Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic - UBITENNIS
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Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic



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Great Britain has won the last spot in the Davis Cup finals by prevailing in a highly dramatic clash against France in front of a record crowd in Manchester.


With the must-win showdown level at 1-1, the tie was decided by a rollercoaster doubles match with Dan Evans and Neil Skupski battling their way past Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). In what was one of the most tense matches ever involving the British team, four match points were saved by the hosts. Evans fended off three whilst serving 4-5 down in the decider before Skupski saved one when he was serving two games later. To add to the drama, in the decisive tiebreaker Britain lost a mini-break advantage twice before prevailing on their second match point. 

“I don’t know how we’ve won that fight, sheer fight. Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me,” said Skupski.
“The first set wasn’t too good. We regrouped, took a toilet [break] and fought as hard as we could. Dan saving three points in the third set. The rest is history and we’re off to Malaga.” 

The triumph caps off what has been a marathon day at The AO Arena with all three matches going the full distance. A total of more than 13,000 seats was sold for the tie which is a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK. 

Earlier in the day, Evans got Britain off to a perfect start by fighting back from a set and a break down to beat Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in what was a close fight. At the end of the encounter, there was a tense exchange between the two which continued during the doubles match with Evans seen making gestures towards the Frenchman who was watching from the stands. 

France’s sole victor was Ugo Humbert who beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie 7-6(5),3-6, 7-5. A new confidence blow to the British No.1 who has only won back-to-back matches in one out of his past five tournaments. 

“The team is amazing. We get on very well. Everyone’s played a part. It’s all those guys and girls standing there (in the stands) who are amazing.” Captain Leon Smith commented. 

Britain joins Australia in qualifying from Group B to November’s finals which will be held in Malaga. The team has won all three of their ties played in Manchester with their previous wins being over Australia and Switzerland earlier in the week. 

In total, eight teams have secured their place in the finals. Group stages have also been held in Spain, Croatia and Italy with the top two nations from each of those events progressing. 

Britain is seeking to win the Davis Cup title for only the second time in the Open Era after 2015. 

List of teams through to the knockout stages in Malaga

  • Great Britain
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

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‘The Full Package’ – Maria Sharapova Hails The Rise Of Coco Gauff



Cori Gauff - Australian Open 2023 (Twitter @AustralianOpen)

Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova believes US Open champion Coco Gauff can transcend the world of tennis and beyond. 


Earlier this month, the 19-year-old American claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows by beating world No.1 Aryna Sabalenka in the final. In doing so, she has become the youngest player from her country to win a major title since Serena Williams in 1999. Gauff has also enjoyed success elsewhere over the summer by winning titles in Washington and Cincinnati. 

The breakthrough has been hailed by Sharapova who was 17 when she won the 2004 Wimbledon Championships. Speaking to Andrea Petkovic on The Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast, she predicts a big future for the rising star of women’s tennis. 

“I have been saying for years that I think she has the ability to transcend the sport into so many [areas], bridging entertainment, sport and culture, and fashion,” said Sharapova.
“She has such a great voice and is an amazing competitor, which is just like the full package. And it came together for her in New York City.”

Despite her young age, Gauff has already been on the Tour for a few years. At the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, she produced a stunning run to the fourth round after coming through the qualifying tournament at the age of 15. Soon after that, many were tipping her to become a formidable force in the sport with there being a lot of expectations placed on her.

Whilst it has been four years between Gauff’s Wimbledon breakthrough and her winning the US Open, Sharapova believes that there are plenty of positives that can be drawn from her experience.

“I think her journey has been interesting. From the age of 16 she has been the prospect and the target and everyone believed that she would get there,” she commented. 
“It’s perhaps taken a little bit longer but I think for her that may be helpful because it took a few years to figure it out, as opposed to coming out on top at the very beginning and then being so surprised by everything that comes her way.”

Gauff is coached by Pere Riba and also has Brad Gilbert as a consultant. Gilbert has previously worked with the likes of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray. Both men have been credited for aiding her recent success on the Tour. 

“She has a great team and the genuine support from her parents is very evident,” Sharapova commented. 
“It’s a beautiful story. Does that mean she is going to go out and win every Grand Slam? This is sport, that never happens, you end up losing a few more than you win. But those wins are very special and I am sure she will handle the ups and downs brilliantly.”

Gauff is set to return to competitive tennis next week at the China Open. 

