Karolina Pliskova Hoping To Turn Positivity From New Coach Into Success - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova Hoping To Turn Positivity From New Coach Into Success

Will a change of coach help the Czech end her Grand Slam title drought?

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With dreams of winning her first Grand Slam title in 2021 Karolina Pliskova has turned to the help of somebody who has already guided some of her rivals to the top prize.

 

In November it was confirmed that the former world No.1 will be coached by Sascha Bajin. A 36-year-old German who guided Naomi Osaka to her first two Major titles between 2017-2019. During that period he was named WTA coach of the year in 2018. Since then Bajin has also spent stints working with both Kristina Mladenovic and Dayana Yastremska but only achieved moderate success compared to his work with Osaka.

Now Bajin’s focus is on the 28-year-old left-hander who has already won 16 WTA titles during her career. The partnership is very much in its early days but Pliskova admits she likes what she is seeing so far.

“I think it is too early to judge something, but during the past few weeks he has been putting in everything possible to make me feel at my best. I cannot say everything about it now as I don’t want to be in heaven. Let us wait and see how things work out during the season,” she told reporters earlier this week.

Pliskova’s coaching history is one with many tiers. Her previous mentors include Jiří Vaněk (2014–16), David Kotyza (2017), and Tomáš Krupa (2017–18). Furthermore, she has also collaborated with former players Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez, as well as Danni Vallverdu who is best known for his work on the ATP Tour.

Amid a history of coaching changes, Pliskova explains that she is trying to work with those who ‘put their heart into what they do.’ Her hope is that Bajin’s coaching history and commitment will make a good combination for the future.

“One thing for sure is that he [Bajin] has had success with many players. He knows how to be in a big team. He is super positive and there are lot of positive people around him as well, and that’s what I need. I am trying to find the right sort of people who put their entire heart into what they do. I feel Sasha is one of them and I am sure he will put his heart while he is in my team,” Pliskova explained.

Whilst there are high expectations the world No.6 stresses that she believes a large portion of her success is down to her on the court.

“Every time I have had a new coach I have played okay as I still believe that most of the success on court lies in me and not just on the coach. The coach is there to make me feel better and confident,” she added.

Pliskova is the third seed in this week’s Abu Dhabi Open. It will be the first tournament she has played since losing her opening match at the Ostrava Open in October.

Davis Cup

(VIDEO) Ubaldo Scanagatta On A Week To Remember For Canada At The Davis Cup

The CEO of Ubitennis also shares his view about the format of the tournament and how he thinks it can be improved.

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MALAGA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 27: Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 at Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena on November 27, 2022 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado/ Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

Canada has become the 16th nation to win the Davis Cup after producing a clinical performance against Australia in the final on Sunday. Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both eased through their matches in straight sets to claim an historic victory for their country.

 

Watching the matches unfold from the sidelines was Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta who gives his verdict on events that has taken place in Malaga over the past week.

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Felix Auger Aliassime helps Canada reach the Davis Cup Final

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Canada reached the Davis Cup final for the second time in three years after beating Italy 2-1 in the semifinal in Malaga. 

 

Denis Shapovalov beat Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 in the opening match.

Felix Auger Aliassime earned a 6-3 6-4 win over Lorenzo Musetti to draw level to 1-1 before teaming up with Vasek Pospisil to defeat Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-2) 7-5. 

Sonego beats Shapovalov 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4

Lorenzo Sonego battled past Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 after 3 hours and 14 minutes to give Italy the 1-0 point in the opening singles match of the Davis Cup Finals by Rakuten in Malaga. 

Shapovalov hit five aces, made seven double faults and converted just one of his 13 break points. Sonego fired seven aces, made three double faults and converted one of his four break points. 

Shapovalov won the first nine points of the match to take a 2-0 lead with a break in the opening game. Sonego won three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break-back in the fifth game. Shapovalov saved two break points in the sixth game to hold serve at deuce for 3-3. Sonego fended off two break points in the seventh game for 4-3. Sonego earned two mini-breaks on the second and sixth points to race to a 5-1 lead. Shapovalov clawed his way back by winning three points for 4-5. Sonego earned two mini-breaks to seal the tie-break 7-4, when Shapovalov sent a forehand long after 1 hour and 10 minutes

The second set went on serve until the 10th game, when Shapovalov earned three consecutive set points at 4-5 0-40 on Sonego’s serve. The Italian player saved five set points to hold serve at deuce for 5-5 and sent the second set to the tie-break. 

Sonego won four consecutive points from 1-2 down to take a 5-2 lead in the tie-break. Sonego missed a drive volley to set up a match point. Shapovalov won his fifth consecutive point to seal the second set to send the match to the decider. 

Shapovalov saved two break points in the first game of the third set. The Canadian player made three double faults but he held serve at deuce without facing any break points. Shapovalov saved a break point in the sixth game with an ace. Sonego fended off three break points at 3-3 in the seventh game to hold serve after three deuces before Shapovalov received treatment for a back issue. 

Sonego earned the decisive break in the 10th game to close out the match after Shapovalov made three double faults. 

