Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejcikova To Headline Groups At WTA Finals In Mexico - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejcikova To Headline Groups At WTA Finals In Mexico

The draw for the season-ending finale has taken place with all eight participants bidding to win the tournament for the first time in their careers.

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Aryna Sabalenka returns a shot during a Women's Doubles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Tuesday, Sep. 7, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka has been drawn in the same group as former French Open champion Iga Swiatek at the WTA Finals in Mexico, which will start on Wednesday.

 

The end-of-season extravaganza features the eight highest-ranked singles and doubles players in the world with a prize money pool totaling $5M. This year’s is the 50th edition of the event but the first time in history it is taking place in South America at the Panamerican Tennis Center. Players have been split into two groups which have been named after ancient cities in Mexico.

World No.2 Sabalenka is set to lock horns with Swiatek in Group Chichén Itzá in what will be the first ever Tour meeting between the two players. Both players have won two titles this season but Sabalenka has won more matches at 44-35. Furthermore Sabalenka, who is three years older than Swiatek, has earned more than $5M extra in career prize money.

Also in the group is trailblazer Maria Sakkari, who has set a series of new milestones for Greek tennis this season. The 26-year-old is the first woman from her country to reach a Grand Slam semi-final, crack the top world’s 10 and qualify for the WTA Finals. Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa is the fourth member of the group.

Both Swiatek and Badosa are yet to play two of the three players they have been drawn against on the WTA Tour.

Group Teotihuacán will be headed by the Czech duo of Barbora Krejcikova and Karolina Pliskova. Reigning French Open champion Krejcikova is the highest ranked player in the group but it is Pliskova who could be the most dominant force if past history repeats itself. The former world No.1 boasts a total win-loss record of 13-2 against the other players in her group.

Garbina Muguruza, who is a two-time Grand Slam champion, is the only player in Teotihuacán who has previously defeated Pliskova but hasn’t done so since 2017. Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit makes up the quartet following a late surge on the Tour this season which saw her clinch the final qualifying spot. Kontaveit is currently on a 10-match winning streak after claiming back-to-back titles in Russia and Romania.

The two highest ranked players of each group will move on to the semi-final stages.

Group’s and head-to-head records

Chichén Itzá
1. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
4. Maria Sakkari (GRE)
5. Iga Swiatek (POL)
7. Paula Badosa (ESP)

SABALENKASAKKARISWIATEKBADOSA
SABALENKAN/A4-10-00-1
SAKKARI1-4N/A2-00-0
SWIATEK0-00-2N/A0-0
BADOSA1-00-00-0N/A
source: wtatour.com

Teotihuacán
2. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)
3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
6. Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
8. Anett Kontaveit (EST)

KREJCIKOVA PLISKOVAMUGURUZAKONTAVEIT
KREJCIKOVA N/A0-22-10-0
PLISKOVA2-0N/A8-23-0
MUGURUZA1-22-8N/A2-2
KONTAVEIT0-00-32-2N/A
source: wtatour.com

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The Russian Tennis Federation wins the third Davis Cup title

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The Russian Tennis Federation beat Croatia 2-0 to win their third Davis Cup title and their first since 2006 with straight-set wins by top 10 players Andrey Rublev and Danil Medvedev. 

 

World number 5 Andrey Rublev beat world number 279 Borna Gojo 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in 1 hour and 33 minutes to give the Russian Tennis Federation a 1-0 lead over Croatia in the final of the Davis Cup.

Russia equalled Czech Republic and Germany in seventh place in the all-time list of Davis Cup winners. 

Earlier this year Russia had also won the ATP Cup last February. 

Russia could become the fourth team to win both Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup titles in the same year after the women’s team claimed the women’s event beating Switzerland 2-0 last month. 

Gojo, who beat Lorenzo Sonego in the quarter final and Dusan Lajovic in the semifinal, saved break points in the first and third games of the first set, before Rublev earned two break points in the seventh game, as Gojo hit two backhands into the net. Rublev forced an error from Gojo with a forehand to break serve for 4-3. Rublev did not face a break point and served out the first set with an ace after 35 minutes. 

The Russian player did not convert his five break points in the first and third games of the second set. 

Rublev took Gojo to deuce at 5-5 but Gojo held with a serve down the middle. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. 

Rublev went up a mini-break twice in the tie-break, but Gojo broke back both times and took a 5-4 lead, when Rublev sent a forehand wide and a serve out wide.

Rublev earned two match points with a pass and forehand inside out and converted his first chance when Gojo hit his backhand long. The 24-year-old player did not face a break point and hit 18 winners. 

“It was super tough. There was a lot of pressure on me. Borna was playing ubelievably for the past two weeks. He was amazing today. I will enjoy this moment”,said Rublev. 

Danil Medvedev beat Marin Cilic 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 in the second singles match to give an insurmountable 2-0 lead ending Russia’s 15-year wait. Russia had won their previous titles in 2002 and 2006. 

