Serena Williams And Roger Federer To Clash On New Year’s Day At Hopman Cup - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams And Roger Federer To Clash On New Year’s Day At Hopman Cup

The full line-up for the mixed-team event has been announced.

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Multiple grand slam champions Serena Williams and Roger Federer are set to return to Perth at the start of 2019 to play in the annual Hopman Cup.

 

Recent US Open finalist Williams will play in the event for the first time since 2016. The American has effectively ended her season early after pulling out of this week’s China Open in Beijing. Williams will play in the mixed team competition alongside world No.41 Frances Tiafoe. Earlier this year the 20-year-old won his first ATP title at the Delray Beach Open.

“I always enjoy playing in Western Australia in front of the crowd at Perth Arena. The Aussie fans are so warm and supportive and the Hopman Cup always gives me a great start to the season, especially ahead of the Australian Open,” Williams told hopmancup.com.
“I haven’t played with Frances in mixed doubles before, but have watched him from a far this year. He has a very bright future and I’m looking forward to being on court with him, it will be a lot of fun.”

37-year-old Federer will once again team up with Belinda Bencic in a bid to win the tournament for a second consecutive year. In January Switzerland defeated Germany (Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev) 2-1 in the final.

The 2019 tournament will feature the clash between America and Switzerland on New Year’s Day. It will be the first time that tennis titans Williams and Federer have faced each other on the court. The Hopman Cup ties features two singles matches and one in the mixed doubles.

“The Mastercard Hopman Cup will welcome two of the greatest tennis players in history to Western Australia in 2019,” tournament director Paul Kilderry said.
“In total we will have four Grand Slam singles champions, three top 10 players and eight top 20 players.” He added.

A total of eight teams will play in the 31st edition of the exhibition event. Other entrants include Ashleigh Barty and Matthew Ebden representing the home nation. Australia has only won the Hopman Cup twice with the last occurring in 2016.

“I’m really excited to be back at the Hopman Cup,” Barty said.
“The fans are amazing and Perth Arena is phenomenal. It’s one of my favourite courts around Australia. The fans are passionate, they love their sport, and I think it’s the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open.”

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David Ferrer and Garbine Muguruza will join forces for the first time. Ferrer is set to officially retire from tennis next year during the European clay-court season. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari will be only the second Greek team to play in the Hopman Cup. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter will represent Great Britain.

The Hopman Cup has a contract with Tennis Australia until 2022, but its future remains in serious doubt. Starting in 2020, the ATP will bring back the World Team Cup at the start of the year. The event will take place in Australia across different locations. Players will be attracted to the tournament, which has a prize money pool of AUS$20 million as well as ranking points up for grabs.

“We’ve got a contract through to 2022 with the government and our intent is to honour that contract,” Kilderry the the Australian Associated Press.
“The world of tennis is more political at the moment than I’ve ever seen in my 30 years of being around it.
“The Davis Cup has changed – there’s a lot of change at the moment. I don’t think anyone has a real clear outlook on it.
“We’ve just got to focus on this year’s event, have a great event and our intent is to honour the contract we have.”

The upbeat comments from Kilderry is by no means a reassurance about how much longer the Hopman Cup can last for. Perth has been mentioned about one of the possible locations for the new World Team Cup.

The Hopman Cup will take place between December 29th – January 5th.

2019 teams

Australia: Matt Ebden and Ash Barty
France: Lucas Pouille and Alize Cornet
Germany: Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber
Great Britain: Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter
Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari
Spain: David Ferrer and Garbine Muguruza
Switzerland: Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic
USA: Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams

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Alexander Zverev Pushed But Manages To Beat Isner As Europe Storms To Lead In Laver Cup

The German gave Team Europe a massive lead after winning a tight match.

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image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Alexander Zverev needed a trademark ” Laver Breaker” to beat the 6ft 10 Amercian John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 10-5 in two hours and 17 minutes on the saecond day of the Laver Cup.

 

The German hit 13 aces in the match, meanwhile Isner went 0 for 3 on breakpoints.

” I think in this format playing John (Isner) is one of the toughest opponents there can be and he is the best server of all time plus he was hitting the ball extremely hard and well today,” said Zverev.
To be honest I played a pretty good match,” he added.

In the first set, both players had zero issues holding serve. In the opening tiebreak it was extremely tight but the world number four managed to get the crucial break at 4-3 and that was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second frame stayed on serve until 3-3 when the American had two chances to break but the Hamburg native managed to save both. In the following game he responded by earning three break points of his very own but Isner saved all three and held serve.

Isner had another chance at 5-5 but was unable to convert and again proceedings went into another tiebreaker to decide the second set. In that breaker, the world number 22 jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the German responded winning the next three points to make it 3-3.

After that, it stayed on serve until 7-6 and it was the American who managed to break Zverev to win the second set and force a match tiebreak to decide the match.

The first four points went on serve and it was the German who got the first break and jumped out to a 6-3 and that lead was enough for him to serve out the match and give Team Europe a 7-1 lead.

