The expected highlights of the Davis Cup Qualifiers - UBITENNIS
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The expected highlights of the Davis Cup Qualifiers



We take a look at the most important highlights of this weekend’s Davis Cup qualifiers. The winners of each tie qualify for the Davis Cup Finals next November, while the losers will play in the World Group Play-offs. 


Germany vs Switzerland

Germany will take on 2014 Davis Cup champions Switzerland in Trier in South West Germany in one of the most interesting Davis Cup Qualifying ties. 

World number 80 Oscar Otte will face world number 53 Marc-Andrea Huesler in the first match on Friday. One of the highlights of this year’s Davis Cup Qualifiers will be the blockbusters clashes between three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka and reigning Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev in the tie’s second match on Friday. 

Zverev leads 4-0 in his head-to-head matches against Wawrinka. The German player is on come-back trail after his serious injury at the French Open last year. The two-time ATP Finals champion has lost three of his four matches since the injury, but he is confident that his condition is now improving. 

“I am doing wonderfully. That was also the case in Australia. I have spent the last few weeks training hard. Now it’s time to transport that to the match. I hope I will get that better implemented here than in Australia”, said Zverev. 

Wawrinka and Roger Federer were part of a Swiss team, that clinched the Davis Cup title against France in 2014. The Swiss team is aiming to reach the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage for the first time. 

“I always said that I would like to play once again for my country in Davis Cup and that I am available to play if I can bring support to the team. I love playing for Switzerland and we have a great team. We know each other quite well, even though I am the oldest”, said Wawrinka.  

The Swiss hopes are also carried by Marc Andrea Huesler, who won his first ATP Tour title at the Sofia Open, and Dominic Stricker, who reached the semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last November. 

Tim Puetz and Andreas Mies are the favourites in Saturday’s doubles match against Swiss rising stars Dominic Stricker and Leandro Riedi. 

“We are incredibly happy to have Wawrinka back in the team. The young players can profit immensely from Stan and it’s a huge motivation and inspiration for everyone to have hime back”, said Swiss captain Severin Luthi. 

Hungary vs France 

Third seeds France will start as the favourite team on paper against 24th ranked Hungary. The French team features Davis Cup rookie Ugo Humbert, Arthur Rinderknech, Benjamin Bonzi and doubles specialist Nicholas Mahut. Three French players are ranked higher than Hungarian number 1 player Marton Fucsovics. 

World number 78 player Fucsovics will team up with Fabian Marozsan and Zsombor Piros, who are both ranked outside the top 200. However, French captain Sebastian Grosjean does not take anything for granted against Hungary, who lost against Australia in the fifth match in a very tough Davis Cup qualifier last year. 

“We are ready to compete, but we go step by step. We are going to play focused on this tie and then we will see”, said Grosjean. 

Bonzi will play the first match against Piros on Friday. The French player made his Davis Cup debut one year ago and played in the Davis Cup Group Stage, but he lost three matches, when he played for the French team. Piros upset Marin Cilic in the 2021 Davis Cup Finals. 

“It’s an honour to play number one, but it’s going to be a tough match. Piros is playing very good in Davis Cup. It’s going to be tough to finish the points and it’s in Hungary, so all the crowd will be for him, but it’s going to be a good match”, said Bonzi. 

Fucsovics will take on three-time ATP Tour titlist Ugo Humbert in the second singles match. Both players reached the third round at the Australian Open this season. Humbert won their only previous head-to-head match in Stuttgart in 2021. 

Nicholas Mahut and Arhur Rinderknech will face Fabian Marozsan and Mate Valkusz in Saturday’s doubles match. 

Croatia vs Austria

Croatia is the favourite team against Austria in Rijeka. Last year’s Cincinnati Open champion Borna Coric is Croatia’s number 1 in the absence of injured Marin Cilic. 

Coric will play against Austria’s Dennis Novak in the opening singles match on Friday. 

