Australian Summer Daily Preview: Championship Sunday - UBITENNIS
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Australian Summer Daily Preview: Championship Sunday

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Ash Barty earlier this week in Adelaide (twitter.com/AdelaideTennis)

Between singles, doubles, and the ATP Cup team event, there will be 11 titles decided across Australia on Sunday.  In Melbourne, multi-time Major champions Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep both play in singles finals.  In Adelaide, World No.1 Ash Barty goes for championships in both singles and doubles, while the two top seeds collide in the ATP singles final.  And in Sydney, Canada faces Spain to become the winners of the third annual ATP Cup.

 

Sydney: The ATP Cup, a Round Robin Team Event between 16 Nations

Order of Play is here.

Denis Shapovalov [CAN] vs. Pablo Carreno Busta [ESP] – 5:30pm on Ken Rosewall Arena

This will mark the highest-ranked opposition either man has faced in singles at this event.  Shapovalov is 2-1, while Carreno Busta is 4-0, and is yet to drop a set.  And the Spaniard leads their head-to-head 4-1, claiming all four of their previous hard court meetings.  Most recently, in the quarterfinals of the 2020 US Open, Pablo defeated Denis in five.

Felix Auger-Aliassime [CAN] vs. Roberto Bautista Agut [ESP] – Not Before 7:00pm on Ken Rosewall Arena

Auger-Aliassime is 2-2 in singles.  While he scored an impressive upset over Sascha Zverev, he was dominated by Daniil Medvedev on Saturday.  Like Carreno Busta, Bautista Agut is 4-0, and prevailed in a third-set tiebreak against Hubi Hurkacz in the semifinals.  Felix is 2-1 against Roberto, and outlasted the veteran at last year’s US Open in five.  If Canada and Spain split the singles contests, a doubles match will decide the champions.


Adelaide: a WTA 500 Event, and an ATP 250 Event

Order of Play is here.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Elena Rybakina (7) – Not Before 4:00pm on Centre Court

Barty has easily dismissed two Slam champs in her last two matches: Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek.  After a heartbreaking loss in the bronze medal match of the Tokyo Olympics, Rybakina ended 2021 by going only 10-8.  Their only prior encounter occurred two years ago in this same country, when Barty was victorious over Rybakina in the third round of the Australian Open.  Later in the evening, Ash will team with Storm Sanders in the doubles final against Darija Jurak Schreiber and Andreja Klepac, who won two titles last season.

Gael Monfils (1) vs. Karen Khachanov (2) – Not Before 6:00pm on Centre Court

As per the ATP, Monfils has now reached a final in 18 consecutive seasons.  For Khachanov, this is his first final since Bercy in 2018.  Monfils has not dropped a set this week.  Khachanov has, though he notched a strong straight-set win in Saturday’s semifinals over Marin Cilic.  Surprisingly, this is their first career meeting.


Melbourne: Two WTA 250 Events, and an ATP 25 Event

Order of Play is here.

Amanda Anisimova vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Q) – Not Before 3:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

20-year-old American Anisimova has played extremely well this week during a trial run with Darren Cahill as her coach.  In the semifinals, she crushed Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-0.  As Ravi Ubha highlighted on Twitter, this is Sasnovich’s first final since four years ago in Brisbane.  And she excels in Australia, as she also reached the semis in Sydney back in 2019.  This is another first-time encounter.

Simona Halep (2) vs. Veronika Kudermetova (3) – Not Before 5:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

After injuries derailed much of her 2021 season, Halep is now into her second final out of her last three tournaments.  Kudermetova survived three tight matchups earlier this week, and received a walkover from Naomi Osaka on Saturday.  These women played twice in 2021, with both matches going to Halep in straight sets.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Maxime Cressy (Q) – Not Before 7:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

Nadal only required two victories to make this final, as he received a bye in the first round, and a walkover in the quarterfinals.  Cressy is a serve-and-volleying 24-year-old American ranked 112th in the world, who came through qualifying and already defeated two of the top three seeds (Opelka, Dimitrov).  Notably, Maxime went 6-0 in tiebreaks this week.  And when asked about the prospect of facing Nadal, he said “I have the game to beat him.”

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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(@HeartThamesNews - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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Canada Thumps Australia To Win Historic Davis Cup Title 

The dream of the North American team has finally become a reality.

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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 Silvestre Szpylma / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

109 years after making their Davis Cup debut, Canada has finally claimed the trophy after producing two clinical wins over Australia in the final on Sunday. 

 

The duo of Denis Shapovalov and Felix-Auger Aliassime both shined in their matches to give the North American nation an unassible 2-0 lead in the three-match tie. It is the first time Canada has won the title with 2022 being only the second time they have reached the final. Three years ago they missed out on the title to Spain. 

“The emotions are tough to describe,” said Auger-Aliassime. “All of us here, we’ve dreamt of this. All of these guys grew up together dreaming of this moment, dreaming of winning the Davis Cup. It’s a great moment for me and my country…. I am happy we were able to get our first Davis Cup with this group.”

Shapovalov kicked-off the final with a 90-minute 6-2, 6-4, win over Thanasi Kokkinakis who also lost his semi-final match against Borna Coric. The world No.18 blasted 28 winners past his opponent and broke him four times in the match. Besides handing Canada the crucial lead, it was a much-needed confidence boost for Shapovalov who earlier in the week lost to Lorenzo Sonego and Jan-Lennard Struff. 

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Shapovalov. “I had a long one against Sonego yesterday and was struggling with my back a little bit. So huge credit to the medical staff for putting me back in shape. There were a lot of doubts if I’d be ready to play today. It was amazing to play pain-free today.”

Closing in on the title, Felix Auger-Aliassime secured victory for his country with a 6-3, 6-4, triumph over world No.24 Alex de Minaur. Producing a total of six aces and saving all eight break points he faced. 

https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/1596895388077674497

Canada’s run to their first title occurred with a bit of luck on their side. Originally they were eliminated from the finals after losing to the Netherlands at the start of this year. However, they received a wildcard to play in the group stages following the removal of Russia from the competition. Russia and Belarus are currently suspended from team events due to the war in Ukraine. 

In Group B they scored wins over South Korea and Spain to secure a place in the finale this week. Before dismissing Australia, they beat Italy 2-1 in the semi-finals and Germany 2-1 in the quarter-finals. 

“From juniors it was our dream, growing up watching Vasek (Pospisil), Milos (Raonic), and [Daniel Nestor] taking Canada to new [heights],” Shapovalov said. “We wanted to grow up and help the country win the first title. It’s so surreal right now. After we lost in the final in 2019, we really wanted this bad. It’s such a team effort; everyone was putting in 120 percent every day.”

Canada’s team captain is former player Frank Dancevic who has held the role since 2017. 

 “This is a historic moment,” Dancevic commented on the achievement. “We’ve never won this title in the past. It’s the first time for us. It’s an incredible feeling.”

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