It was six sets set out of six for Croatia as Marin Cilic completed a perfect day in Lille for the visitors as they lead France 2-0 after the first day of the Davis Cup Final.
The world number seven defeated Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 6-3 7-5 6-4 to give Croatia a 2-0 lead after the first day of the Davis Cup final.
In the opening rubber in-form Borna Coric cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-2 7-5 6-4 to give the Croats the early lead. The French team have never won a clay court Davis Cup final on home soil.
Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic can win the Davis Cup for Croatia with a win over Roland Garros champions Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut tomorrow.
The former US Open champion started his match with Tsonga in the best possible fashion, with the intensity visible right from the start.
Even though he has hardly played in 2018, the Frenchman matched Cilic’s intensity in the early stages and looked up for the fight.
In the end the Croatian’s massive returning was the key as he broke in the sixth game to silence the fiery Lille crowd. Despite wasting a set point on the eighth game, the Croatian sealed the opening stanza on his own deal in 38 minutes.
The second set was much better from Tsonga as he used his athleticism to try and fight in the match as he aimed to break Croatia’s consecutive set run.
Even though a couple of break points were created, Tsonga couldn’t break down the intimidating serve of Cilic as the Croatian was much more composed than he has been this season.
Just like the match before a critical break in the eleventh game broke the French spirit down and Cilic successfully gained a 2 sets to love lead.
Physicality was a big problem for Tsonga as it seemed it had hit Noah what a poor decision it was to pick Chardy and Tsonga in the team.
A double fault sealed another break for Cilic and the veteran wasn’t about to let this lead slip. Another big smash sealed the match and a comfortable 2-0 lead after day one in Lille.
Tsonga fell to tears as Cilic basked in glory on what could be a crucial day in Croatia’s bid to win a first Davis Cup title since 2005.
Coric Cruises Past Chardy
Earlier in the day, Croatia took a 1-0 lead after an in-form Borna Coric cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-2 7-5 6-4. Despite a decent start from Chardy he couldn’t keep up with the big-hitting Croat consistently after Coric broke in an 11 minute game to begin the match.
Too many missed first serves saw Coric build on his early momentum as his devastating forehands sealed an early double break lead. As Chardy found his rhythm at the end of the set, Coric’s defence continued to remain firm and after 37 minutes he earned his reward by taking the first set.
Although he’s not a regular pick for the Davis Cup team, Chardy was giving a good account of himself in the second set as he served much better. The world number 40 showed more aggression on his serve but the problem was that there was a lack of pressure being put on Coric’s serve.
Eventually the Croat weathered the Chardy storm to break in the eleventh game and serve out a 2 sets to love lead. Even though Coric had treatment on his fatigued thighs in the third set, the damage was already done to Chardy.
The world number 12 would break early in the third and seal a comfortable first rubber for Croatia in Lille. After the match Coric expressed his delight at victory, “I was very aggressive, I was very calm and I didn’t lose my nerve in the second set. I had a few break points in the second but didn’t take them, but I stayed calm and that was the key I think. I served really well in the important moments.”
Tomorrow’s doubles will see Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut take on Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic. Should Croatia win a well-balanced doubles match then they will lift their first Davis Cup title for 13 years.
Russia And Canada Complete ATP Cup Semi-Final Line-Up
Russia and Canada will meet in the ATP Cup semi-finals on Saturday.
Russia and Canada booked their spots in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup on Thursday.
Russia completed their group stage campaign with a 2-1 victory over Italy in Group B.
The match was a winners take all clash with the Italians making the perfect start as Jannik Sinner defeated Roman Safiullin 7-6(8) 6-3.
However world number two Daniil Medvedev levelled the tie in a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.
Medvedev needed 2 hours and 40 minutes to edge out Berrettini 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 to put Russia level with Italy.
Then all four singles players returned for the doubles which the Russians won 5-7 6-4 10-5 in a tense contest.
This saw Russia book a place in the last four and after the match Medvedev spoke about the importance of his win over Berrettini, “The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev told the ATP Cup website.
“I made some bad decisions in the second set so I tried to learn from that in the third. I served well throughout the match and that helped me.”
Russia will now face Canada in the last four on Saturday after Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both secured singles wins over Germany.
Shapovalov edged out Struff in three sets to give Canada the lead and then Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a huge victory over Olympic champion Alexander Zverev 6-4 4-6 6-3.
This meant that Canada denied Great Britain a place in the semis after the Brits beat USA 2-1 earlier in the day. The other result saw Australia beat France 2-1.