“I have never played against Novak, but I am looking forward to the match. It’s going to be great. I need to look at some of the videos from him because we have practiced together, but it was a very long time ago, so I need to do my homework and hope for the best tomorrow”, said Coric. 

Austrian number 1 player Dominic Thiem will play against Borna Gojo in the second singles match on the opening day. Thiem, who underwent wrist surgery in 2021, is looking to return to his best form that helped him reach the top 5 and win the US Open 

“I know him from TV. He always seems to play better in team competitions than when playing for himself. It’s the same before every Davis Cup, the player playing the second match is hoping he can go on court with a 1-0 lead, so we will do everything  we can to support Dennis so that I can go in with that lead in the bank”, said Thiem

Croatia will draw on an experienced doubles team formed by Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic, who are scheduled to play against Lukas Miedler and Alexander Edler in the doubles match on Saturday. 

The doubles match will be followed by the reverse singles match. Coric could face Thiem in the number 1 clash in one of the possible highlights of the Davis Cup weekend. 

Great Britain vs Colombia

Ten-time Davis Cup winners Great Britain will face a tough match against Colombia at altitude in Cota. The strong British team formed by Cameron Norrie, Dan Eveans, Jack Draper and the doubles that includes Daniel Evans and Neil Skupski is favourite, but they will have to cope with high altitude.  Colombia will draw on a very competitive doubles team formed by Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. 

Cameron Norrie has started the 2023 season with three wins against Alex De Minaur, Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz in the United Cup before finishing runner-up to Richard Gasquet in the final of the Auckland tournament. At the Australian Open he lost to Jiri Lehecka in the third round. 

Dan Evans will start the tie against Nicolas Mejia in the opening singles match on Friday. 

Norrie will play against world number 510 Nicolas Barrientos in the second singles match on Friday. 

“We have to realise that we are playing in difficult conditions. It’s not going to be perfect, but I am going to give it my best shot and keep patient with myself. I have had a really good start to this year, so I can take a lot of confidence from that. I am playing really well at the moment, so I am looking forward forward to getting going tomorrow and I am ready to take it to Barrientos”, said Norrie. 

One of the expected highlights is the doubles match between Colombian team formed bu Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah against Neil Skupski and Dan Evans. 

“The pressure is on their side. They are the favourites. With a top 11 singles player, the 1 and 2 ranked in doubles. The pressure is on them, but we are playing home and we have the experience of the altitude, and we have to hold on that. Anything can happen here. This is Davis Cup and nothing is written in stone”.

British captain Leon Smith has opted to partner Skupski with Evans instead of experienced doubles specialist Joe Salisbury. 

“Our team has become stronger and stronger over the last few years. With more players at the top of the game, it makes selection more difficult, but it’s a good situation to be in. It’s really positive that our players have taken the time to commit to the tie”, said Leon Smith. 

Norway vs Serbia

The Serbian team led by Viktor Troicki is seeking to book a spot in the knock-out stages of the Davis Cup for the fourth time, when they face Norway in Oslo. Casper Ruud, who helped Norway win six of their last seven Davis Cup and reach the Qualifiers for the second time, will not play this weekend. 

Miomir Kecmanovic will take on world number 1265 Andrea Petrovic in the opening match on Friday, before world number 65 Laslo Djere clashes against world number 362 Viktor Durasovic. 

Durasovic will team up with Herman Hoeyeraal on court for the crucial doubles match against Nikola Cacic and Filip Krajinovic. 

Serbia is the strong favourite to qualify for the Group Stage despite the absence of this year’s Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic. 

“We are playing pretty well. We get on, so it’s a very special group of guys and I feel lucky to be a part of this team. We are motivated to go through, to get the win for Serbia, and to play at the Finals again. We are going to give everything we have. I am excited to start tomorrow”, said Miomir Kecmanovic. 

The other expected higlights

Tommy Paul is looking to continue his dream season one week after reaching the semifinal at the Australian Open, as the US team takes on Uzbekhstan in Tashkent. 

