ATP

Nadal shines for Spain but Serbia suffer painful Davis Cup exit

By Sports Desk November 22, 2019

Spain will face Great Britain in the Davis Cup semi-finals but Serbia's hopes of glory in the tournament came to a tearful end in Madrid on Friday.

With world number one Rafael Nadal in sparkling form, host nation Spain fought back after losing the opening singles rubber to defeat 2016 champions Argentina in a late finish in the capital.

Their reward is a last-four clash against a Britain squad that progressed past Germany without the need to play doubles, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans recording respective wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Jan-Lennard Struff.

Edmund prevailed in straight sets to reward the decision taken by captain Leon Smith to retain the same line-up that secured qualification for the knockout stage by beating Kazakhstan.

That meant Andy Murray once again sat out proceedings, the Scot instead taking up a supportive role from close to the court as he cheered his team-mates on.

Evans had lost his previous two matches but held his nerve in a deciding tie-break against Struff, with the 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 7-6 (7-2) result securing an unassailable 2-0 advantage.

They will have to find a way to cope with Nadal on Saturday, though, after the Spaniard dazzled on home soil, crushing Diego Schwartzman in just over an hour before combining with Marcel Granollers in the decisive doubles.

Nadal and Granollers got past Maximo Gonzalez and Leonardo Mayer 6-4 4-6 6-3.

In the other half of the draw, Russia came out on top in a tight, tense doubles contest to knock out Serbia.

Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov saved three match points before eventually overcoming Viktor Troicki and Novak Djokovic 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8), sparking wild celebrations.

However, while a jubilant Russia will look forward to facing Canada next, there was nothing but disappointment for a Serbia squad desperate for success to reward the retiring Janko Tipsarevic's service in the competition.

Troicki offered an apology in an emotional news conference, telling the media: "We had chances to finish it. We didn't do it. I messed up in the crucial moments."

Related items

  • Kontaveit and Ferro to battle for Palermo title Kontaveit and Ferro to battle for Palermo title

    Anett Kontaveit will tackle Fiona Ferro in Sunday's final of the Palermo Open, the first WTA tournament since March.

    Kontaveit overcame top seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4, before Ferro sank Italian title hopes in Sicily with a 2-6 6-2 7-5 win over Camila Giorgi.

    Fourth seed Kontaveit is ranked seven places below world number 15 Martic and she won impressively in an hour and 29 minutes.

    The Estonian will be targeting just a second career singles title and a first on clay, having previously won on grass in 2017 at Rosmalen.

    She said: "I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I'm happy to be in the final."

    Martic called the match "a tough one" and spoke of missing chances to make the scoreline tighter than it became.

    Ferro and Giorgi slugged it out for two hours and six minutes before their clash produced a finalist, with the home player falling agonisingly short.

    World number 53 Ferro go after her second WTA title. Her first also came on clay at Lausanne in July last year.

    The 2020 tennis season was suspended for almost five months amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the women's tour has returned with fans in Italy, socially-distanced crowds having been in attendance all week in Palermo

  • Martic, Kontaveit to meet in Palermo semi Martic, Kontaveit to meet in Palermo semi

    Petra Martic and Anett Kontaveit set up a Palermo Ladies Open semi-final clash with hard-fought wins on Friday.

    Top seed Martic battled past qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) in their quarter-final.

    The Croatian converted four of seven break points and saved seven of 11 to advance at the WTA International event, which marks the first tournament back after the coronavirus-enforced break.

    Martic will meet Kontaveit, who beat teenage wildcard Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 4-6 6-1.

    Unseeded pair Camila Giorgi and Fiona Ferro will meet in the other semi-final.

    Giorgi got past seventh seed Dayana Yastremska 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 after saving two match points, while Ferro brushed past Italian veteran Sara Errani 6-4 6-1.

  • Svitolina and Bertens opt out of US Open over COVID-19 worries Svitolina and Bertens opt out of US Open over COVID-19 worries

    Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens will not take part in this year's US Open due to concerns about coronavirus.

    Svitolina and Bertens on Friday became the latest high-profile players to opt out of the tournament that is due to be played behind closed doors in New York from August 31.

    With women's world number one Ash Barty having already decided against competing, three of the WTA Tour's top 10 players have now pulled out.

    Svitolina, ranked fifth in the world, posted on Twitter: "Considering all the aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open 2020.

    "I want to thank the USTA [United States Tennis Association], organisers and WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans a chance to watch this great event.

    "I understand and respect all the efforts they are putting in to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don't feel comfortable to travel to the US without putting my team and myself at high risk."

    World number seven Bertens said the 14-day quarantine upon returning to the Netherlands from the USA would prove too much of hindrance to her preparation for the French Open, which will take place from September 27.

    "After long consideration I have decided not to go to the States for Cincinnati [the Western and Southern Open, which has been moved to New York] and the US Open," Bertens posted on Instagram.

    "The situation around COVID-19 is still that worrying and the health of everyone and the control over this virus is priority.

    "[The Dutch] prime minister indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for 14 days after coming back from the States. Of course, we respect this as a team and this would disturb our preparation for my beloved clay court tournaments in Rome and Paris.

    "I hope the situation will soon take a positive turn and wish everyone good health."

    The WTA Tour returned this week with the Palermo Open and, after skipping that event, world number two Simona Halep has arrived in the Czech Republic to play in the Prague Open next week.

    Halep previously admitted to having concerns about participating in the US Open.

    Reigning men's singles champion Rafael Nadal will not take part due to worries about COVID-19, while Roger Federer will miss out after undergoing knee surgery.

    Novak Djokovic is expected to make a definitive announcement on his participation this week.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.