Serena Williams comes back from one set down to beat Belinda Bencic in the Hopman Cup in Perth - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams comes back from one set down to beat Belinda Bencic in the Hopman Cup in Perth

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Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams fought back from a slow start to beat Belinda Bencic 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the second singles match of the Hopman Cup in Perth to keep alive US hopes after their defeat against Greece in Monday’s first tie.

 

Williams played her second singles match since her defeat against Naomi Osaka in the US Open final in New York last September. Yesterday she beat Greek Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7-3) 7-2 in her inaugural match. In the first matches Switzerland beat Great Britain, while a Greek team led by Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari beat the USA.

The US legend got an early break to race out to a 4-1 lead but Bencic reeled off five consecutive games to close out the first set 6-4. Williams bounced back in the second set and got the crucial break in the 10th game to win it 6-4 forcing the match to the decisive set after Bencic made three unforced errors. Williams earned an early break to win the third set 6-3.

“It’s a relief. She played really well but I knew that I could play better”, said Williams in the post match interview.

Federer and Bencic win the “battle of legends” mixed doubles match: 

In the eagerly awaited “battle of the legends” mixed doubles match Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic clinched the second win for Switzerland with a 4-2 4-3 victory over Serena Williams and Frances Tiafoe in just 46 minutes. The defending champions from Switzerland broke Tiafoe in the fifth game thanks to a return winner from Bencic. Federer held serve at love to wrap up the opening set a few minutes later. Federer and Bencic fended off a break point in the fourth game of the second set before sealing the tie-break 5-3 after Federer hit a volley. Federer and Willams won a combined 43 Grand Slam titles.

Switzerland will take on Greece in the last match of the round round stage.

“I am kind of sad it’s over. It was so fun to do this at the pinnacle of our careers. The guy is great. He is the greatest of all time. He has a killer serve. I have watched him all the time but I never realised how good it was. Maybe I could get some tips from him later on”, said Serena Williams in the post match interview.

“It was great fun I really enjoyed playing against Serena. I was nervous returning because people talk about her serve so much. I know why they say it now. She has a wonderful serve. She is a great champion. You see how focused she is and I love that about her”, said Federer. 

Fed Cup

Fed Cup Finals Draw: Australia And Czech Republic Given Tricky Tests In Budapest

Australia and Czech Republic have been handed difficult draws for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.

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(@FedCup - Twitter)

Australia and Czech Republic have been given tricky draws ahead of the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest. 

 

The event in Hungary takes place on the 14th-19th of April on clay to prepare players for the clay-court season that will approach.

In the inaugural event there are 12 nations competing for the Fed Cup title with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals.

Ahead of April’s Fed Cup finale, the draw was announced today which has seen some mouth-watering matches set to take place.

Last year’s finalist’s Australia are in Group B and they have been given tricky tests against a strong Belarus team and Belgium.

Belarus have Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Victoria Azarenka at their disposal while Belgium will be lead by Elise Mertens.

Meanwhile the other group in their half of the draw will see Czech Republic will face tough tests against Germany and a Switzerland team lead by Belinda Bencic.

On the other side of the draw, defending champions France will look to successfully defend their title when they face Russia and hosts Hungary.

Given the scenarios, this is a fairly good draw for France who would regard clay as their strongest surface and are favourites to make the last four.

In the last four, France could play USA who have been drawn with Spain and Slovakia who beat Great Britain in last weekend’s qualifiers.

Here is the full draw with the full round-robin schedule for April’s finals set to be released on Monday:

Group A

France

Russia

Hungary

Group B

Australia

Belarus

Belgium

Group C

USA

Spain

Slovakia

Group D

Czech Republic

Germany

Switzerland

Semi-Finals

Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C

Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D

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Fed Cup

Great Britain Handed Mexican Away Trip In Fed Cup Play-Off Draw

Great Britain face another away tie as they travel to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Offs.

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Harriet Dart and Anne Keothavong (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Great Britain have been handed an away trip to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Off draw as they look to compete in next year’s qualifiers. 

 

The Brits, who were without Johanna Konta in their 3-1 defeat away to Slovakia, will now head to Mexico in April looking to avoid being relegated to Zone Group I.

Just like their tie in Bratislava, they are likely to be without Johanna Konta who has one eye on the Olympic Games and also like their tie this past weekend the tie will probably be on clay.

However this time the British team will be favourites to make next year’s Fed Cup qualifiers as the Mexican don’t have a single Women’s singles player in the top 200.

There will be eight Fed Cup play-offs which will be played on the 17th and 18th of April, with the eight winners joining eight teams from the Fed Cup finals.

14 of the 16 teams are confirmed with the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I still needed to be played in early March in Dubai after the Coronavirus epidemic meant that China couldn’t host the event in February.

Here is the full Fed Cup play-off draw:

(C) = Choice of Ground 

Brazil v Poland (C)

Great Britain v Mexico (C)

Canada v Serbia (C)

Latvia (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC

Japan (C) v Ukraine

Romania (C) v Italy

Kazakhstan v Argentina (C)

Netherlands (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC

 

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Davis Cup

Former Tennis Star Robin Soderling Appointed Davis Cup Captain

The former world No.4 is hoping to make waves in the team competition.

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Robin Sodering has taken on a new role in the world of tennis after being appointed the captain of the Swedish Davis Cup team on Wednesday.

 

The 35-year-old takes over from Johan Hedsberg, who has held the role since January 2017. Soderling is a former world No.4 player and the last player from his country to contest a grand slam final at the 2010 French Open. After winning 10 ATP titles, his career came to an abrupt end after he failed to recover from a long-term illness. Soderling was hit by mononucleosis in 2011, a viral illness also known as glandular fever. He spent four years away from the tour before officially retiring in 2015.

“Being able to lead the best players in the country is an honour, so it was a pretty easy decision.” He told tennis.se.
“I have not thought about this, but when the question came, I immediately felt that I wanted to do this. I want it to go well for Swedish tennis.”

Sweden has won the Davis Cup seven times with their most recent triumph occurring back in 1998. They are currently playing in Group I of the Europe/Africa zone. This season the team managed to reach the World Group playoffs, but suffered a 4-0 defeat to Colombia. Sweden last played in the top tier of the competition back in 2012.

Soderling had been working with Elias Ymer, who is currently ranked 176th in the world. He is the brother of world No.76 Mikael Ymer, who is Sweden’s top men’s player. The reason for the end of their collaboration was because Soderling wanted to spend more time with his family. He is married with two children under the age of 10.

“I worked with Elias Ymer for a year and thought it was fun and educational. It was as close as you can get to your own career when playing yourself.” He said.
“But it became too much for me with over 30 trips a year. It didn’t work with my family situation. Maybe I listened too much to “Fidde” (Fredrik Rosengren) who said he had not seen his children in 25 years. I wasn’t prepared for that. I received questions after the assignment with Elias but declined no.’
“This assignment as the Davis Cup captain does not mean as many trips and given that I like tennis overall and above all Swedish tennis, the choice was easy.”

Soderling’s first test will be in March when his country takes on Chile on home soil. A team who has two top 100 players in singles. The winner will be moved into the 18-team Davis Cup finals, which was launched for the first time this year.

“Sweden has certainly not been favourites in all those matches. They have done really well.” He stated.
“If you look at the (Swedish) team, we have a good team with Mikael and Elias Ymer even though we are not super wide overall compared to many other countries that have several players in the top 100. But we are competitive and actually play for a place in Madrid against the world best team.”

During his playing career, Soderling played in 10 Davis Cup ties and won 14 out of 18 matches.

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