Brothers Mikael and Elias Ymer will lead seven-time champions Sweden against Bosnia Herzegovina. Sweden is bidding to extend its winning streak in home ties to six. World number Mikael Ymer will face Mirza Babic, while his elder brother Elias takes on Damir Dzumhur.

David Goffin will face Soonwoo Kwon in Seoul. Goffin returned to Davis Cup duty in 2022, winning four of the five singles matches he played in 2022 after struggling with injury problems for most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The Belgian player led Belgium to the Davis Cup final in 2015 and 2017. Kwon won his second ATP title in Adelaide three weeks ago. 

Former world number 17 Cristian Garin could face Alexander Bublik, as Chile hosts Kazakhstan in La Serena in Chile. 

Botic Van de Zandschulp, Tallon Griekspoor, Tim Van Rijthoven, world number 1 doubles star Wesley Koolhof and top 20 doubles specialist Matwe Middelkoop lead the Netherlands against Slovakia in Groningen. The Dutch team topped Group D of the Group D Finals after beating the USA, Great Britain and Kazakhstan last year to reach the top 8 for the second consecutive year. Alex Molcan leads a Slovakian team which also features Norbert Gombos, Lukas Klein, Jozef Kovalik and doubles specialist Igor Zelenay. Slovakia finished runner-up in the 2005 Davis Cup final and came close to causing an upset against Italy in the Qualifiers last year.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune will compete for Greece and Denmark respectively at the World Group I and II Play-Offs. 

Tsitsipas, who finished runner-up to Djokovic in last week’s Australian Open final, will lead Greece against Ecuador in Athens. 

Rune, who came close to beating Andrey Rublev at the Australian Open, will be looking to bounce back from this disappointment as he leads Denmark against India in Hillerod. 

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Grand Slam Glory Is The Main Goal For America’s Coco Gauff



Cori Gauff - Australian Open 2023 (Twitter @AustralianOpen)

 Coco Gauff has big aspirations and she isn’t afraid to speak openly about them. 


Following her second round win over Julia Grabher at the French Open on Thursday, the 19-year-old played down the fixation on her current ranking which is No.6 in the world. Gauff admits that her position is something that doesn’t concern her in the sport unless she is sitting at the top of the world rankings. 

“I’m not a ranking person at all. The goal is No.1, and I think that’s when I would care about the ranking,” she stated in her press conference. 
“Anything in between two and 10, I mean, I’m going to be honest, it’s not that important to me.”

Gauff first broke into the world’s top 10 in September 2022 and has remained there ever since. At the time she was the youngest top 10 debutant on the WTA Tour since Nicole Vaidisova in 2006. She has been ranked as high as No.4 in the world.

“When I made the top 10, it was a cool accomplishment, but for me it was never about staying there. I only want to go upwards,” she said. “The biggest goal is to win Grand Slams, and I think the ranking will come with Grand Slams.”

It was 12 months ago at Roland Garros where Gauff achieved her best performance at a major by reaching the final before losing in straight sets to Iga Swiatek. The tournament is her best Grand Slam in terms of match wins (13) and is the only one where she has reached the quarter-finals or better on multiple occasions. Gauff also won the French Open girls’ title back in 2018 at the age of just 14. 

Five years on from the junior triumph, she has become a regular fixture on the Tour. So much so, that there is already another generation of players on the rise. One of those includes Russia’s Mirra Andreeva who says her ultimate goal in tennis is to break Novak Djokovic’s all-time Grand Slam title record which currently stands at 22. Andreeva, who is only the seventh player under the age of 17 to reach the third round of Roland Garros since 1993, will be Gauff’s next opponent. 

“I think she knows the game well, and she’s proved her position to be here and proved in her results in the past, so I don’t think the age thing matters,” Gauff commented on her next opponent. 
“I’ve never thought about my age, to be honest. This will be my third time playing someone younger than me.
“Honestly, the first two times I didn’t even think about it because when you step on the court, you just see your opponent, and you don’t really think about the personal side of things. You just see forehand, backhand, serve, and all the same.”

