Boris Becker, Marat Safin, Thomas Muster and Lleyton Hewitt named team captains at inaugural ATP Cup - UBITENNIS
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Boris Becker, Marat Safin, Thomas Muster and Lleyton Hewitt named team captains at inaugural ATP Cup

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Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, Marat Safin, Thomas Muster, Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman and Grigor Dimitrov lead a line-up of past tennis stars in their role as team captains at the first edition of the ATP Cup, which will take place in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from 3 to 12 January 2020.

 

Becker, who won the Wimbledon title in 1985 at the age of 17, will lead a strong German team which features 2018 ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev.

“We have a strong chance in an extremely competitive section of the draw. Playing against the very best and representing your country sets the tone, sets the sport. I think we are going to see amazing tennis”, said Becker.

Germany has been drawn in Group F alongside Greece, Canada and home team Australia.

Lleyton Hewitt will captain a strong Australian team, which features two-time Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Alex De Minaur and Nick Kyrgios.

“We are in a tough section, but I would give the Aussies a strong chance of beating any team. The guys are really excited to play in this new competition. It’s a game changer and it would mean so much to all of us to take it out”, said Hewitt.

Stefanos Tsitsipas will be the stand-out name of the Greek team, which will be captained by his father and coach Apostolos.

Former US Open champion Marat Safin will captain a star-studded Russian team, which features this year’s Shanghai and Cincinnati champion Danil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov.

Russia has been drawn in Group D against Italy, the USA and Norway.

“We have a real chance of winning the first ATP Cup with the calibre of players we have in the Russian side and I will be doing everything I can to make to happen from the bench”, said Marat Safin.

Italy will be captained by former player Vincenzo Santopadre, who coaches Matteo Berrettini, who reached the US Open semifinal and became the third Italian player in history to qualify for the ATP Finals. Berrettini will lead the Italian team hopes, while Fabio Fognini is likely to miss the ATP Cup, as his wife Flavia Pennetta is due to give birth to their second child.

Former Roland Garros champion Thomas Muster will lead Austria against Croatia, Argentina and Poland in Group E in Sydney. Muster was chosen by Dominic Thiem as captain.

“The ATP Cup brings some old rivals together as captains. The cream of tennis is competing across Australia and the player field is incredibly strong. I feel very excited to be part of it all”, said Thomas Muster.

Tim Henman will captain the British team, which feature three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, his brother Jamie and British number 1 player Dan Evans. Great Britain has been drawn in Group C against Bulgaria, Belgium and Moldova. Grigor Dimitrov will be the playing captain of the Bulgarian team.

Gilles Simon will captain a strong French team led by Gael Monfils. France has been drawn against Serbia, South Africa and Chile.

The winners of the six groups and the two best second-placed finishers reach the ATP Cup Finals in Sydney. Each tie features two singles and one doubles match.

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Alexander Zverev: “You can’t imagine what this means to me and I hope it will be the first of many Grand Slam semifinals”

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Alexander Zverev has reached the first Grand Slam semifinal of his career after beating Stan Wawrinka 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 in the quarter final of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

 

Zverev became the first German player to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Tommy Haas at Wimbledon ten years ago.

“It feels awesome. I have done well in World Tour Finals, won Masters, but could never make that breakthrough at a Grand Slam. I am happy to be in the semifinals. You can’t imagine what this means to me and I hope it will be the first of many.”, said Zverev after the quarter final match against Wawrinka.

Zverev set up a semifinal against Dominic Thiem, who beat Rafael Nadal 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (8-6). The Austrian player leads 6-2 in his eight head-to-head matches against his younger German rival and won their most recent clash in the semifinal of the ATP Finals in London.

“I will have a cold glass of Coca Cola in my hotel room, with air conditioning, hopefully watching Nadal and Thiem play for six hours. That’s my assessment of the match”, joked Zverev in his post-match interview.

Zverev started his 2020 season with three defeats against Alex De Minaur, Denis Shapovalov and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Finals, but he bounced back at this Australian Open, where he dropped just one set against Wawrinka in the quarter final.

“After losing the first set against Stan, I was getting ready to talk to the press about why I lost in straight sets. I turned it around and my energy picked up a bit. I wasn’t used to his ball. I needed to get used it. Thank God it worked out. I hope you can see in ATP Cup I was horrible, but this is a Grand Slam and this is where you’re meant to play your best tennis and I have been doing that. My energy picked up a little bit”, said Zverev.

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(VIDEO) Australian Open Day 10: Dominic Thiem Stuns Nadal, Zverev Breaks New Ground

A four set thriller resulted in the shock exit of the world No.1.

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Dominic Thiem - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

Rafael Nadal has become the first member of the illustrious Big Three to exit this year’s Australian Open. The world No.1 crashed out in four sets to Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who is through to the last four in Melbourne for the first time at the age of 26. Awaiting Thiem next will be another semifinal debutante in the shape of Alexander Zverev.

 

Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse both matches with British journalist Stuart Fraser from The Times.

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Hsieh-Su Wei and Barbora Strycova set doubles final clash against Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic

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Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova will battle against against Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in a clash between the number two seeds in the doubles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

 

Hsieh and Strycova beat number 4 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-2 6-3 in Thursday’s first semifinal. The top seeds will be bidding for their second title as a team after their triumph at Wimbledon last summer.

Hsieh and Strycova broke twice in each set and never faced a break point in each set.

“It’s always so amazing to be back here, because my first final in a junior Grand Slam was here, so I would like to thank Barbora for bringing me back again”,said Hsieh.

 “I am very happy that we are through to the final. It means so much for me. To have a partner like Su-wei by my side, it’s something very special. Playing another final of a Grand Slam, especially in Australia, which is my favourite country”,said Strycova.

Babos and Mladenovic beat Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching 7-5 6-2 in the second semifinal. Neither team faced a break point in the first ten games before Babos and Mladenovic earned the first break to take a 6-5 lead. The Hungarian and French team came back from 4-5 down in the first set by winning eight of the next nine games.

Babos and Mladenovic beat Hsieh and Strycova 6-1 6-3 in their previous head-to-head clash in the final of the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

 

 

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