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France wins thrilling doubles match to keep their Davis Cup hopes alive

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut scored a vital 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-6 win for France over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic in a thrilling doubles match on Saturday in Lille after a 3-hour and 38 minute battle to keep French hopes alive after Borna Coric and Marin Cilic won the first two singles matches on Friday afternoon.

 

Mahut and Herbert, who became the third French team to win the Roland Garros doubles title in Paris last June and reached the final at last week’s ATP Finals in London, needed to win the doubles match and they kept the home team’s hopes alive by scoring a thrilling 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-3) in front of 22910 spectators in the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille. With this win France closed the gap to 2-1 ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles matches.

Herbert and Mahut dropped their serve just twice from the nine break point chances they faced and converted three of their eleven break points.

Pavic and Dodig wasted three game points at 3-3 in the first set before dropping serve for the first time in the match in the seventh game. Herbert and Mahut held serve in the 10th game at love to close out the first set 6-4. Pavic and Dodig squandered a game point at 4-4 before Herbert and Mahut broke serve at 15 in the next game after Dodig made his second double fault. The French doubles team held serve at 30 to close out the second set 6-4.

Mahut and Herbert earned an early break in the first game of the third set. Dodig saved four break points at 0-2 down in the third set.

The home team built up a 3-1 lead, but Dodig and Pavic reeled off five consecutive games with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games to win the third set 6-3 forcing the match to the fourth set.

Dodig and Pavic did not convert three break points in the first game of the fourth set. Pavic saved three match points to hold for 5-5, as he was serving at 4-5 to stay in the match. in the tie-break Mahut and Herbert earned an early mini-break with a forehand return at the start of the tie-break. They sealed the win with a double mini-break on the 10th point to clinch the tie-break 7-3 sending the match to the fourth singles rubber on Sunday.

“We tried to keep the team alive today. I think tonight we are going to have the smile at the hotel. We won this one but we still have two more matches to win. We want to win the Davis Cup and I think our player can do it tomorrow”, said Mahut.

France faces a daunting task on Sunday, as only one team in history managed to recover from a 0-2 deficit in the history of Davis Cup Finals. The only team who achieved this feat was Australia, who came back from 0-2 down to win the Davis Cup Trophy against the USA in 1939. If France manages the come-back feat, they would claim their 11th Davis Cup title.

Croatia is one win away from winning their second Davis Cup in history 13 years after their first triumph against Slovakia with a team featuring Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic. World number 7 player Marin Cilic will face Jeremy Chardy in the first Sunday singles rubber. Cilic will be bidding to score his 30th Davis Cup win on Sunday.

Borna Coric will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fifth rubber match, if Chardy manages to beat Cilic.

French captain Yannick Noah faces the tough decision, whether to give another chance to Chardy or try Lucas Pouille, who won the decisive fifth match last year against Belgium. Pouille won a title in Montpellier and reached two finals in Marseille and Dubai in the first part of the season, but he struggled in the second half.

 

 

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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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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