Russia and Canada will meet in Sydney on Saturday while tomorrow Poland will face Spain.
Canada gets first win at ATP Cup after comeback victory over Great Britain
Felix Auger-Aliassime inspired Canada to victory against Great Britain at the ATP Cup.
Team Canada got its first win of the tournament when they beat Team Great Britain 2-1 and it all came down to the doubles match.
Evans eases by Shapovalov
Dan Evans got the first point of the tie as he had no issues getting by Denis Shapovalov beating him in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes serving four aces and winning 88% of his first-serve points.
The first six games of the opening set stayed on serve and it was the Brit who earned the first breakpoint of the match and broke the Canadian and that one break of serve proved crucial as he took the first set,
Evans carried the momentum into the second set and it looked like the Canadian was still easing his way into his game and he broke him early in the set to take an early 2-1 lead.
Again that one break of serve was all the Brit needed to serve out the set and the match and give the first point to Team Great Britan.
Auger Aliassime responds for Canada
Felix Auger Aliassime responded for Canada beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-3 in two hours serving eight aces, and winning 85% of his points on his first serve.
The first set was a battle as these two players know each other well and the last time they met was a three-set marathon match in Vienna with the Canadian getting the win.
The Montreal native got the first chance to break at 4-3 and took it for a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the first set. When serving for it the Canadian got tight and Norrie made him pay by breaking him right back.
The first set was decided by a tiebreaker and the world number 11 won the first six points of the breaker and took the first set.
Winning the first set gave the Canadian the momentum he needed and he broke the Britt early in the second set in the second game and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match.
This meant the doubles match was going to decide the winner of the tie.
Canada wins deciding doubles
With the tie level at 1-1, the winner was decided by the third and final doubles match and it was Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov beating the British duo of Jamie Murray and Joe Salsbury.
A 6-4, 6-1 win in one hour and 10 minutes with the Canadians serving seven aces and winning 83% of their points off the first served ensured that all teams in the group now have a record of 1-1.
Davis Cup Champions Russia Banned From Hosting Ties In 2022
The newly crowned champions will not be allowed the opportunity to potentially play some of their matches next year at home due to a ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The bidding process for host cities of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will get underway in the coming weeks but Russia will not be allowed to take part.
Last week Daniil Medvedev led his country to victory over Croatia in the final to give Russia, who were playing under the name of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), only their third title in the prestigious team event which was founded back in 1900. In this year’s finals, they also beat Germany, Sweden, Ecuador and Spain en route to the title.
Next year’s tournament is once again set to be a first in the Davis Cup history after organisers confirmed that the finals will be staged across a total of five cities. During a recent press conference, the International Tennis Federation and investment company Kosmos say they plan to stage each of the four groups in separate cities and a fifth city hosting the knockout stages. The name of those hosts has not been announced but it is widely speculated that the Middle East may hold the knockout stages. The number of teams in the finals will be cut from 18 to 16.
However, Russia will not be allowed to stage a tie in 2022 but will be free to do so from the following year. This is because the country is currently banned from international competition for doping violations. An extensive investigation discovered multiple incidents of illegal doping practices by Russian officials at various Olympic Games but tennis have never been implicated in the scandal. As a result the World Anti-Doping Agency, which the International Tennis Federation is a member of, handed Russia a ban. This is why Medvedev and his team played under their federation name and not their country.
The ITF has confirmed to UbiTennis that the ban is in force until December 16th 2022 which is after the 2022 Finals.
“The ban remains in place for two years and that includes Russia hosting any WADA listed world competitions or world cup tournaments/competition events, and when competing outside of Russia the use of their national name, insignia, emblems and anthem are banned throughout this same period,” an ITF spokesperson told UbiTennis.
Kosmos, who are the main financial driving force behind the Davis Cup, had previously said they hope to select cities on a contract basis lasting ‘three to five years.’ However, they also want to maintain that every host city belongs to a country playing in the Finals which complicates matters somewhat. It is possible that Italy could be selected as a host for a three-year period but if they fail to qualify in one of those years, they may lose their hosting rights.
“It can happen that you have an agreement with a city or country, then the home team is not classified (qualified). That’s why we need to have multi-agreements, plus backup options, for fixing the possibility of not being classified,” Kosmos president Enrique Rojas recently told reporters.
The process for selecting the host cities will begin in January with interested candidates having six weeks to present their proposals. A final decision is then expected to be made round mid-Match.
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