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Mondays with Bob Greene 

 

STARS

John Millman beat Andrew Whittington 6-2 6-2 to win the Ea Hua Hin Open Challenger in Hua Hin, Thailand

Aryna Salalenka beat Dalila Jakupovic 6-2 6-3 to win the Mumbai Open in Mumbai, India

Zhang Shuai beat Su Jeong Jang 0-6 6-2 6-3 to win the Hawaii Open in Honolulu, Hawaii

Sumit Nagal beat Jay Clarke 6-3 3-6 6-2 to win the Bengaluru Open in Bengalore, India

 

DAVIS CUP

Final

France beat Belgium 3-2 at Lille, France

 

SAYING

“To have four different players win the three points is great. Everyone wanted this, we favored the spirit of the group above individuals … I’m so happy.” – Yannick Noah, French coach after his team won the Davis Cup title.

“It’s great for me to be finally able to win it. I’ve been chasing after it for 10 years. I put other things to one side to be able to play and win this competition.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“We did everything to win and ultimately it didn’t come off.” – Johan Van Herck, Belgium’s Davis Cup coach.

“I’m dependent on tennis. A day without it would be terrible.” – Jana Novotna, who died at age 49, telling an interviewer two years ago. ”

 

SQUEAKER

Playing his best tennis of the weekend, Lucas Pouille crushed Belgium’s Steve Darcis in straight sets to snap a tie and give France it’s 10th Davis Cup title. “There’s nothing better than winning as a team, with my mates, in front of the fans, my family and my friends,” Pouille said. His 6-3 6-1 6-0 win over Darcis came in the decisive fifth rubber after David Goffin had knotted the international team competitive 2-2 by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5) 6-3 6-2 in the first of the two reverse singles. It was the third victory as captain for Yannick Noah and the first for France since 2001. The victory also tied France with Great Britain on the list of all-time winners far behind the United States, which has won 32 Davis Cup titles, and Australia, with 28. “Bravo to all the winning team which has made all of France proud,” French President Emmanuel Macron posted on Twitter.

Goffin began the three-day event by convincingly beating Pouille before Tsonga leveled the match by stopping Darcis. The Noah took a big gamble that paid off for the Frenchmen. The coach paired Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who had never played together before, and they defeated Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore 6-1 3-6 7-6 (2) 6-4. That set the stage for the reverse singles and Pouille’s big win.

 

SWEET WIN

The last Frenchman to win a Grand Slam tournament singles title was Yannick Noah. And he had led his country to two Davis Cup championships. So, after France had lost three finals since 2001, Noah was summoned to captain the team once again. “When you don’t win for 16 years, everybody is getting used to losing,” Noah said. “That losing culture, it was destroying me.” France was favored to beat Belgium, which relied heavily on one player David Goffin. “When they got here, the Belgians were carefree while we had something heavy to carry,” Noah said of the three-day competition played in Lille, France. Richard Gasquet, who Noah surprisingly selected to play doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and they responded by winning, said: “I’m just very happy that we managed to win that competition. We’d been trying to win it for a long time. It’s fantastic.”

 

SABALENKA WINS

Aryna Sabalenka knows how to ease the pain of losing. By winning, of course. The Belarusian teenager stopped Dalila Jakupovic in straight sets to win the L&T Mumbai Open, the biggest title of her career. Sabalenka reached the Tianjin Open final, only to lose to Maria Sharapova, and the was on the Belarusian team that lost the Fed Cup final to the United States. Against Jakupovic, Sabalenka ripped off 13 straight points to reach triple break point for a 4-0 lead before the Slovenian rallied to hold and trail 3-1. No problem. Sabalenka took two of the next three games to close out the opening set. The eventual winner dropped serve to open the second set. But she dominated her opponent to close out the victory in 64 minutes. After the match, Sabalenka credited her coaching team for the victory. “I know it’s not always easy to work with me,” she laughed.

 

SHARAPOVA UNDER INVESTIGATION

Police in India are investigating Maria Sharapova after a luxury housing project she endorsed folded. “We have registered a case of cheating on directions from the court,” a police officer, Arvind Sharma, told AFP. He said the tennis star and the firm behind the development, Homestead Infrastructure Development, have been named in the case. Sharapova was in India in 2012to launch the luxury high-rise apartment complex, which was later named Ballet by Sharapova. Prospective buyers were told the complex would house a tennis academy, a clubhouse and a helipad. The project in Gurgaon, a satellite city of New Delhi, was supposed to be ready in 2016. By Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing the complainant, said construction was abandoned after builders collected money from homebuyers. “Any celebrity who endorses any product technically becomes an agent for that company,” Singh said. “No one would have invested in the project if Sharapova’s name was not there.” Once ranked number one in the world, Sharapova made almost USD $30 in 2015, according to Forbes, with USD $23 million of that coming from endorsements.

