Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev Sign Up To Play $3M Saudi Exhibition - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev Sign Up To Play $3M Saudi Exhibition

It will be the first time a tennis event featuring top players will be held in the country since 2019.

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Alexander Zverev - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Alexander Zverev is set to start his return to competitive tennis next month by playing at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia. 

 

The German is one of the first players confirmed to play in the three-day event which will take place between December 8-10. It will be the second edition of the tournament which was first held in 2019. It didn’t take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers have said 12 ‘world class’ players have already signed up to play but the full list of entrants is yet to be published. 

“I’m happy that I’ll finally be back on the court after my injury. It’s even nicer that I can make my comeback before the official start of the 2023 season,” Zverev said in a press release. “I think the Diriyah Tennis Cup offers a very good opportunity for it and I’m looking forward to being in Saudi Arabia for the first time.“

Zverev hasn’t played a match since suffering a horrific ankle injury during his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal at the French Open in June. He subsequently had to undergo surgery to repair damage to his ligaments and is continuing his rehab process. There was speculation that he could play in the Davis Cup finals but the German Tennis Federation has since said in a statement that he is not ready to play. 

Another player travelling to Saudi Arabia will be world No.4 Daniil Medvedev who won the inaugural tournament three years ago after defeating Italy’s Fabio Fognini in straight sets. 

When I have been in Diriyah in 2019, I loved everything there,” he said. “The organization, the court, the fans, the people. Everything was super comfortable, so I’m really happy to have the opportunity to come back to Saudi Arabia in December. It would be awesome, if I defend my title. As the tournament offers great conditions for my next season preparation

Medvedev, who won his first Grand Slam title at the 2021 US Open, has previously spoken in favour of Saudi Arabia hosting a Tour event in the future. Something which has been opposed by others who have raised concerns over the country’s human rights record and their use of sportswashing. A process where a government uses the staging of sports events to improve its reputation and distract from their human rights abuses.

Andy Murray has previously said he turned down an offer to play an exhibition event in the country a few years ago due to these concerns, along with other top players. The comment followed a report earlier this year that Saudi Arabia has expressed an interest in hosting a WTA event but no further information has been brought to the limelight since then.

A total of $3M in prize money will be available at the event which will also include a doubles draw for the first time. The first day will feature both first round and quarter-final matches. Whoever loses those matches will then take part in a doubles event on the second day along with the singles semi-finals. Then on the final day, both singles and doubles finals will take place.

It is not known when the full field for the Diriyah Tennis Cup will be published. 

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Novak Djokovic starts the 2023 season in Adelaide

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Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 season in Adelaide. Djokovic ended the 2022 season with five titles at Rome Masters 1000, Wimbedon, Astana, Tel Aviv and at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. 

 

Djokovic will also play in the exhibition tournament “World Tennis League) in Dubai from 19 to 24 December, where the Serbian player will team up with Grigor Dimitrov, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa for the Falcons team. 

In the first week of January Djokovic will warm up for the Australian Open at the ATP 250 tournament in Adelaide from 2 to 8 January. The 21-time Grand Slam champion won nine Australian Open titles in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021 but he was not able to play in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season last January due to his Covid vaccination status. 

Djokovic joins a star-studded field that already features 2021 US Open champion Danil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner and two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray.

Murray will play for the first time in his career in Adelaide. 

“I will be starting the year in Australia, which I always really enjoy. Playing at the Adelaide International for the first time is something I am looking forward to”, said Murray. 

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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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