Gauff will play Andreeva on Saturday. 

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Gael Monfils Withdraws From French Open Clash With Rune



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After winning a marathon first round clash at the French Open on Tuesday, Gael Monfils has been forced to pull out of the tournament due to a left wrist injury. 


The 36-year-old defeated Sebastian Baez in a five-set thriller in his opening match at his home Grand Slam which took place late at night on the Phillip Chatrier Court. Monfils’ win was the first he has recorded on the Tour since returning to action following a foot problem. He suffered a plantar fascia rupture in his right foot last year which sidelined him from competition for seven months.

Now Monfils’ latest injury setback concerns his wrist which he started to feel pain in whilst playing against Baez. He has subsequently been advised to not continue playing to avoid worsening the issue. 

“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. I was quite happy this morning. I woke up quite good, but I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” Monfils said in a late-night press conference on Wednesday. “Felt it during the match, actually the whole match [yesterday]. And unfortunately even [though] we pushed it ’til tonight, just came back again for another exam, and yes, waited a little bit.
“The doctor said [it] was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely said I should stop.”

Monfils has been diagnosed with a Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) injury. He has undergone an Arthroscan (MRI) which will establish how long he may be sidelined from the sport. The Frenchman is set to find out the results later today. 

“I think had it been totally broken it would have been more serious, but it’s partial,” Monfils said. “So I’ll know more about the length of time when I’m off the courts. But the doctor said he hopes I’ll be able to play on grass.”

Due to his withdrawal, Danish sixth seed Holger Rune will move into the third round where he will play either Genaro Alberto Olivieri or Andrea Vavassori who have both come through the qualifying rounds. 

As for the schedule of play at Roland Garros, Monfils’ match was set to take place in the evening slot. It has been replaced by Alexander Zverev’s clash with Alex Molcan. 

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Dissatisfied Aryna Sabalenka Reaches French Open Third Round



Aryna Sabalenka has sealed her place in the last 32 of the French Open for the fourth consecutive year after overcoming a spirited performance from qualifier Iryna Shymanovich. 


The world No.2 powered her way to a 7-5, 6-2, win over her compatriot in a match where she at times struggled to maintain consistency in her shot-making. Sabalenka’s powerful hitting produced some stunning shots but also resulted in some costly errors which proved pragmatic at times.

“I’m not really happy with my game today,” said Sabalenka, who hit 23 unforced errors compared to 21 winners. “I’m going to work a little bit tomorrow and make sure I’m ready for the next round a little bit better than I was today.” 

The first set was a far-from-perfect performance from the reigning Australian Open champion who produced a total of 17 unforced errors. Sabalenka looked to be on a good footing early after breaking for a 4-2 lead but her inconsistency enabled Shymanovich to claw her way back to level. Nudging ahead to a 6-5 lead, the second seed snatched the opener after prevailing in a marathon seven-deuce service game. Two set points came and went before Sabalenka converted her third with the help of a drop shot from her opponent landing out. 

Sabalenka, who is challenging Iga Swiatek for the No.1 spot in Paris, started the second set emphatically by breaking for a 2-0 lead. However, she failed to capitalize on the opportunity as once again Shymanovich broke back. Prompting her to look towards her entourage in the crowd in frustration.

Despite the blip, the 25-year-old bounced back to crush her opponent’s hope of a shock win. Surging to a 5-2 lead, Sabalenka worked her way to three match points with a powerful forehand strike that forced her rival to return the ball out. She prevailed on her second opportunity after a Shymanovich shot crashed into the net.

“It was a tough match,” Sabalenka reflected. “She played really great tennis and I’m happy that no matter what I was able to fight for every point. I’m happy to get this win.” 

Sabalenka will next take on either Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova or Magdalena Frech. Should she win that match, she will achieve her best-ever run at the French Open. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam where she is yet to reach the semi-final stage.

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