Neither player was able to break point in a tight first set. Cilic earned a break point on Medvedev’s second serve at 4-3, but he hit a backhand return into the net. 

Cilic took a 4-2 lead when Medvedev sent a forehand wide in the tie-break. Medvedev won four of the next five points to earn a set point on Cilic’s serve. Cilic fended it off with a smash, but he sent a forehand out to face a second set point. Medvedev did not convert it after a double fault. Medvedev earned his third set point 8-7 with a big serve down the middle and converted ita s Cilic made a backhand error. 

Medvedev got his first break of the second set in the fourth game when a forehand from Cilic popped up off the net-cord. Medvedev sealed the second set 6-2 with his second break in the eighth game when a forehand from Cilic fell short. Medvedev won 87% of his first serve points. 

“It feels amazing. I am more happy for the team than myself. We have an amazing team with a great atmosphere and I am just happy to be able to be part of this team to win the points we needed. It was an amazing two weeks. I am really happy”, said Medvedev. 

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Russia sets up Davis Cup final against Croatia

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Top 10 players Danil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev won their singles matches in straight sets to guide the Russian Team Federation to a 2-1 win over Germany sending the Russian Tennis Federation into the final of the Davis Cup in Madrid. The Russian team set up a final against 2018 Davis Cup champions Croatia in the Davis Cup on Sunday.  

 

Rublev eased past Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-0 after just 49 minutes to give the Russian Team Federation a 1-0 lead. Rublev hit nine aces and converted all his four break points. 

“The difference today was compared to other matches where I was feeling I am winning quite easily. I don’t need to put in much effort, and in the end I was completely relaxed. I was giving up to the other guy”, said Rublev. 

This year’s US Open champion Danil Medvedev sealed Russia’s spot in the final with a 6-4 6-4 win over Jan-Lennard Struff in 66 minutes with a break in each set. Medvedev committed just six unforced errors and saved the only break point he faced. Struff saved two break points before sending his shot into the net to drop his serve. Medvedev held his serve to win the first set 6-4. 

“I am really happy for the team for the team. It has an amazing It won’t be easy against Croatia. They have the best doubles team in the world. We need to try to close it out in singles, but we believe in our guys in doubles”, said Medvedev. 

In the dead rubber Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev won the first set 6-4 with two breaks of serve, but they were not able to convert their two break break points, as Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz rallied to win the second set 6-2 with a break in the sixth game. The German team converted their third break point to win the match 4-6 6-2 6-3. 

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Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic send Croatia into the Davis Cup final with a win over Serbia in the decisive doubles match

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Olympic gold medallists and Wimbledon champions Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic defeated Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajnovic 7-5 6-1 to complete Serbia’s 2-1 win over Croatia in the semifinal of the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Madrid. 

 

Croatia has reached the Davis Cup final for the fourth time in history after previous appearances in the championships match in 2005, 2016 and 2018. Pavic and Mektic, who won nine titles in 2021, earned the decisive break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5 and broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to seal the second set 6-1. 

“It was a great win and we played against a great team. Djokovic is the best player in the world”, said Mate Pavic. 

Croatia will face either the Russian Tennis Federation or Germany in Sunday’s final. 

Djokovic had sent the semifinal tie to a decisive doubles match after a 6-4 6-2 win over Marin Cilic in 1 hour and 39 minutes. Djokovic scored his 19th consecutive singles win in the Davis Cup. 

Cilic earned six break points in the first set and two more chances in the second set, but he was unable to convert them. 

Djokovic earned a crucial break in the ninth game from 0-40 down to win the first set 6-4. The 20-time Grand Slam champion broke twice in the third and fifth games to seal the second set 6-2. 

“It was always going to be a tough match against Marin. The first set was over an hour, with some very close games. I saved myself. Winning the first set gave me a lot of confidence for the second set. It was a nervy start for both of us. We both knew the significance of this match”, said Djokovic. 

In the first singles match earlier on Friday world number 279 Borna Gojo rallied from one set down to beat Dusan Lajovic 4-6 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 1 minute to give Croatia a 1-0 lead. Gojo had upset Alexei Popyrin in the round robin and Lorenzo Sonego in the quarter final. 

Gojo earned an early break in the second game of the first set and was two points away from a 5-1 lead. Lajovic won four consecutive games from 2-4 down with two breaks of serve to claim the first set 6-4. Gojo finished the opening set with 19 unforced errors to Lajovic’s 12. 

Gojo earned an early break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead in the second set and missed an opportunity for 4-0. Lajovic broke back in the fifth game for 2-3, but Gojo earned his second break in the sixth game to claim the second set 6-3 sending the match to the decisive set. Gojo broke twice in the first and third games of the third set and held his next service games to close out the decider 6-2.

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