men’s Final - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Day 14 Preview: The Men’s Final

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In his 30th major final, Roger Federer is seeking his 20th major title. Just 15 years ago, these were unfathomable numbers. There was speculation at the time as to whether anyone would catch Pete Sampras’ record-breaking 14 major titles, and look where we are now. His opponent has quietly yet convincingly made his way to his third major final, and is looking to cement his status as a future hall of famer.

 

Roger Federer vs. Marin Cilic

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It’s hard to believe it was just a year ago that Federer arrived in Melbourne having not played a competitive match for six months, and with low expectations for his chances in the tournament. One year and two major titles later, Roger is coming off his best season in a decade. Just as he did at Wimbledon last summer, Federer has not dropped a set en route to this championship match.

As Marin Cilic recently spoke about to the press, his two previous major finals were very different experiences. In winning his maiden Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open, he stormed through the draw, easily defeating Federer in the semis and Kei Nishikori in the final. But six months ago at Wimbledon, a visibly distraught Cilic was hampered by severe blisters on his feet in the championship match against Federer, and unable to play his best tennis. Throughout the fall, Cilic seemed to struggle with some nerves, and he overcomplicated several matches that initially appeared to be straightforward victories. At the ATP Finals, he was the only player to go 0-3, losing all three matches in three sets, including a loss to Federer. But Cilic has rounded into strong form during this fortnight, playing the same brand of big-hitting tennis that won him his only major title to date.

Roger Federer leads the head-to-head by a substantial margin of 8-1, but the only loss did come in the semifinals of a hard court major. That was an extremely hot and humid day in New York, and a match Cilic won in straight sets. The forecast on Sunday in Melbourne also calls for extreme heat, but the difference on this day will be this is a night match. Their best head-to-head match was in the 2016 Wimbledon quarterfinals, which some named as the match of the year. On that day, Federer came back from two sets down to prevail, savings match points along the way. That’s the kind of match that definitely leaves some scar tissue in a rivalry.

Cilic will need to walk a thin line between playing as aggressively as he can without going for too much. Marin is fully capable of hitting Roger off the court when he is at his best and Roger is less than his best. Federer is yet to have an off day during this fortnight, but perhaps the 36-year-old is due for one. You know Federer will be pumped up for his opportunity to win his record-extending 20th major, but even the GOAT must feel the pressure of being an overwhelming favorite on such an occasion, right? All being considered, while I expect this to be a much tighter match than their last major final in July, all signs point to a Federer victory.

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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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