Djokovic stunned by Querrey at Wimbledon

AP
2 Comments

Novak Djokovic’s 30-match Grand Slam winning streak is over after a stunning 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5) loss to 41st-ranked Sam Querrey in Wimbledon’s third round.

Djokovic had won the past four major titles in a row – and was halfway to the first calendar-year Grand Slam for a man since Rod Laver’s in 1969.

The match ended Saturday, when it was interrupted by three rain delays.

They began playing Friday, when Querrey grabbed a two-set lead before play was suspended by showers.

When they resumed Saturday, two-time defending Wimbledon champion Djokovic quickly took a 5-0 lead en route to winning the third set, and then he served for the fourth at 5-4. But he was broken there, and they headed to a tiebreaker. The match closed on a forehand error by Djokovic.

4:50 p.m.

Novak Djokovic and Sam Querrey are back out on court after their third rain delay of the day.

They resume with two-time defending Wimbledon champion Djokovic serving to stay in the third-round match, trailing 6-5 in the fourth set and down two sets to one.

The match began Friday night, when play was halted because of rain after Querrey took the opening two sets.

4:40 p.m.

The All England Club says all 22,000 tickets for the middle Sunday at Wimbledon sold out in 27 minutes.

Organizers decided to play on Sunday for only the fourth time in the tournament’s 139-year history after severe delays because of rain.

4 p.m.

Kei Nishikori has reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and equaled his best performance at the All England Club.

Nishikori beat Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 7-5, 6-3, 7-5 in less than two hours. He made only 14 unforced errors.

That set up Nishikori against Marin Cilic, who beat the Japanese star in the 2014 U.S. Open final.

Since then, Nishikori has won both of his matches with the Croat, both last year on outdoor hard courts. Their fourth-round match will be their first on grass.

3:50 p.m.

With Novak Djokovic one game from a stunning loss to Sam Querrey, rain is again delaying play at Wimbledon.

Djokovic, who has a 30-match Grand Slam winning streak, was about to serve while trailing 6-5 in the fourth set Saturday, and down two sets to one.

Querrey won the first two sets of their third-round match before play was stopped because of rain Friday evening. Djokovic then took the third set Saturday.

3:15 p.m.

Alexander Zverev finished off his match on Saturday, and finally completed the men’s second round at Wimbledon.

The 24th-seeded German beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2.

There is one more second-round match still to be completed, between two-time champion Petra Kvitova and Ekaterina Makarova.

Because of the rain at Wimbledon this week, organizers have decided to play on the middle Sunday for only the fourth time in the tournament’s 139-year history.

2:56 p.m.

After a quick break for a short rain delay, Novak Djokovic and Sam Querrey are back on court at Wimbledon.

Because the rain delay was so brief, only about 10 minutes, the players resumed the match immediately, skipping the usual warm-up period.

Fernando Verdasco accepts 2-month doping ban

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

LONDON – Former top-10 player Fernando Verdasco accepted a voluntary provisional doping suspension of two months after testing positive for a medication for ADHD, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced.

Verdasco, who turned 39 this month, said he was taking methylphenidate as medication prescribed by his doctor to treat ADHD but forgot to renew his therapeutic use exemption for the drug. The integrity agency said Verdasco has now been granted an exemption by the World Anti-Doping Agency moving forward.

He tested positive at an ATP Challenger tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in February.

The integrity agency said in a news release that it “accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” and so what could have been a two-year suspension was reduced to two months.

Verdasco will be eligible to compete on Jan. 8.

The Spaniard is a four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, reaching that stage most recently in 2013 at Wimbledon, where he blew a two-set lead in a five-set loss to eventual champion Andy Murray.

Verdasco reached a career-best ranking of No. 7 in April 2009 and currently is No. 125.

Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov give Canada 1st Davis Cup title

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

MALAGA, Spain — Felix Auger-Aliassime fell to his back behind the baseline, then waited for teammates to race off Canada’s bench and pile on top of him.

A few minutes later, the Canadians finally could lift the Davis Cup.

“I think of us all here, we’ve dreamt of this moment,” Auger-Aliassime said.

Canada won the title for the first time, beating Australia behind victories from Denis Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime secured the winning point when he downed Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-4 after Shapovalov opened the day by rolling past Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4.

Seven years after leading Canada to the top of junior tennis, Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and their teammates finally got to lift the biggest team trophy in their sport.

“We wanted to grow up and be part of the team and try to help the country win the first title,” Shapovalov said, “so everything is just so surreal right now.”

Shapovalov had dropped both his singles matches this week and needed treatment on his back during a three-set loss in the semifinals to Lorenzo Sonego of Italy that lasted 3 hours, 15 minutes. But the left-hander moved quickly around the court, setting up angles to put away winners while racing to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Auger-Aliassime then finished off his superb second half of the season by completing a perfect week in Spain. He twice had kept the Canadians alive after Shapovalov dropped the opening singles match, and he replaced his weary teammate to join Vasek Pospisil for the decisive doubles point.

This time, Auger-Aliassime made sure the doubles match wouldn’t even be necessary. After his teammates poured onto the court to celebrate with him, they got up and danced around in a circle.

Canada had reached the final only once, falling to host Spain in Madrid in 2019, when Rafael Nadal beat Shapovalov for the clinching point after Auger-Aliassime had lost in the opening match.

But with Auger-Aliassime having since surged up the rankings to his current spot at No. 6, the Canadians are a much more formidable team now. They won the ATP Cup in January and finally added the Davis Cup crown to the junior Davis Cup title Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov led them to in 2015.

Australia was trying for its 29th title and first since current captain Lleyton Hewitt was part of the title-winning team in 2003.

But it was finally time for the Canadians, who were given a wild card into the field when Russia was suspended because of its invasion of Ukraine.

“Look, I think we were very close today,” de Minaur said. “Just wait until the next time we get the same matchup. Hopefully we can get the win and prove that we can do it.”

But Canada will be tough to beat as long as Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov play.

Shapovalov is just 23 and Auger-Aliassime 22, but both already have been Grand Slam semifinalists and Auger-Aliassime ended 2022 as one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour. He won all of his four titles this year, including three straight weeks in October.

He also beat Carlos Alcaraz in the previous Davis Cup stage in September, just after the Spaniard had won the U.S. Open to rise to No. 1 in the rankings. That victory helped send the Canadians into the quarterfinals, which they started this week by edging Germany.

“They’re not kids anymore, that’s for sure. Not after today – well not after the last couple of years,” said Pospisil, the team veteran at 32. “They’ve been crushing it.”