France, Croatia Take Charge In Davis Cup Ties - UBITENNIS
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France, Croatia Take Charge In Davis Cup Ties

The two countries are a win away from the Davis Cup semifinals

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Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (zimbio.com)

Current Davis Cup champions France kept themselves on track for a second consecutive title by grabbing a 2-1 lead over Italy in their quarter-final clash on Saturday.

 

Two-time grand slam doubles champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Huges Herbert eased past Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 6-1, in just under two hours. Playing in the Italian city on Genoa, the French duo hit 87 winners to 29 unforced errors and converted seven out of their 10 break point opportunities. It was a case of sweet revenge for Mahut and Herbert, who lost to the Italians in the final of the 2015 Australian Open.

“(I’m) a lot satisfied. I think it’s our goal, when we are in the team, to win this Saturday point (in the doubles). It is so important in Davis Cup and we did it today for our team.” Herbert told Daviscup.com.

36-year-old Mahut, who is playing in his tenth tie for his country, is not getting too carried away about the significance of the victory. France now needs to win one out of two matches played on Sunday to progress to the semifinals. This year they are bidding to win the competition for the 11th time in history.

“You know when you play at one-all in the Davis Cup the doubles point is really crucial.” Explained Mahut. “But there is still a long way to go.”

Lucas Pouille will be bidding to secure the unassailable win when he takes on Fabio Fognini in the fourth rubber.

Croatia gains momentum

2005 champions Croatia moved to a 2-1 lead over Kazakhstan thanks to a four set win by Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic. The duo battled from behind to overcome Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

Despite behind the overwhelming favourites to win the tie, Croatia are taking no chances. In 2016 they were leading the Davis Cup final 2-1 before Argentina won three consecutive matches. Something they hope will not happen again this weekend.

“Winning in the doubles we are very close to the semi-finals, but it’s not all over because this is the Davis Cup,” said captain Željko Krajan.

Marin Cilic, who is the only top 20 player to feature in the tie, will be hoping to secure Croatia’s third win when he faces Mikhail Kukushkin tomorrow.

 

Davis Cup

Spain to face Russia and Ecuador in Davis Cup Finals next November

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The draw of the 2020 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid took place at the ITF offices in London on 12th March. The Davis Cup Finals will begin in Madrid on 23rd November 2020.

 

Defending champions Spain has been drawn in the Group A against Russia and Ecuador. Last year Rafael Nadal guided the Spanish team to the triumph in the final against Canada at the Caja Magica.

This year’s ATP Cup champions Serbia will face Germany and Austria in a Group A, which features three top 10 players Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic beat Thiem in this year’s final of the Australian Open.

In the Group E the USA will take on Italy in a re-match of last year’s late round-robin match. These two teams were drawn against Colombia.Last year’s finalists Canada will meet Sweden and Kazakhstan.

Three former Davis Cup champions France, Great Britain and Czech Republic have been drawn in Group C.

 

Croatia will clash against Australia and Hungary in Group D.

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Davis Cup

John Millman Praises ‘Special’ Atmosphere After Australia’s Davis Cup Triumph

John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide after their 3-1 win over Brazil.

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John Millman and Lleyton Hewitt (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide this weekend after Australia booked their spot in the Davis Cup Finals. 

 

As Australia headed into the second day with a 2-0 advantage, many people expected a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts but that turned out not to be the case.

Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligini Rodrigues Alves gave Brazil hope after an epic 2 hour and 54 minute win over James Duckworth and John Peers.

A 5-7 7-5 7-6(6) victory for the Brazilians saw the tie taken into a fourth rubber as John Millman knew he had to step up to seal victory for the Aussies.

Another sensational match as Millman battled past Thiago Monteiro 6-7(6) 7-6(3) 7-6(3) to secure a thrilling win and Australia’s place in November’s Davis Cup Finals.

After sealing the win, Millman praised the special atmosphere in Adelaide over the two days, “To have an experience like this, that’s better than just about any experience I’ve had,” Millman told Tennis Australia.

“It was something pretty special this weekend. I enjoyed every second of it. It was so much fun. It was an emotional rollercoaster and we’re so happy to get through. To do it with these boys, it’s been a really special week.”

As for captain Lleyton Hewitt, this win typified what he loves about the home and away format that the Davis Cup Qualifiers shows, “There were ebbs and flows in all the matches. It could have gone either way,” Hewitt said.

“That is what Davis Cup is about and that’s why I love the home and away format. To have the atmosphere and the crowd involvement, it was a lot of fun for us to be out there.

“For these guys to play in front of their home fans again, they don’t get to do it throughout the year that often. I’m just thrilled for them that they get to enjoy it and be part of it. It is something really special.”

Next for Hewitt and his Australian team will be the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, where they will join last year’s semi-finalists Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia as well as wildcards Serbia and France.

Also qualifying for November’s showpiece were Ecuador and Kazakhstan after their respective wins over Japan and the Netherlands.

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Davis Cup

Kei Nishikori Out Of Davis Cup In Latest Blow To Japan

More bad news for fans of the injury-stricken player.

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Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has hinted that he may not be able to return to the tour until the clay season after withdrawing from his country’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against Ecuador.

 

Nishikori, who is currently ranked 31st in the world, had been in Miki training ahead of his country’s clash in the team competition. Raising hopes that he will be making a return this weekend. However, he has now confirmed that he is not fully at the level he needs to be to play. The 30-year-old hasn’t played a competitive match since September after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.

“Physically I’m not at my max.” AFP news quoted Nishikori as saying on Thursday.
“I want to return to competition after I improve my strength and become fully confident.
“It might be after Miami or during the clay season,” he added.

Japan will now enter their tie without their two top ranked players on the tour. Another notable absentee is world No.48 Yoshihito Nishioka, who has pulled out of the competition over coronavirus concerns. Yesterday the country recorded it’s 1000th infection of the illness, which is also known as Covid-19. The outbreak has affected many public events in Japan, but officials are confident that this year’s Olympic Games will go ahead as planned.

As a result of the outbreak, the Davis Cup clash will take place behind closed doors. The decision was jointly made between the ITF, Japanese Tennis Association and the country’s government. Baseball matches in the country have also been played without a crowd and the football J-League has been postponed.

“I am grateful just to be held while many sports are being cancelled.” Yasutaka Uchiyama told reporters.
“I want to get results firmly for the fans who support me in front of the TV. ”

Uchiyama and Go Soeda will be the two players who are playing singles in the tie against Ecuador instead of Nishikori and Nishioka.

Another Davis Cup tie affected by the Coronavirus is Italy’s home tie with South Korea. The government announced on Wednesday that all sporting fixtures will be played behind closed doors until April 3rd. Italy is the worst affected country in Europe with more than 3000 cases.

During a recent interview with Ubitennis, the ITF has said that are monitoring the threat posed by Covid-19 to their tournaments on a ‘case by case’ basis and are liaising with the relevant authorities. The ITF is the body which runs the Davis Cup.

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