Croatia beats Italy to book semifinal spot in the Davis Cup - UBITENNIS
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Croatia beats Italy to book semifinal spot in the Davis Cup

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Croatia upset Italy 2-1 in the quarter finals of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals at the Pala Alpitour in Turin to reach the semifinal, as Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic beat Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner 6-3 6-4 in the decisive double match. 

 

Borna Gojo gave Croatia an early 1-0 lead over Italy in the quarter finals of the Davis Cup quarter finals at the Pala Alpitour in Turin after his 7-6 (7-2) 2-6 6-2 win against Lorenzo Sonego after 2 hours and 19 minutes. 

Sonego went up a 4-1 lead with a break in the fourth game, but he did not convert a double break point in the sixth game. Gojo broke back at 30 in the seventh game. The Croatian player won five consecutive points from 2-2 to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Sonego went up a 4-0 lead with a double break in the second set. The world number 27 player saved three break-back points. He held serve in the seventh game with two aces to seal the set 6-2. 

Gojo earned a break in the fourth game of the third set to take a 3-1 lead and held serve for 4-1. Sonego earned two break-back points in the seventh game, but Gojo saved them with a backhand volley and a first serve. The world number 279 held serve with an ace to open up a 5-2 lead and sealed the decisive set 6-2 with his second break.

“It feels amazing. We knew we had to get one point from the two singles.The support was unbelievable. They are so loud. Some of my best friends and family are here and I want to thank them with all my heart for comng”, said Gojo. 

Jannik Sinner came back from one set down to edge Marin Cilic 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 drawing level the tie to 1-1. 

Cilic rallied from 15-40 down to break serve on his second opportunity in the fourth game of the opening set. Both players held their next service games. Cilic served out the first set 6-3 in the ninth game after recovering from 0-30 down.

Sinner battled back from a set and a break down. Cilic served for the match when he was leading 5-4 in the second set. Sinner fought back from the brink, breaking to love before winning the tie-break 7-4. 

Sinner broke serve to love at the start of the third set. Cilic converted his third break-back point in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, when Sinner earned his second break to take a 4-3 lead. The Italian star held his serve before earning two match points at 5-3. Cilic saved the first chance with a forehand inside-out. Sinner broke serve on his second match point.  

“The most important thing is that we are are still here. It is the most important amazing feeling. We will try to do the best in the doubles. I just tried to stay there. It was not easy trying to break him for the match, but I just tried my best”, said Sinner. 

Olympic champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic beat Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner 6-3 6-4 after 1 hour and 20 minutes to secure Croatia a spot in the semifinals. 

The Croatian team earned the first break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Sinner and Fognini saved five set points to hold serve at deuce in the eighth game. Mektic and Pavic did not face any break points to close out the first set 6-3 after 38 minutes. 

The Italian team saved a break point in the third game of the second set. Croatia earned the break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 after Fognini made a double fault and did not face a break point in their next service games to win the 42-minute second set 6-4 on their first match point, as Pavic fired an ace.  

Italy did not earn any break points, while Croatia converted two of their eight chances.

Croatia will face either Serbia or Kazakhstan in the semifinal in Madrid. 

“Honestly, it feels incredible. I don’s think anyone expected us to get this far and it feels amazing to be going in Madrid”, said Mektic. 

Croatia is bidding for a third Davis Cup title and the second in three editions after claiming this tournament in 2018. 

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Clara Tauson scores the biggest win of her career beating Anett Kontaveit in Melbourne

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Danish 19-year-old rising star Clara Tauson beat 2020 Australian Open quarter finalist Anett Kontaveit 6-2 6-4 in 1 hour and 19 minutes to reach the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the the first time in her career in Melbourne. 

 

Former world junior number 1 player Clara Tauson started the 2021 season outside the top 100 and won her first two WTA Tour titles in Lyon and Luxembourg. Kontaveit had won 28 of her past 32 matches in 2021 to break into the top 10 in the WTA Ranking. 

Tauson hit 20 winners to 13 unforced errors. The Dane broke her Estonian opponent in the first game of the opening set. She broke serve with her service returns to open up a 5-2 lead and held serve at love with a backhand winner to close out the first set 6-2. 

Both players traded breaks twice in the second set to draw level to 4-4. Tauson converted her third break point in the ninth game after a wide forehand by Kontaveit. 

Tauson earned three match points, as she was serving for the match, and sealed the win after a forehand error by Kontaveit. 

The Dane recorded the biggest win of her career by ranking. 

“It’s the first time I am in the third round of a Grand Slam tournament. It’s a big achievement for me. Obviously it was one of the things I really wanted to do, to beat the good players in the bigger tournaments. Doing it in a Slam is a really great feeling. It’s just a lot of hard work that I have put into it. That it’s here already in one of the first tournaments of the year is a really nice feeling, but I still have some work to do. I cannot be too happy with the win today, but I am really happy”, said Tauson. 

