Novak Djokovic Sails Past Ruud To Seal Sixth ATP Finals Crown - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Sails Past Ruud To Seal Sixth ATP Finals Crown

Novak Djokovic claimed the 91st title of his career with a clinical display over Casper Ruud.

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Novak Djokovic (@atptour - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic sailed past Casper Ruud 7-5 6-3 to seal his sixth ATP Finals title.

 

The Serb won his first title for seven years after a clinical display against the Norwegian.

Djokovic will finish the season as world number five while Ruud will remain the world number three.

The victory also means Djokovic is now only just over 2,500 points behind world number one Carlos Alcaraz with no points to defend at the Australian Open.

It was a clinical start from Djokovic who dictated the rallies from the baseline and anticipated Ruud’s serving patterns with authority.

Ruud looked a little nervous and passive at the start of the match but once he successfully saved two break points in the second game, settled into the match well.

The current world number eight had very little answer to the Norwegian’s accurate serving but continued to establish his authority on serve.

Despite Djokovic’s late returning pressure in the opening set, Ruud managed to produce big serves in crucial moments and escape to service holds.

After initially winning the longer rallies, Ruud eventually began to lose momentum and was getting outmuscled by Djokovic in the cross-court backhand battle.

This proved costly as Djokovic carried the momentum into the twelfth game and dominated the tempo of the rallies.

The five-time champion was clinical on return and some impressive angles saw him convert his first set point and seal the opening set in 53 minutes.

Ruud looked visibly frustrated that he couldn’t take advantage of a fatigued Djokovic in the opening set and built some early confidence in the second set.

However in the fourth game that counted for nothing as the Serb continued his impressive consistency on return as he broke with conviction.

The Norwegian wasn’t too dispirited though as he continued to pound away through Djokovic’s wall of defence and created half-opportunities to break.

However Djokovic’s mental toughness and impressive consistency in big moments as an ace down the middle secured his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals.

After the match Djokovic described what the difference was today and thanked his team for the support over the season, “It is finals. Usually these kind of matches are decided by very small margins,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“One break of serve was enough in both sets. I knew Casper was playing really well coming into this match. We both served really well and I think in some decisive moments, like the 12th game of the first set, I managed to put a few returns back in play.

“I made him run, made him play. I was really pleased with the way I played. I was looking to be very aggressive and it worked great. I am really pleased with the performance.

“To my team, another year has passed on the ATP Tour. Thank you to everyone who helps me and pushes me everyday, Without you it would not be possible. It has been a year of many highs, some really big highs. Of course, some lows. I look forward to the next season already.”

The victory seals Djokovic’s fifth title of 2022 and the 91st title of his career which means he will become the new world number five on Monday.

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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. 

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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