 

SEEDING ONLY 16

Only 16 players will be seeded at Grand Slam tournaments beginning in 2019. The Grand Slam Board also announced several other changes for the four major events. A player who is a late withdrawal because of an injury will receive 50 percent of the first-round prize money. A player who retires from a first-round match or “performs below professional standards,” could face a fine as high as the entire prize money due to a loser in that round. The Australian Open will use a 25-second serve clock, but not during main draw matches. The four Grand Slam tournaments doubled the number of seeded players to 32 in June 2001, a decision that was made partly in response to complaints from clay-court specialists who wanted more draw protection at Wimbledon, the only major played on grass.

 

SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP

Nick Taylor and David Wagner won their 10th quad title to extend their record as the most successful partnership in UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters history. The two Americans defeated British top seeds Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthorne 6-4 6-3 in the final in Bemmel, Netherlands. “It’s awesome. We missed out on it last year against these guys and we really wanted to beat them this year and get that tenth title, so it’s huge,” Taylor said.

 

SEEKING 2018 START

Japan’s Kei Nishikori is not sure exactly when he will return to the ATP World Tour, but he doesn’t want to rush his recovery. “I can’t say when I’ll heal from my injury, so I’m trying not to rush anything,” said Nishikori, who was ranked ninth in the world when he suffered a season-ending wrist injury last August. “I’m aiming for the Brisbane International (in January), but it could be February or even March, who know,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m in top form when I’m back on tour so I’m in a position to win a Masters or Grand Slam title. I also hope I’m mentally stronger and hungrier next season.” Nishikori underwent elbow surgery in 2009 and was sidelined for almost a year. This time he chose rehabilitation over surgery to treat his wrist injury. “I know I’ve been away from competition for about six months because of my injury,” he said, “but I hope to make it back into the top five. I know I can.”

 

SAD NEWS

Jana Novotna, who became a fan favorite when she tearfully lost a Wimbledon final, is dead at the age of 49. Following a long battle with cancer, Novotna died in her native Czech Republic “peacefully, surrounded by her family,” the WTA said. Novotna had a big third-set lead at Wimbledon in 1993, only to lose to Steffi Graf. During the post-match ceremony, Novotna broke down and cried on the shoulder of Britain’s Duchess of Kent and was comforted by the royal, who told her: “I know you will win it one day, don’t worry.” She reached the final again in 1997, only to lose again. Novotna finally won Wimbledon in 1998, the same year she won a silver medal in doubles at the Seoul Olympics. She won silver again in doubles and bronze in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Novotna was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

 

SEASON OVER? NO

The ATP World Tour and WTA have held season-ending tournaments, yet the tennis season goes on. Although the world’s top players have an off-season, there are plenty of events going on around the world. This week there are USD $25,000 tournaments being held in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Waco, Texas, USA. Smaller professional events this week are being staged in Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, Czech Republic, Israel, Dominican Republic, South Africa and China. And that’s just the men. Women’s events this week are being held in Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, Spain, Tunisia, India, Ecuador, Czech Republic, China and South Africa.

Unless something quite unusual happens, this column reports only on tournaments where the total purse in USD $100,000 or more. The next tournament that meets that criteria in a women’s event, the USD $100,000 Al Habtoor Tennis Challenger in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which will be played the week starting December 11.

Enjoy the holiday season.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Bengalore: Mikhail Elgin and Divij Sharan beat Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov 6-3 6-0

Hua Hin: Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana beat Austin Krajicek and Jackson Withrow 6-4 5-7 10-5 (match tiebreak)

Honolulu: Hsieh Shu-Ying and Hsieh Su-Wei beat Eri Hozumi and Asia Muhammad 6-1 7-6 (3)

Mumbai: Victoria Rodriguez and Bibiane Schoofs beat Dalila Jakupovic and Irina Khromacheva 7-5 3-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)

 

SURFING

Dubai: www.habtoortennis.com

 

 

TOURNAMENTS WEEK of Dec. 11

WOMEN

$100,000 Al Habtoor Tennis Challenger, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hard

 

TOURNAMENTS WEEK of Jan. 1, 2018

MEN

$1,283,855 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, Doha, Qatar, hard

$482,085 Maharashtra Open, Pune, India, hard

$461,330 Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, Brisbane, Australia, hard

 

WOMEN

$1,000,000 Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, Brisbane, Australia, hard

$750,000 Shenzhen Open, Shenzhen, China, hard

$250,000 ASB Classic, Auckland, New Zealand, hard

 

Davis Cup champs France

Davis Cup champs France



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About Admin
Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the books ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY and THE DAYS OF ROGER FEDERER

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