Murray gives Britain lift vs Argentina in Davis Cup semis

Getty Images
0 Comments

With Andy Murray back, Britain should beat Argentina in Davis Cup this weekend for the first time since 1928 and make the final.

Murray has won the Olympic gold medal and made the Cincinnati final and U.S. Open quarterfinals in the past month, but he has enough left in the tank to play singles and doubles, if need be, Britain captain Leon Smith said.

Murray proved his mettle a year ago in the semifinal against Australia, when he won both of his singles and a five-set doubles.

“There’s no doubt he will be tired. He’s played so much over the summer,” Smith said. “Looking back to last year’s Aussie tie, when he was clearly hurting and fatigued, he went out and gave everything. I don’t think that will change.”

His fitness ought to be tested in the opening singles on Friday, when he’s likely to face Juan Martin del Potro in a rematch of the Olympic final.

Del Potro was still finding his form when he played only doubles in the quarterfinal win over Italy in Italy in July, in his first tie in four years. He followed that with his Olympic run, including a win over Novak Djokovic, and a run to the U.S. Open last eight. He’s match-fit again, and eager to repair a 6-2 losing record to Murray.

He’s the lowest-ranked player in the Argentina squad, and captain Daniel Orsanic wasn’t keen to reveal his lineup until the draw on Thursday. The favorite for the other singles spot must be Federico Delbonis, who won his two singles against Italy, and beat Murray in March at Indian Wells.

Argentina is playing a remarkable 11th semifinal in 15 years, but it faces the defending Davis Cup champions in Murray and his brother Jamie, the U.S. Open doubles champion, who will be backed by a raucous home crowd in Glasgow, Scotland.

If, as expected, Britain wins, then it will host the final in November only if Croatia beats France on another indoor hard court in Zadar.

Croatia’s chances improved when Gael Monfils withdrew from the France team on Thursday because of a knee injury.

Last week, Monfils reached the U.S. Open semifinals.

France was already without Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, also injured, and was now being led by Lucas Pouille, who made his Davis Cup debut in July, and veteran Richard Gasquet.

Croatia impressively came from 2-0 down to beat the United States away in July, thanks to Marin Cilic and Borna Coric. Since then, Cilic won the Cincinnati title, while Coric retired in the U.S. Open first round with an inflamed tendon in his knee. He’s had almost three weeks to recover.

Unseeded Parks beats top-seeded Garcia for her 1st title

Getty Images
0 Comments

LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.

“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.

Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.

The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.

“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.

The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.

“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”

Zhu beats Tsurenko to win Thailand Open

Getty Images
0 Comments

HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.

In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.

The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.

Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.

The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.

Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.