Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt scored incredible wins in the Davis Cup to help their countries reach the semi-finals. Meanwhile, as other top players were absent from the regular tour circuit, Rajeev Ram, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Johanna Larsson won titles as we recap the week in international tennis.
Great Britain and Australia Reach Davis Cup Semi-Finals
In the Davis Cup, Great Britain and Australia scored wins to set up an intriguing semi-final clash. After losing the opening rubber of the tie on Friday, Great Britain bounced back to win three rubbers in a row – with Andy Murray scoring the winning point with a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 victory over Simon.
Australia scored remarkable win, coming from 0-2 down to beat Kazakhstan 3-2 in a thrilling encounter on Sunday. It was upto former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to score the deciding win as he defeated Aleksander Nedovyesov 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-3. It was the first time that Hewitt, who will retire at the end of next year’s Australian Open, had won the deciding fifth rubber in his career. Sam Groth also played a crucial role, defeating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(6) in the first reverse rubber of the day.
Belgium and Argentina won their quarter-final ties on the weekend to set up the other semi-final clash in September. Belgium reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup for the first time in 16 years beating Canada as David Goffin and Steve Darcis won both the singles rubbers on the opening day and Ruben Bemelmans and Kimmer Coppejans won the doubles rubber to complete a 3-0 win.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina swept to a 3-0 lead over Serbia with Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer winning the doubles rubber on Saturday. Serbia was without World No. 1 Novak Djokovic while Argentina were missing former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. This is the tenth time in the last 13 years that Argentina has reached the semi-finals.
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Johanna Larsson win WTA Titles
With the top players taking the week after Wimbledon off (Serena Williams withdrew from Bastad after winning her first round match due to an elbow injury), last week provided an opportunity to some of the lesser known names to collect WTA Tour titles. In Bucharest, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova upset Italy’s Sara Errani 7-6, 6-3 to win the BRD Bucharest Open to win her second career singles title. The win was her first top 20 win of her career.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Johanna Larsson won her first WTA title to triumph at the Swedish Open in Bastad, her home town tournament. Larsson defeated Mona Barthel 6-3 7-6 for her first win over the German in four career meetings. Larsson had lost her three previous finals on the WTA Tour. Larsson also won the doubles title along with Kiki Bertens, beating Tatjana Maria and Olga Savchuk. In Bastad, Oksana Kalashnikova and Demi Schuurs beat Andrea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig, 6-2, 6-2 to win the title.
Rajeev Ram Wins Title in Newport
At the Newport International Tennis Hall of Fame Championships, American Rajeev Ram defeated second seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(2) to win the title. Ram saved matchpoints during his wins over John Isner and Adrian Mannarino en route to the title. The win sends Ram back into the Top 100 of the world rankings.
The doubles title was captured by Brit Jonathan Marray and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, who defeated American Nicholas Monroe and Croatian Mate Pavic 4-6,6 -3, 10-8 in the final. This was their first tournament as a team.
Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Retain No. 1 Rankings
Serena Williams retains the World No. 1 ranking for the 250th week – making hers the longest fourth stint at the top of the world rankings – behind Chris Evert (260 weeks), Martina Navratilova (332 weeks) and Steffi Graf (377 weeks). Petra Kvitova climbs one spot to No. 4, swapping places with Caroline Wozniacki. The rest of the Top 10 remains the same while Sara Errani climbs one spot to No. 19, swapping places with Belarusian Victoria Azarenka. Sania Mirza remains at No. 1 in the doubles rankings, followed by Martina Hingis in an otherwise stagnant Top 10.
Novak Djokovic remains at No. 1 in the rankings as the Top 20 remains stagnant this week. American Jack Sock climbs 8 spots to No. 31 while Ram climbs 75 spots to No. 86. The Top 10 in the doubles remains the same with the Bryan Brothers retaining the top spot while Fabio Fognini climbs one spot to No. 7, swapping places with Florin Mergea.