Tauson set up a third round match against 2019 Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins, who beat Ana Konjuh 6-4 6-3. 

Former Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek won 8 of her 10 games en route to her 6-2 6-2 win over Rebecca Peterson in just 67 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open for the the third consecutive year. 

Swiatek recorded her second win against Peterson at Grand Slam level after beating her Swedish opponent in the second round of last year’s Roland Garros. 

“Just starting the match with confidence was pretty important for me. I felt like I was dominating from the beginning, and after getting a couple of breaks. It was much easier to go forward. That was the key”, said Swiatek. 

Swiatek will face Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, who eased past Polish player Magda Linette 6-2 6-3. Kasatkina beat Swiatek in three sets on grass in Eastboune last summer. 

Aryna Sabalenka fought back from one set down to beat Wang Xinyu 1-6 6-4 6-2. 

Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova beat 37-year-old Australian player Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-2. Stosur bid her farewell to her singles career and was honoured on court with a video and video tribute by Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka and Ajla Tomljanovic. 

Pavlyuchenkova set up a third round match against Sorana Cristea, who beat Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova 6-2 6-4. 

Simona Halep eased past Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 6-0 with five breaks of serve in just 66 minutes setting up a third round match against Danka Kovinic, who beat Emma Raducanu in three sets. Halep dropped just nine points on serve and never faced a break point. The two-time Grand Slam champion hit 15 winners to 22 unforced errors. The Romanian player claimed her 23rd career title at the Melbourne Summer Set 1 two weeks ago and has extended her winning streak to seven consecutive matches.

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Jannik Sinner reaches the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his career

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Eleventh-seed Jannik Sinner cruised past Steve Johnson 6-2 6-4 6-3 on Margaret Arena after 1 hour and 43 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his third appearance of his career at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Sinner fired 29 winners and broke five times. 

 

“It’s a real pleasure to play here. I played on this pitch against Shapovalov in the first round last year. I love playing in Australia, so having a night game is very special”, said Sinner. 

Sinner raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break and closed it out on his first set point after 26 minutes. The 20-year-old Italian star earned a decisive break in the ninth game to seal the 41-minute second set 6-4. 

Sinner broke serve in the first game of the third set to take a 2-1 lead. The world number 11 faced a break point in the fourth game to hold serve after three deuces. The Italian star held serve at love in the eighth game, when Johnson hit a backhand return into the net. The Italian star closed out the third set with his second break, when Sousa hit his forehand into net. 

“I started the match very well, which gave me a lot of confidence. When I had to break in every set, I was quite relaxed. I tried to stay focused on my service games which I think I have done. I am very happy to be through in three sets. It was not easy to play against him. We had already played twice, and I tried to return his serves because his first serve is very precise This was my first goal, and obviously trying to mix up a little bit the game, try to move him. I think I was solid. I had a couple of break chances which I used, so I am very happy”, said Sinner. 

Sinner set up a third round match against Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, who beat Andy Murray 6-4 6-4 6-4. Daniel has already beat four Italian players this year, but Sinner has not dropped a set in his five matches this year. 

“Taro Daniel has reached the third round because he is playing very well. I did not know that he had already beaten four Italian players this year. It is not easy to beat them. Matches are always tough at any level. Daniel beat Murray and it is not easy to win against the Scotsman. I lost against Murray last year in Stockolm”, said Sinner. 

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Danka Kovinic becomes the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament

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Danka Kovinic has become the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament after a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over last year’s US Open champion and number 17 seed Emma Raducanu after 2 hours and 38 minutes on Margaret Court Arena in the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

Kovinic had lost in the second round in her six previuos appearances at a Grand Slam tournament. The World number 98 recorded her fourth career top 20 win and her first on hard-court. 

Raducanu broke serve in the opening game and cruised into a 3-0 lead with a double break. Kovinic bounced back by winning the next two games to claw her way back to 2-3, before Raducanu took was hampered by a blister on her raquet hand and took a medical time-out for treatment on her hand. Raducanu double faulted, as Kovinic broke again to draw level to 3-3. Kovinic completed the turnaround by winning five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. Raducanu broke for the third time for 4-5, but Kovinic closed out the first set 6-4. 

Raducanu opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set with an early break in the first game but Kovinic broke back in the eighth  game to draw level to 4-4 . Raducanu broke for the second time in the ninth game with two consecutive forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead. The British teenager fended off two break points in the 10th game to clinch the second set 6-4. 

Raducanu missed four break points in the first and third games of the third set. Kovinic converted her break point in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Raducanu broke straight back at love in the fifth game. Kovinic broke for the second time in the sixth game with a lob to take a 4-2 lead and sealed the win on her second match point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Kovinic was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to calf and back injuries. 

“Basically only one good result was in Charleston last year. Everything else was really struggling and trying to recover my body for next events, which I wasn’t really successful. I was rushing a little bit, so I never really healed my back injury, but I took some time during the pre-season to really take care of that, so hopefully that’s in the past”, said Danka Kovinic. 

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