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Davis Cup 2018: Great Britain 1-1 Uzbekistan after Dan Evans wins but Cameron Norrie loses

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2018
Great Britain v Uzbekistan – Davis Cup play-off
Venue: Emirates Arena, Glasgow Dates: 14-16 September Coverage: Live video on the Red Button and online; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

Great Britain and Uzbekistan are level at 1-1 in their Davis Cup tie after a gutsy victory for Dan Evans and shock defeat for Cameron Norrie in Glasgow.

World number 70 Norrie squandered a match point in a 0-6 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 6-2 defeat by world number 434 Jurabek Karimov in the best-of-five tie.

Before that Evans had held his nerve in a rollercoaster 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 0-6 6-4 7-5 victory over Denis Istomin.

Evans was playing his first GB match since serving a 12-month drug ban.

The tie continues on Saturday with a doubles match – Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot taking on Istomin and Sanjar Fayziev – before Sunday’s reverse singles.

“It’s been tough but everybody who supported me, who has been right behind me from the time I started back, I can only thank them,” an emotional Evans said, after a match against world number 60 Istomin that lasted four hours and 14 minutes.

“Days like today don’t come around very often. Who knows, I may not get in the team next time, so I have to remember this and enjoy it.”

With a revamped Davis Cup being introduced next year, this tie is no longer about relegation from the elite World Group. Instead, if Great Britain win they will be seeded in the new competition in February.

  • Quiz: How well do you know GB’s Davis Cup stars?
  • Follow GB’s Davis Cup tie on the BBC

Missed opportunities

Britain, playing without three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and the country’s number one Kyle Edmund, got off to a perfect start through Evans against the highest-ranked player in the tie.

But the Englishman, who had been a set and a break up before Istomin fought back, made it harder work for himself by missing 18 of 23 break points.

He produced the breakthrough in the first set when he sent a forehand down the line to get the mini-break for 5-3 in the tie-break and wrapped up the set with a backhand volley at the net.

Evans went 2-0 up in the second set but was pegged back in the following game, and then failed to convert seven out of eight break points as Istomin took the set when the Briton went long.

With the first two sets having taken just over two hours, the Uzbek number one then raced through the third set in 21 minutes, before Evans stopped the rot by winning the opening game of the fourth set after losing nine games in a row.

The momentum continued to swing in the fifth, with each player breaking twice before Evans won the match with a forehand on his sixth match point on Istomin’s serve.

Evans, who failed a drug test after remnants of cocaine contaminated legal medication in his washbag, returned to tennis in April this year and has climbed back to 222nd in the world after winning a Challenger event in Vancouver last month.

Norrie unravels

The big screen at the Emirates Arena had shown a good luck video message from Andy Murray, who was so instrumental to Great Britain’s 2015 Davis Cup triumph but is absent from this tie as he continues his rehabilitation following hip surgery.

“Unfortunately this might be the last time we get to play in Glasgow as a team,” the 31-year-old said. “I hope you all make the most of it.”

What the Scot would not have wanted was to see Uzbekistan’s lowly ranked Karimov make the most of his moment on the Davis Cup stage after a nervous start.

The 20-year-old served up three double faults in the opening game and looked out of his depth as Norrie ran away with the first set in 20 minutes.

There were signs in the second set of a different Karimov – and a less assured Norrie – with the pair sharing seven breaks of serve before the Briton closed it out to seemingly take control of the match.

But Karimov stamped out his errors and saved a match point in the third-set tie-break to force a fourth set.

The 20-year-old Uzbek broke twice in the fourth as Norrie’s game unravelled, his unforced error count grew and his shoulders slumped.

Norrie, who had come from two sets down to stun Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut on his Davis Cup debut in February, could not raise his game and found himself a double break down in the decider, eventually losing when he sent a forehand long.

“I guess it just makes the tie more interesting,” Norrie said.

“I’ll try to forget that as soon as possible but it hurts a lot because I’m not playing for myself, I’m playing for the team.”


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller in Glasgow

This was a chastening experience for Norrie after the triumph of his Davis Cup debut on Spanish clay in February. On his home debut, he was completely in control of the match and had a match point for a straight-set victory.

Karimov played nothing like the world number 434 – and away from home, at the age of 20, what a memorable way to earn your first Davis Cup singles point.