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Novak Djokovic Upbeat About The Future Of Men’s Tennis As He Praises Alcaraz



Novak Djokovic believes the future of tennis is ‘looking good’ with the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz leading the way. 


The 24-time Grand Slam champion has hailed his Spanish opponent who he has played three times this season, winning two of those meetings at the French Open and in Cincinnati. Alcaraz’s only victory was in the Wimbledon final where the 20-year-old claimed his second Grand Slam title. Alcaraz also won their first meeting in Madrid last year. 

It isn’t just on the court where the two are battling. They are currently in a race to end 2023 as the year-end No.1 player. Djokovic reclaimed the top spot following his run at the US Open earlier this month but his rival could close the gap on him at the China Open. An ATP 500 event that the Serbian is not playing at after deciding to take a short break.

“I think tennis, definitely the future is looking good with Carlos leading that field,” Reuters quoted Djokovic as telling Sky Sport.
“We’ve had some thrilling encounters… This year with the final at Wimbledon and also Roland Garros and Cincinnati – that was one of the best three-set matches I’ve ever played.
“It’s great for our sport there are more rivalries happening but rivalries with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal particularly and also with Andy Murray are right up there for me.”

This week Djokovic has swapped the tennis racket for a golf club to take part in a celebraity all-star Ryder Cup match in Rome. He paired up with golfer Kirk Popert to beat F1 driver Carlos Sainz and his partner Tommaso Perrino 3-1. Both Popert and Perrino play on the golf for disabled Tour (G4D). Djokovic was part of Team Monty who won the tie 7-4 over Team Pavin. 

The 36-year-old is set to return to the tennis court next week at the Shanghai Masters which is taking place for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has won the tournament a record four times and could once again resume his rivalry with Alcaraz. 

“Hopefully I’ll play him as many times as I played the other guys and that will mean I’ll be playing for years to come. But I doubt that, let’s see how it goes,” he commented.
“I’ve had a fantastic year. Grand Slams are the ones that count the most for me at this point of my career, they’re the ones where I want to play my best tennis.
“This year, (winning) three out of four Slams and another final, I couldn’t ask for more.”

Djokovic, who has already qualified for the ATP Finals in Turin, has won five Tour titles and earned more than $10.5M in prize money so far this year.

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Fit-Again Holger Rune Targets ATP Finals Qualification



Holger Rune says he is raring to go after taking a short break from the sport to address an injury issue that has been hampering him. 


The world No.4 said he didn’t want to play any more tournaments until he found a solution to a back issue that has been troubling him. Rune previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem. 

“I was struggling with a back injury for a while. I got it fixed. I played a lot of tournaments with a lot of pain in my back,” Rune told reporters on Wednesday.
“I got to stop and fix it, not come back to playing tournaments until I’m one hundred percent. I’m ready to go and get excited for what’s to come.”

After a disappointing North American hard court swing, Rune is seeking to claim his first Tour win since Wimbledon. The lack of success is a stark contrast to the first half of this season where he reached two Masters 1000 finals and won his fourth ATP title at the Bavarian Open in Germany. 

Rune’s focus is now on this week’s China Open in Beijing where he is the third seed behind Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev. It is a crucial time of the year for the Dane who is hoping to claim one of the eight qualifying spots for the Tour Finals in November. Currently, he is sitting in the eighth and final position in the Live Race.

“Definitely one of the goals is to be able to get into Turin, the Finals, at the end of the year,” said Rune.
“There are still many tournaments with a lot of points included to end the season.”
“There are 500 points here (Beijing), 1,000 points next week……there are plenty of points, so I’m going to try to focus on what I do instead of what everybody else is doing.”

Eager to make up for his recent lull in results, Rune faces a tough draw in Beijing where he will open up against Felix Auger-Aliassime. A former top 10 player who has struggled with injury and hasn’t won back-to-back matches since Indian Wells in March. Later in the tournament, he could play Grigor Dimitrov and Jannik Sinner. Then he is projected to face Alcaraz in the semi-finals. 

“It’s going to be a great match, I think. He is a tough player. He’s been doing really well,” Rune previewed of his clash with Auger-Aliassime.  
“I’m going to have to put him under a lot of pressure because when he gets the time to play, he’s very dangerous.”

Rune’s win-loss record for 2023 so far currently stands at 37-16. 

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