Nadal, Fritz, Goffin, Badosa advance; Pegula’s run ends

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WIMBLEDON, England — Rafael Nadal advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory over 27th-seeded Lorenzo Sonego.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion beat the Italian on Centre Court.

Nadal is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open and French Open. The Spaniard won the title at the All England Club in 2008 and 2010.

The 36-year-old Nadal next plays 21st-seeded Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Taylor Fritz of the United States advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time after a straight-set victory over Alex Molcan.

The 11th-seeded Fritz beat the Slovakian 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (3) on No. 3 Court. He will next face qualifier Jason Kubler of Australia for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Kubler beat American qualifier Jack Sock 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in their third-round match.

The 24-year-old Fritz hit 20 aces and only one double-fault.

David Goffin reached his second Wimbledon quarterfinal after outlasting Francis Tiafoe in five sets.

The Belgian won 7-6 (3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 on No. 2 Court in a tight contest that lasted 4 hours, 36 minutes. Goffin also reached the quarters in his last Wimbledon appearance in 2019, but missed last year’s tournament with an injury.

Tiafoe called for a physio after winning the third set and was given a pill, then quickly went down 5-1 in the fourth as his first-serve percentage dipped. The No. 23-seeded American held two break points at 5-5 in the fifth set but Goffin saved them both with powerful serves, then converted his first match point in the next game when Tiafoe netted a backhand.

Goffin will face the winner of the match between Cam Norrie and Tommy Paul.

Fourth-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon by beating two-time champion Petra Kvitova 7-5, 7-6 (4).

Badosa will next face another Wimbledon champion – Simona Halep, who won at the All England Club in 2019.

Kvitova hasn’t been beyond the third round at a Grand Slam tournament since making the fourth round at the 2020 Australian Open.

Jessica Pegula’s run of quarterfinal appearances at Grand Slam tournaments this year is over after a loss to Petra Martic of Croatia in the third round at Wimbledon.

Martic defeated the eighth-seeded American 6-2, 7-6 (5) on No. 3 Court.

The 28-year-old Pegula had reached the quarterfinals at this year’s Australian Open and French Open. She made it to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time.

Martic, who is ranked 80th, has been to the fourth round twice before at Wimbledon. She will next face 17th-seeded Elena Rybakina for a place in the quarterfinals.

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.”