After the match in his on-court interview, Zverev spoke about the second set and the level both he and Isner was playing at.

” Even the second set that I lost I didn’t do many things wrong so it shows that the match was very high level and obviously happy to give Team Europe the lead”. He said.

Day 2 results :

In the first match of the day, the Aussie Nick Kyrgios faced Stefanos Tsitsipas and it was the world number three who took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

After the match, Krygios mentioned in his post-match press conference that the Laver Cup would be the last event he played in 2021, stating that his mother’s health is not doing well and he is planning to return to Australia to be with her.

In the night session Danil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, took on Denis Shapovalov and the Russian only needed one hour and 15 minutes to beat him 6-4, 6-0 to give Team Europe a 9-1 lead.

In the last match of the day, a doubles clash featuring Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev took on Isner and Krygios, and again it was the Europeans who managed to win 6-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Day 3 Preview :

On Sunday Team Europe will have a chance to clinch the trophy in their first match as they only need two more points and on Sunday a win is worth three. The day will start with a doubles match featuring Rublev and Zverev taking on Shapovalov and Rielly Opelka.

In singles, Zverev will face Felix Auger Aliassime, Medvedev will face Diego Schwartzman, and the last match scheduled is Isner vs Tsitsipas.

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James Duckworth beats Ilya Ivashka to reach the final in Nur Sultan

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James Duckworth has reached his first ATP Tour after his 6-3 7-6 (7-4) win over Ilya Ivashka after 2 hours and 2 minutes at the Astana Open in Nur Sultan. 

 

Duckworth converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3.

Ivashka broke serve in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead. Duckworth broke straight back in the fifth game. Duckworth fended off two set points at 4-5 in the second set.  Ivashka saved two break points. Duckworth got two mini-breaks to earn three match points at 6-3. Ivashka pulled one of the two mini-breaks, but Duckworth sealed the tie-break 7-4 on his second match point. 

“I am really excited. I am thrilled. It was a really tough match. Ilya has been playing some great tennis. We have played twice already this year. Both times went to three sets”, said Duckworth. 

Ivashka won the title in Winston Salem and claimed 11 of his past 12 matches before today’s match against Duckworth. 

Duckworth set up a final against Sonwoo Kwon, who rallied from one set down to beat Alexander Bublik 3-6 7-5 6-3 after two hours and four minutes to advance to his first ATP Tour final. 

Bublik earned the first break of the match in the eighth game to win the first set 6-3. Kwon broke in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Bublik converted his sixth break-back point in the third game to hold serve. Kwon saved a break point in the ninth game before breaking serve in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. Kwon broke serve in the fourth game to win the third set 6-3. 

“It will be a tough match. Kwon is more of a baseliner. I will have to be ready. I am just going to recover the best I can and come out tomorrow and see what happens”, said Duckworth.

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Maria Sakari reaches her first WTA Tour final since 2019 in Ostrava

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Maria Sakkari has reached her first WTA Tour final since 2019 after nine consecutive tour-level semifinal defeats, by beating number 1 seed Iga Swiatek 6-4 7-5 after 1 hour and 51 minutes at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Sakkari won her only title on the clay court of Rabat. Swiatek had never lost a tour-level semifinal and had a win-loss record of 2-0 in her semifinals played in 2021. The Greek player lost to Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals in Ostrava last year. 

Sakkari has extended her win-loss record to 2-0 in her head-to-head matches against Swiatek. In their only previous match Sakkari beat Swiatek in the French Open quarter final last June ending the Pole’s Roland Garros title defense. 

Sakkari won 77% of her first service points and hit 22 winners to 19 unforced errors. 

Sakkari hit a forehand winner to earn her only break in the opening game of the first set. The Greek player did not face a single break point in the first set. 

Sakkari had to save a break point at the start of the second set before holding serve for 2-2. Sakkari earned the break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Swiatek broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. 

Sakkari converted her third break point with a forehand winner down the line to take a 6-5 lead and sealed the win on her first match point. 

Sakkari set up a final against Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who cruised past Petra Kvitova 6-0 6-4 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. The Estonian player scored her third top 10 win of the year after beating Sofia Kenin in Stuttgart and Bianca Andreescu in Eastbourne. She has reached her fourth final in 2021 after winning her second career title in Cleveland, finishing runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko in Eastbourne and sharing the Grampians Trophy with Ann Li after the final was not played due to a scheduling delay. 

Kontaveit hit 18 winners to just 7 unforced errors. Kvitova made 28 unforced errors to 11 winners. Kontaveit broke serve three times to take a bagel win in the first set, as Kvitova made 16 unforced errors to just 2 winners. 

Kvitova won her first game in the opening game of the second set. Kontaveit broke serve at love in the fifth game with a backhand winner to take a 3-2 lead.Kvitova saved a match point to hold serve to hold serve for 5-4 and hit a lob to earn her first break point of the match in the next game, as Kontaveit was serving for the win. Kontaveit saved it and closed out the match by forcing a final eror from Kvitova with a big backhand.  

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