World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray carried their countries to Davis Cup wins this weekend while on the women’s side, Caroline Wozniacki and Timea Bacsinszky walked away with WTA titles. Here’s our recap of the week in international tennis.
Swiss Fall Without Fedrinka But Djokovic, Murray Star in Davis Cup
The ATP Tour took a break last week as the focus shifted to the Davis Cup and the big news early on focused on the absence of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka from the Swiss team that took on Belgium. With the top players from the defending champions deciding to give the first-round tie a skip, the format and relevance of the tournament has once again come into question. Not surprisingly, the Swiss went down to Belgium 2-3.
In one of the more intriguing ties of the weekend, Argentina scored a thrilling 3-2 win over Brazil 3-2, highlighted by Leonardo Mayer’s 7-6(4) 7-6(5) 5-7 5-7 15-13 win over Joao Souza in 6 hours 42 minutes – the longest match in Davis Cup history.
Elsewhere, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic led the Serbs to a 5-0 win over Croatia; Andy Murray helped the Brits to a 3-2 win over the Americans but the key win came from James Ward who stole the show with a fifth set 15-13 win over the big-serving John Isner on Day 1.
In other matches, France coasted to a comfortable win over Germany by the end of Day 2 on Saturday; Australia scored a 3-2 win over the Czechs; Kazakhstan defeated Italy 3-2 and Canada defeated Japan 3-2 inspite of the heroics of Kei Nishikori, who won both his singles rubbers.
Caroline Wozniacki and Timea Bacsinszky win WTA titles
On the WTA Tour, former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki won her first title of the season and the 23rd of her career at the BMW Malaysian Open with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru. This is the eighth year in a row that the Dane has won atleast one singles title on the tour and she heads to the Indian Wells Mandatory event brimming with confidence.
Meanwhile, at the WTA Abierto Monterrey Afirme event, Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky won her second title in as many weeks with a win over Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Bacsinszky also beat Garcia in the Acapulco final last weekend – making it the first time in six years on the WTA Tour that two players competed in back-to-back finals. The duo accounted for the top two seeds in the semi-finals with Bacsinszky taking out top seed Ana Ivanovic while Garcia defeated second seed Sara Errani. The win continues a remarkable renaissance for the Swiss, who nearly quit the sport in 2013 due to injuries.
The Chinese pair of Liang Chen and Wang Yafan beat third seeds Yuliya Beygelzimer and Olga Savchuk to win the doubles title in Kuala Lampur while Gabriela Dabrowski and Alicja Rosolska beat the Australian Rodionova sisters to win the doubles title in Monterrey.
With no ATP events, the only changes coming in this week on the men’s rankings reflect the points from the Davis Cup weekend. Andy Murray climbs one spot to move back to No. 4 which means the Big Four (Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Murray) in the men’s game are back again. Lower down, Leonardo Mayer climbs 2 spots to No. 27 and Bernard Tomic climbs 3 spots to No. 35.
With most of the top players taking a break before the Indian Wells-Miami March Madness, there is no change in the Top 25 of this week’s WTA rankings where Serena Williams continues to hold a comfortable lead over Russian rival Maria Sharapova. Bacsinszky climbs five spots to a new career-best No. 26 while Dulgheru climbs 22 spots to No. 72.