U.S. Open Live Coverage: Day 8

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3:40 p.m.

Venus Williams failed to convert a match point and lost in the fourth round of the U.S. Open to a player a dozen years younger than her, 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

Pliskova reached the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career by coming back to edge seven-time major champion Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Monday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 24-year-old Pliskova had never been past the third round in 17 previous appearances at majors.

At 36, Williams was trying to become the oldest Grand Slam quarterfinalist since Martina Navratilova was 37 at Wimbledon in 1994.

1:05 p.m.

Simona Halep made the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for the second straight year, beating Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets.

The fifth-seeded Romanian won 6-2, 7-5 on Monday. She could face No. 1 Serena Williams next. The 22-time major champ plays Yaroslava Shvedova later in the day.

Suarez Navarro, seeded 11th, was seeking the sixth Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career.

Halep had a chance to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set but got broken. She then broke Suarez Navarro’s serve in the next game and successfully served it out in her second opportunity.

1 p.m.

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the U.S. Open quarterfinals after Dominic Thiem retired in the second set of their match.

The eighth-seeded Thiem took a medical timeout to have trainers look at his right knee after the set’s fifth game. He returned to the court for one point before deciding he couldn’t go on.

Del Potro had won the first set 6-3 and was up a break in the second.

Thiem, who turned 23 on Saturday, has had a breakthrough year, reaching the French Open semifinals and cracking the top 10. But the long season was starting to wear on his body.

Del Potro knows all about that. The 2009 U.S. Open champ missed the tournament the last two years after surgeries on his left wrist.

But his stunning run to the Olympic silver medal signaled he’s a contender again.

Del Potro got a huge break Monday when he spent only 72 minutes on court. He’s played just 10-plus sets through four rounds.

At No. 142, del Potro is the lowest-ranked U.S. Open quarterfinalist since Jimmy Connors in 1991.

11 a.m.

Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Murray and the Williams sisters are among those seeking to book their spots in the quarterfinals on Labor Day Monday at the U.S. Open.

Del Potro, the 2009 champ who has won over fans with his comeback from left wrist surgeries, takes on eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem, who broke into the top 10 this year after reaching the French Open semifinals.

The No. 2-seeded Murray, who is hoping to add Flushing Meadows to his Wimbledon and Olympic titles this year, takes on 22-seeded Grigor Dimitrov. And third-seeded Stan Wawrinka, who saved a match point in a five-set win Saturday, faces Illya Marchenko.

Among the women’s highlights are back-to-back afternoon matches on Ashe with the Williams sisters. Sixth-seeded Venus is on first against 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who is in the round of 16 at a major for the first time. Then top-seeded Serena meets 52nd-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova.

Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska is in the nightcap on Ashe, taking on 92nd-ranked Ana Konjuh.

Fernando Verdasco accepts 2-month doping ban

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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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
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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.”