Sonego has drawn level to 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Shapovalov, who beat the Italian player 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-3 in the Rome Masters 1000 tournament. 

“It’s an unbelievable moment for me. Shapovalov fights non-stop. I had to be focused on every point and I needed the help of all my team. This is just a great moment for Italy. It was really tough to remain focused because I lost the tie-break in the second set, but I was really positive and my captain helped me a lot to do my best to stay in the match and I enjoy the match until the last moment for me. It was a really tight match and a big win and a big win. It was an amazing win for me and for my team”, said Sonego. 

Auger Aliassime beats Musetti 6-3 6-4 

In the second singles match Felix Auger Aliassime beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-3 6-4 converting a break point late in both sets to send the tie to the decivive doubles clash. Auger Aliassime did not face a break point and won all but three of his first serve points. 

Auger Aliassime earned his first break in the sixth game to open up a 5-2 lead and held his next service games to seal the first set 6-3 with an ace after 39 minutes. 

Musetti held his serve after three deuces to hold serve in the first game of the second set. Both players held serve until 4-4. Musetti saved the first break point in the ninth game with a service winner, but Auger Aliassime converted his second chance with a down the line winner. Musetti went up a 0-30 lead on Auger Aliassime’s serve in the 10th game, but the Canadian player hit three service winners to serve out the match 6-4 keeping Canada’s hopes of reaching the final alive. 

Auger Aliassime now leads 3-2 in his five head-to-head matches against Musetti. 

“It’s sad, because it’s the second time in a row that I have the chance to bring Italy to the final. I played until the last point, and Felix played better than me. he deserved to win”, said Musetti. 

Canada beats Italy 7-6 (7-5) 7-2

Canadian captain Frank Dancevic made a late change to the doubles line-up, calling up Auger Aliassime to team up with Vasek Pospisil. 

Berrettini and Fognini converted their second break point in the third game to take a 3-1 lead. Auger Aliassime and Pospisil broke back on their third opportunity in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both teams went on serve setting up a tie-break. Auger Aliassime earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Berrettini and Fognini went up a break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Auger Aliassime and Pospisil broke back in the third game after two double faults from Fognini to draw level to 2-2. Both players went on serve until the 11th game when Auger Aliassime and Pospisil earned the decisive break on their third opportunity to take a 6-5 lead. The Italian team wasted two break-back points at 5-6 in the 12thgame.  Auger Aliassime delivered two first serves to get to deuce with an ace and a winner and won the final four points to secure their spot in the final. 

Felix Auger Aliassime: “That’s the good thing about having many good players on the team. I feel like Denis and Vasek played really well yesterday to come back and win, but Denis had a long match, and we knew coming this week that we could make some changes depending on how singles went. I feel like the whole team connected around this idea and there was no ego in the wrong place. Everybody just has the clear idea of the main goal, which is lifting the cup tomorrow”. 

Canada improved their lead against Italy to 3-0 in the three head-to-head matches after wins in 2013 and 2019. 

Canada is one win away from a historic first Davis Cup title.  

Canada set up a final against Australia, who reached the Davis Cup final for the first time in 19 years after a 2-1 win over Croatia on Friday. 

Australia holds a 9-1 lead against Canada. Howevr the Canadian team earned a win in their last match at the 2019 Davis Cup match. 

Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov lost to Rafael Nadal and Felix Auger Aliassime in the Davis Cup final in Madrid in 2019. 

“Making the finals is always an amazing feeling, and I really believe in the team. We have done it before. We are here again and I believe we can win this, so we are going to go after it tomorrow and give it all we have got”, said Frank Dancevic.

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Australia fights back from losing the first match to reach the Davis Cup final

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Australia fought back from losing the first singles match to beat Croatia 2-1 reaching its first Davis Cup in 19 years. 

 

Alex De Minaur cruised past Marin Cilic 6-2 6-2 in just 44 minutes to send the semifinal to decisive doubles match. Cilic made 10 double faults, as De Minaur broke four times to draw level to 2-2 in his head-to-head matches. De Minaur has improved his Davis Cup hard-court singles record to 10-1 in the Davis Cup. 

“This is what this team is about, that never say-die attitude. I have had a couple of instances when I have been in this position and I feel like my back is against the wall, and there is only a wall to break through, and that’s going forward steam ahead and just going after every single point. My job was to keep us alive, and I am happy to do anything I can do for my country”, said De Minaur. 

Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell came back from one set down to beat Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 6-4. Thompson and Purcell broke twice and never dropped a service game to come back from losing the first-set tie-break. 

The first set went on serve with no breaks of serve en route to the tie-break. Mektic and Pavic earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Thompson and Purcell broke serve in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead and held serve in the 12th game to force the match to the decider. The Australian team broke again in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held their next two service games to close out the third set 6-4. 

Australia won its 28th and last title in 2003. 

“I am so proud. Australia has a rich history in this competition. We have been fortunate to win it all on a number of occasions. I know what it meant to me as a player to play a final, and I am glad these guys can play it”, said Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt. 

Australia will face either Italy or Canada in the final. 

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