Denis Shapovalov: "Playing as part of a team is much fun" - UBITENNIS
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Denis Shapovalov: “Playing as part of a team is much fun”

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World number 15 Denis Shapovalov will start his 2020 season at the first edition of the ATP Cup to be held in Australia from 3 to 12 January 2020. The young Canadian star talked to the ATP Website about the importance of playing a team tournament at the start of the season and the reason why enjoys playing with his teammates.

 

Canada has been drawn in the Group F with Greece and home team Australia. The Canadian team will be represented by Shapovalov, Felix Auger Aliassime, Steven Diez, Peter Polansky and Adil Shamasdin.

Shapovalov enjoyed a successful 2020 season, in which he won the first ATP Tour title of his career in Stockolm and reached his first Masters 1000 final in Paris Bercy and the semifinal at the Masters 1000 in Miami. He achieved career-high number 15 on 4 November.

In the 2019 Davis Cup held at the Caja Magica in Madrid Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil teamed up to take Canada to its first-ever Davis Cup final. Canada beat Italy, the United States in the round robin, Australia and Russia en route to the final before losing to Spain in the title match.

“Playing as part of a team is so much fun. From the moment I picked up a raquet, I was always watching team events like this. I have always wanted to represent my country. Any time you get to have that bond and represent your country is awesome. You get to bond with the other guys, as well as the teams from other countries”, said Shapovalov to the ATP Tour Website.

 Shapovalov looked back to his past memories of the Junior Davis Cup in 2015, when he teamed up with Felix Auger Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin

 “The biggest memory was winning Junior Davis Cup with Felix Auger Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin in 2015. We were going through it in the locker room, saying how great it was and how we put our hearts on the line the whole week. We were hoping that one day we could do ita t the pro level. It’s been an unbelievable ride”.

The Canadian Next Gen star admired his countryman Vasek Pospisil as idol when he was growing up.

 “I watched Vasek a lot. I really liked the way he was on court and how it seemed like he was always enjoying himself. He was always really committed to Canada. He is a guy that I look up to and aspire to be one day”, said Pospisil.  

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Elise Mertens beats Camila Giorgi to reach her third quarter final in 2020

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Number 3 seed Elise Mertens from Belgium edged Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 44 minutes to secure her spot in the quarter final at the Prague Open. 

 

Mertens reached her third quarter final of the 2020 season after Shenzhen and Auckland and scored her second win in as many matches against Giorgi. 

Giorgi got an early break in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead, as Mertens hit her backhand into the net. Mertens broke straight back in the third game for 1-2. Giorgi saved two break points in the fifth game. 

Mertens broke for the second time in a eight-deuce seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held her next two service games and served out the first set 6-4 with a backhand pass. 

Mertens got the first break of the second set in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Belgian player saved four break-back points in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead before breaking serve in the seventh game. The 2019 Doha champion hit her third ace on her first match point setting up a quarter final clash against either Tamara Zidansek or Canadian wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.   

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Simona Halep makes a winning start to her Prague Open campaign

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Number 1 seed and last year’s Wimbledon champion Simona Halep edged past Polona Hercog 6-1 1-6 7-6 (7-3) in two and a half hours in the opening round of the Prague Open on her seventh match point after 2 hours and 31 minutes. Halep played her first match since claiming her 20th title in Dubai. 

 

Halep wasted six match points before claiming the win in the tie-break of the third set to secure his spot in the Round of 16. Halep won four points more than Hercog and saved five of the 11 break points he faced. 

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the opening set. Halep earned two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-1, as Hercog made 12 unforced errors to only two winners. 

Hercog came back from a break down early in the second set to get three consecutive breaks and won the second set 6-1. 

Both players traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the decider. Halep earned another break to open up a 5-3 lead. Hercog broke back in the ninth game and saved six match points in the 10th and 12th games to set up a decisive tie-break. Halep claimed the tie-break 7-3. 

Before the five-month break Halep lost to Garbine Muguruza in the semifinal of the Australian Open and won the Dubai final. 

Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi came back from one set down to beat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) after 2 hours and 14 minutes. Giorgi converted six of her eight break points. 

Kostyuk earned the first break in the fourth game. Giorgi broke straight back in the fifth game. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Giorgi saved a break point in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Kostyuk broke for the third time in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4 after 44 minutes. 

Giorgi broke twice in a row to race out to a 4-0 lead, Kostyuk pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Giorgi broke again in the seventh game to win the second set 6-2 in 31 minutes. 

Kostyuk broke serve in the third game of the decider to open up a 3-0 lead. Giorgi broke back to draw level to 3-3. In the eighth game the Italian star fended off another break. The set came down to the tie-break. Giorgi opened up a 4-2 lead. Both players traded mini-breaks. Giorgi earned two match points and converted her first chance to win the tie-break 7-4. 

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Petra Martic advances to the second round at the Prague Open

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Number 2 seed and Roland Garros quarter finalist Petra Martic edged past world number 101 Varvara Gracheva 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 1 hour and 50 minutes to advance to the second round at the Prague Open.

 

Martic earned the first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Gracheva broke back at love to draw level to 5-5, as Martic was serving for the first set. Martic hit two dropshots to force a tie-break. The Croatian player won the tie-break 7-2, as Gacheva made five unforrced errors out of nine points. 

Martic needed a medical time-out between sets, but she converted her third break point at deuce to race out to a 3-0 lead with a series of dropshots and smashes. The world number 15 wasted three game points for a 4-1 lead. Gracheva broke back in the fifth game after four deuces. Martic brought up another break point with a drop-shot and converted his chance to take a 4-2 lead as Gracheva sent a forehand long. 

Martic dropped two more points on her serve and converted her first match point with a kick serve and a forehand.

“It was not an eay match, especially in the first set. Unfortunately I could not serve it out, but I am happy I brought my level up in the tie-break where it mattered. It’s definitely not ideal. I have some aches here and there, the body is still adjusting to matches and playing one after another, but I think it’s normal and I hope I can maintain it to last this tournament”, said Martic. 

Elise Mertens battled past Jasmine Paolini 7-5 4-6 6-3 after two hours and 41 minutes. In the first set Paolini missed two break points at 3-2 15-40 before dropping her serve in the next game at 15. The Italian player saved a set point at 4-5 and broke back to draw level to 5-5. Mertens broke again in the 11th game and served out the first set on her third set point to win the first set 7-5. 

Mertens went up a break to take a 3-1 lead, but Paolini broke back to draw level to 3-3. Paolini saved two game points in the 10th game before breaking serve to win the second set 6-4. Mertens earned an early break in the first game of the third set. In the next game Paolini missed two break-back points. 

Paolini broke back in the fourth game, but she dropped her serve in the fifth game after missing a game point for 3-2. Mertens held her service game after saving a break point to take a 4-2 lead. The Belgian player broke again in the eighth game at 15 at 5-3 and secured the win on the first match point. 

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