Tennis – Great Britain and Belgium are through to the Davis Cup final after an action-packed weekend of team tennis. Meanwhile, the women’s tour saw two lesser-knowns pick up WTA titles. Here’s our recap of the week in World Tennis.
Great Britain and Belgium Set Up Unexpected Davis Cup Final
It’s going to be an unexpected Great Britain vs. Belgium final in the Davis Cup this year as both nations scored thrilling wins in semi-final action this weekend. Led by Andy Murray, Great Britain defeated Australia 3-1 to reach their first final since 1978 in the Davis Cup. Murray played a pivotal role, scoring wins over Thanasi Kokkinakis and Bernard Tomic but perhaps his most significant contribution came when he combined with brother Jamie to win the pivotal doubles rubber on Saturday. The Murrays scored a thrilling 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 over Sam Groth/ Lleyton Hewitt in just under four hours to put the Brits within touching distance of their first Davis Cup title since 1936.
Andy Murray commented after the win, “Winning for your country and your team-mates means a lot. The crowd were unbelievable from the first ball to the last. I didn’t feel great the whole weekend to be honest, I’ve been struggling with my back, but I just tried to disguise it.”
Even more surprising was Belgium’s 3-2 win over Argentina to put the tiny nation into their first Davis Cup final in 111 years. On Day 1 of the tie, David Goffin scored a 7-5, 7-6, 6-3 win over Federico Delbonis 7-5, 7-6(3), 6-3 while Leonardo Mayer defeated Steve Darcis 7-6(5), 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-3. The Argentines took a 2-1 lead when Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer beat Ruben Bemelmans and Darcis 6-2, 7-6(2), 5-7, 7-6(5) in the doubles. Goffin got the Belgians back on level terms with a 6-3, 6-2 6-1 win over Diego Schwartzman – his 11th win in 13 Davis Cup matches. And Darcis scored the deciding win with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) win over Delbonis that sent the crowd into a thunderous rapture.
Darcis commented, “If you would have told me 10 years ago that we would play a final in Davis Cup, I would not believe it. It’s unbelievable. For our small country it’s pretty big. For me, it’s really big. I fought on Friday and Saturday and today was the same. David worked a lot too and gave us two points. He gave me the chance to finish the job.” The tie will be held in Belgium in November. Incidentally the last time Begium reached the final in he Davis Cup, they were beaten by the Brits itself.
In the Davis Cup World Group play-offs, the Swiss team, led by Roger Federer, scored a 4-1 win over Netherlands as Federer won both his singles rubbers; youngster Jack Sock scored two singles wins in the United States’ win over Uzbekistan; the Czechs scored a 3-1 win over India with wins coming from Jiri Vesley, Lukas Rosol and the doubles team of Radek Stepanek/ Adam Lavlasek; Italy scored a 4-1 win over Russia with Fabio Fognini winning all three rubbers; Philipp Kohlschreiber scored three wins in Germany 3-1 win over the Dominican Republic; Borna Coric won both his singles rubbers as Croatia defeated Brazil 3-1; Poland qualified for the World Group for the first time in their history with a 3-2 win over Slovakia; and Japan overcame a 1-2 deficit to win 3-2 over Colombia with Kei Nishikori winning both his singles rubbers.
Yanina Wickmayer and Annika Beck Win WTA Titles
With the big names taking a break after the US Open, two lesser known names picked up WTA titles – former World No. 12 yanina Wickmayer defeated Magda Linette4-6,6 -3, 6-3 to win the Japan Open Women’s Tennis event – her first title since 2010. The Belgian commented after her win “It feels great. It’s amazing to win my fourth WTA title. It’s been a while since my third one, so it feels very good to lift a trophy up again after a few years. I’m very happy and very excited about it.” The doubles title was picked up the Chan sisters – Hao Ching and Yung-Jan beating Misaki Doi and Kurumi Nara for their fifth title on the tour – the second most WTA titles by a pair of sisters after the Williamses.
And in Quebec, fifth seeded German Annika Beck scored a 6-2, 6-2 win over Jelena Ostapenko to win her second title at the Coupe Banque National. The Latvian teen has made impressive strides on the tour this year and makes her Top 100 debut this week. Barbora Krejcikova and An-Sophie Mesatch defeated Maria Irigoyen and Paula Kania 4-6, 6-3, 12-10 to win the title.
Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Still at No. 1
Serena Wiliams contiues to sit atop the singles rankings ahead of Simona Halep and maria Sharapova. Ana Ivanovic drops 5 spots to No. 12 which sees move upwards for Flavia Pennetta (+1 to No. 7), Garbine Muguruza (up 1 to no. 8), Angelique Kerber (up 2 spots to no. 9) and Carla Suarez Navarro (up 2 spots to No. 10). Wickmayer climbs 30 spots to No. 56 while Beck climbs 14 spots to No. 53. Sania Mirza continues to remain No. 1 while Yung-Jan Chan moves up 1 spot to no. 10 in the only change in this week’s Top 10.
Novak Djokovic continues to remain at No. 1 in the singles rankings as the Top 10 remains unchanged. Australian Bernard Tomic climbs three spots to no. 20 to make his Top 20 debut. The Bryans remains put at No. 1 in the doubles rankings while Jamie Murray climbs 1 spot to No. 7 and Pierre-Heuges Herbert and Nicolas Mahut climb one spot to N0. 9 and No, 10 respectively.