Canada knocks out Italy at Billie Jean King Cup - UBITENNIS
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Canada knocks out Italy at Billie Jean King Cup

The Canadians got off to a perfect start in their first tie after shutting out Italy.

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Image via https://twitter.com/TennisCanada

Team Canada won their first tie against Italy at the Billie Jean King shutting out Italy 3-0 on Thursday.

Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Fernandez led the way for Canada who are playing with their strongest team (in terms of ranking) since 2019 when Andreescu last played against the Netherlands.

Former Grand Slam winner Andreescu got things rolling in the first match against 21-year-old Elisabetta Cocciareto who she defeated in straight sets – 7-6, 6-3 – in one hour and 44 minutes. The Canadian served one ace and won 69% of her first serve points which turned into quite the tussle on the smaller court one.

It was actually Cocciareto who had the better start as she was able to hold serve in her opening game and jumped out to a 3-0 lead. After winning her first game of the set, Andresscu fought back to go back on serve.

The Italian managed to break the world number 45 serve again but at 5-3, the Toronto native broke back again using her backhand to great effect with some spectacular shot-making.

The first set needed to be decided by a tiebreaker and it was back and forth once again before eventually the Canadian was able to get a crucial point to lead 5-3 and that was enough to take the first set.

Once again in the second set, the world number 65 managed to get the early break to take a 2-0 lead but Andreescu responded by breaking right back and at 4-3 broke serve again and served out the match.

“I think I played great tennis, especially coming back from being 5-2 down. The support from everyone that are in the stands, my cheerleaders from Canada, I’m glad that they came down. Without their support, I don’t know if I could have pulled the win today. So I’m very grateful.” She said afterwards.

Holding a 1-0 lead in the tie, Canada sent out Leylah Fernandez to face Martina Trevisan in the second rubber. They had faced each other this year at the French Open. That was the match where Fernandez suffered her injury which took her out of action for a long period.

Their latest clash wasn’t even close as the Montreal native was able to pull off the infamous double bagel 6-0, 6-0 in a mere 45 minutes. Fernadez finished with two aces and won 83% of her first serve points.

That win sealed the tie for Canada and the doubles duo of Gabriella Dabrowski, who are currently ranked number six in the world in doubles, came out with Fernandez to face Jasmine Paolini and Lucia Bronzetti.

That match also was a blowout as the Canadians were able to win comfortably 6-1, 6-1 in 46 minutes and make it a perfect 3-0 score on aggregate.

“I think today was just a great day overall for everyone. Bianca played a great match. I think I was just so happy that I was able to follow it up with a great performance.” said Fernandez.
“The support I was receiving in the crowd, the support I was receiving by the bench behind me was incredible. It definitely helped me to keep focus and keep improving every game.”

Canada will now face Switzerland on Friday.

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Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Masters 1000 Event In Madrid

Novak Djokovic will miss the Masters 1000 event in Madrid and will look to build up his Roland Garros preparations in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Masters 1000 event in Madrid as he aims for quality over quantity in his bid for Roland Garros glory.

The world number one has had a rough start to the season by his standards as he is yet to win a title this season after a semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was hoping a change of surface would bring a change of fortunes but the Serb was defeated in three sets in the semi-finals of Monte-Carlo.

Now it seems that result has made Djokovic rethink his schedule as the current Roland Garros champion has withdrawn from Madrid.

No official reason has been given although the news seems to be not that surprising given Djokovic’s history in the Spanish capital.

The Serb hasn’t played since 2022, where he was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals, and has now won the title there for five years.

It looks like Djokovic will be putting his faith into more favourable conditions in Rome, which is the most similar to Roland Garros in terms of conditions.

Djokovic is a six-time champion in the Italian capital and will aim for a seventh title when he plays there on the 8th of May.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis Questions ‘Insane’ Drug Testing

Thanasi Kokkinakis has been tested three times within the last six days.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis has questioned persistent drug testing after he revealed he was tested three times in six days.

The Australian is in good form at the moment having won the Sarasota Challenger in Florida.

Kokkinakis claimed glory with a three set win over Zizou Bergs in the final as he continues to climb the rankings.

However that glory has been overshadowed by the fact that Kokkinakis has revealed he was drug tested three times within a six day period.

The world number 94 described it as ‘insane’ and it comes after Alexandre Muller complained of persistent drug testing after his recent defeats.

Doping has been a huge topic of conversations with Simona Halep losing two years of her career after testing positive after the US Open before the Court Of Arbitration For Sport shortened her case.

Kokkinakis will be hoping that this is the last time he has to deal with persistent drug testing as he continues his clay court season.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Saves Two Match Points To Extend Winning Streak In Barcelona

Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a scare to reach the Barcelona semi-finals.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points to defeat Facundo Diaz Acosta 4-6 6-3 7-6(8) in Barcelona.

The former finalist saved two match points against the inspired Argentinian as Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals.

It means Tsitsipas is 9-0 in the clay court season and has the chance to set up a potential rematch with Casper Ruud in the final.

The duo met in last week’s Monte-Carlo final where Tsitsipas claimed his third title in Monaco.

Speaking after the match Tsitsipas admitted it was difficult to sustain his level, “I was coming close [to losing] at certain moments in the match. It seemed like a mountain,” Tsitsipas stated to the ATP website.

“I reminded myself that I have a headband that I wear here that has a mountain and that I need to climb it, so it kept me going. It was difficult. It was extremely difficult to sustain the same level throughout the entire match and I think he played incredible.

“I think he left everything out there. He is a good clay-court player. He has a title on the ATP Tour for a reason and today it was a level he was able to bring out on the court that made it quite obvious.

“I got a little bit tense on my serve, I won’t lie. I think I started decelerating a lot, but once I got a hold of that I was conscious of that, it went back to where it belonged and helped me a lot in the tie-breaker because if I didn’t figure it out, I don’t know. It was very mental in general. I really had to go to uncomfortable places mentally and go over the limit at some point.”

Tsitsipas is currently seven in the world in the live rankings as the Greek is looking to claim his first title in Barcelona.

Next up for the Greek will be either Dusan Lajovic or Arthur Fils while Tomas Martin Etcheverry takes on Casper Ruud in the other semi-final.

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