Brooksby beats 2-time Slam runner-up Anderson in D.C.

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WASHINGTON — Jenson Brooksby found himself in hardly an ideal spot in the first set of the first round of the Citi Open against big-serving Kevin Anderson: trailing the two-time Grand Slam runner-up in a tiebreaker.

Brooksby, a 20-year-old American who lost to Anderson in the final of another ATP tournament two weeks ago, turned things around, grabbed the last six points of that set Monday and went on to beat Anderson 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open.

“Playing him recently definitely helped me this time, because my coach gave me some better strategies this time, compared to the first time, like on the return on other things, and it worked pretty well,” said Brooksby, who finished 2020 ranked outside the top 300 but is now 130th.

“I was just frustrated with myself. I made multiple bad decisions in a row in the points,” Brooksby said about falling behind 4-1 in the tiebreaker.

“I knew I could pull off a comeback in the ‘breaker and then I just kind of kept it going in the second,” he said, “so I was proud of that.”

At night, 2014 U.S. Open finalist and 2015 Washington champion Kei Nishikori advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Sam Querrey.

Nishikori, coming off a quarterfinal run for Japan at the Tokyo Olympics, broke Querrey three times while going 5 for 5 on the break points he faced.

Brooksby had faced a set point while serving down 6-5, but Anderson put a backhand into the net.

Then Anderson’s 113 mph ace – one of his 11 aces on the 80-degree afternoon – provided him with that substantial edge in the tiebreaker. But the 35-year-old South African, the Washington runner-up in 2017, wouldn’t take another point in that set.

Brooksby used drop shots to collect a couple of points and was helped by some misses by Anderson, including an unforced error on a backhand that closed a 14-stroke exchange to end the set.

On July 18, Anderson topped Brooksby in straight sets to win a grass-court title at Newport, Rhode Island.

Anderson has been ranked as high as No. 5 and was a finalist at the U.S. Open in 2017, losing to Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon in 2018, losing to Novak Djokovic. Anderson is currently 75th.

Brooksby saved both break points he faced and earned the match’s only break in the next-to-last game.

He’ll face 16th-seeded Frances Tiafoe, a Maryland native, under the lights of the Citi Open’s main stadium on Tuesday night.

Another Californian, Marcos Giron, kept coming back – he dropped the first set, then was down in each of the next two – until he put together a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1) victory over qualifier Illya Marchenko.

“I just had to take a deep breath in, think about what I had to do and change my strategy a little bit. Once I was able to get my feet into the match, I thought I was able to adjust pretty well there in the second and again in the third,” said Giron, who faces No. 7 seed Cameron Norrie next. “When I was down in the third, I knew I had come back in the previous set and I could do it again.”

In other Day 1 results, Andreas Seppi advanced to a matchup against No. 2 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime by beating Yusatka Uchiyama 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, Daniel Elahi Galan eliminated Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-3 and Ricardas Berankis defeated qualifier Mitchell Krueger 7-6 (4), 6-2.

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

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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.”

Australia beats Croatia 2-1 to reach Davis Cup final

Day Four - Davis Cup Finals 2022
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MALAGA, Spain – Australia had to fight back twice to reach its first Davis Cup final in 19 years after beating Croatia 2-1.

Lleyton Hewitt’s team recovered from losing the first singles. Then the Australian doubles pair battled back from a set down in the decider.

Australia won its 28th and last title in 2003. It has finally got back to the final.

“I am so proud. Australia has a really rich history in this competition,” said Hewitt, who played a record 43 Davis Cup ties for Australia from 1999-2018.

“We have been fortunate to win it all on a number of occasions a long time ago. And I know what it meant to me as a player to play a final, and I am glad these guys can play it.”

Borna Coric put Croatia ahead by beating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-3, but Alex de Minaur leveled after defeating Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2 to send it to the doubles.

Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell then secured the semifinal win against Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic by 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4.

“This is what this team is about, that never-say-die attitude,” De Minaur said.

Canada will face Italy on Saturday in the other semifinal.

In the opener, Kokkinakis struck 11 aces, but Coric was able to break him once in each set.

“On my serve, I felt like it was an ace or he put it back on my toes,” Kokkinakis said.

Cilic, who was on the Croatia team that won the title in 2018, committed 10 double faults. That erratic serve helped De Minaur break Cilic four times and level his head-to-head record with the former U.S Open winner at two wins each.

Thompson and Purcell bettered the more experienced pair of Mektic and Pavic, both ranked in the top 10 in doubles. Thompson and Purcell combined for 13 aces, broke the Croats twice, and never dropped a service game to come back after losing the first-set tiebreaker.

Two-time winner Croatia was the runner-up last year.

“It proved too difficult on the court today,” Cilic said. “(But) for us it has been a great year again after the finals last year to reach the semis.”

The final is on Sunday on the indoor court in Malaga.