Taylor Fritz keeps U.S. hopes alive in Davis Cup Finals

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MADRID — Taylor Fritz kept the U.S. hopes alive in the Davis Cup Finals by defeating Matteo Berrettini 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Wednesday, leveling the series at 1-1.

Sam Querrey and Jack Sock will try to give the U.S. the victory in the decisive doubles match against Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.

Only a victory can keep the Americans with a chance of advancing as one of the two-best second-place finishers from the six groups. The U.S. lost to Canada in its opening series on Tuesday – its first Davis Cup defeat against the North American neighbors.

Italy, which also needs the victory to have a chance of advancing from Group F, took a 1-0 lead after Fognini defeated Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 earlier Wednesday.

Fritz took control of his match after the eighth-ranked Berrettini appeared to injure a leg muscle early in the third set.

“I’m excited for Taylor,” U.S. team captain Mardy Fish said. “That’s one of the biggest wins of his life.”

The doubles match was expected to start at 1:15 a.m. (7:15 p.m. ET, 0015 GMT) local time in the Spanish capital.

If the U.S. is eliminated, it will equal its longest gap between Davis Cup titles, with its last one coming in 2007.

The U.S. sent to Madrid its youngest Davis Cup team in a decade, with 22-year-olds Fritz and Opelka making their tournament debuts. Fritz was the team’s highest-ranked player at No. 32.

The new Davis Cup is being played in a World Cup-style format with all 18 teams playing in a single venue in the same week, instead of the head-to-head confrontations that used to take place at varied sites over four weekends throughout the year.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.