US now waits after clinching 1st Davis Cup semi since 2012

Getty Images
0 Comments

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The United States is off to a perfect start in Davis Cup play this year, and the Americans now have to wait and see if they can continue this momentum when they play in the semifinals for the first time since 2012.

Ryan Harrison had the honors Sunday wrapping up a 4-0 victory over Belgium in essentially an exhibition match with the U.S. already clinching a semifinal berth against Croatia on Sept. 14-16. Harrison, ranked 54th in the world in singles, beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-4 in 65 minutes after the U.S. won the first three matches to improve to 5-0 all-time in Davis Cup play against Belgium.

“It’s one of the great challenges in Davis Cup in this current format is the momentum disappears because you don’t play again for months on end, so you have to recreate that momentum,” U.S. captain Jim Courier said. “As we get going toward the next time in September, it comes on the heels of the U.S. Open, so we’ll be leaving after the U.S. Open to go over to Croatia.”

That’s a long time between matches with three Grand Slams between now and then leaving open the possibility of injuries, which could affect the current roster of John Isner, Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, Steve Johnson and Harrison. Johnson was the only American not to play in the quarterfinals at Belmont University. Courier said he knows all of the players want to be in Croatia.

“Hopefully, they’ll be healthy and playing great, and we’ll have the same crew because the energy and camaraderie is really good with the guys and the options that we have in singles and doubles are really strong and a big benefit,” Courier said.

Courier doesn’t see any issue with the Americans becoming overconfident, not when they know too well that both Serbia and Belgium were missing key players. Steve Darcis and David Goffin both were out for Belgium, which had reached two of the last three Davis Cup finals.

“I think we all know that we still have a lot to prove,” Courier said. “We’ll be going on the road to play a very deep team in Croatia, a team that beat us two years ago in the quarterfinals when we were up 2-0. They came back and won the last three matches. So we’ll have plenty on our minds when we go there.”

Croatia advanced Sunday rather easily with Marin Cilic downing Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.

Spain needed all five matches to advance 3-2 to a semifinal against France. Rafael Nadal started the rally by beating Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, and David Ferrer clinched the quarterfinal for the Spaniards downing Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-5. France advanced with a 3-1 win over Italy as Lucas Pouille defeated Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

 

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

Getty Images
2 Comments

PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Sorribes Tormo beats 2nd-seeded Trevisan at Parma Open

Getty Images
2 Comments

PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.

Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.

Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.