Evans has endured a lot of bad days in the past 18 months, but today was fighting back the tears as he celebrated victory with captain Leon Smith.

Evans’ recent woes were entirely self-inflicted, but it was a magnificent effort to beat the in-form Denis Istomin in his first full five-set match in over two years.

He has knuckled down and won a lot of matches at Challenger level since April, and now looks as if he could feature strongly again on the ATP Tour during 2019.

With Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot in action in Saturday’s doubles, GB are still in the box seat – but there is now much less margin for error.

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Scouting Report: 20 Things To Watch In Metz & St. Petersburg

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2018

Scouting Report: 20 Things To Watch In Metz & St. Petersburg

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP World Tour

The ATP World Tour is going inside. Indoor tennis will be played for the first time since February at the Moselle Open and St. Petersburg Open this week.

Ten Frenchmen are scheduled to compete in Metz, including three-time champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Back from left knee surgery, Tsonga will be joined in France by US Open semi-finalist Kei Nishikori and #NextGenATP Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas.

St. Petersburg offers the second-largest purse of the 40 ATP World Tour 250-level events. The Top 5 Russians will compete for $1,175,190 in prize money alongside World No. 8 Dominic Thiem, wild card Stan Wawrinka and 2017 champion Damir Dzumhur.

1) Much-Anticipated Return: Tsonga has not played since the Open Sud de France semi-finals in Montpellier on 10 February. Nine days later, the former World No. 5 dropped outside the Top 25 of the ATP Rankings, due to injury, for the first time since he reached the 2008 Australian Open final. Tsonga is 18-3 at the Moselle Open and making his first appearance since defeating two-time champion Gilles Simon in the 2015 final.

2) All These Years: Simon, a fellow 33-year-old Frenchman, was a teenager when he made his ATP World Tour debut at the 2004 Moselle Open. Also in the draw was Richard Gasquet, who reached the final as an 18-year-old wild card ranked 151st. Gasquet and Simon return this week with 15 and 13 tour-level titles, respectively, though Gasquet has yet to triumph in Metz.

3) No. 1 Frenchman: Lucas Pouille upset David Goffin and Dominic Thiem en route to earning the first of his five ATP World Tour titles at the 2016 Moselle Open. Pouille claimed victory in France for the second time earlier this year in Montpellier

4) Young Musketeers: Other Frenchmen in the field include Quentin Halys, Ugo Humbert and Corentin Moutet. All three wild cards are between the ages of 19 and 21 with career-high ATP Rankings between No. 102 and No. 109. Humbert qualified and won his tour-level debut at the US Open.

5) Kei Rising: Nishikori may have struggled with a wrist injury at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. But the Japanese star is back near top form, fresh off his run to the last four at Flushing Meadows. The World No. 12 reached the final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and also debuted in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon quarter-finals.

6) New Sensation: What Nishikori has done for tennis in Japan, Tsitsipas is doing in Greece. His breakout season has featured one first after another for Greeks, including four Top 10 wins to reach the Rogers Cup final, entry into the Top 15 and a fourth-round run at Wimbledon.

7) Pride of Georgia: Nikoloz Basilashvili also set several records for his nation recently. Basilashvili won the Hamburg title on 29 July to become the first tour-level champion and highest-ranked player ever from Georgia. He’s up to No. 31 after becoming the first Georgian to reach the fourth round at the US Open.

8) Unlikely Champion: Peter Gojowczyk had never reached an ATP World Tour final entering the 2017 Moselle Open. Ranked 95th at the time, Gojowczyk of Germany became the second qualifier and second-lowest ranked player to claim the Metz title after No. 185 Jerome Haehnel in 2004.

9) Title Town: Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, the 2012 Metz doubles champions, will reunite this week. Mahut also won the title with Julien Benneteau in 2003 and Arnaud Clement in 2004, while Roger-Vasselin also lifted the trophy with Lukasz Kubot in 2015 and Benneteau in 2017.

10) Kohli’s Push: German Philipp Kohlschreiber showed his good form in New York by ousting compatriot Alexander Zverev. And now, he will look to lift the trophy in Metz for the first time. Kohlschreiber advanced to the final in 2009, and made the last four on two more occasions.

1) Last Hurrah: Mikhail Youzhny is playing the final event of his career in St. Petersburg. Youzhny, 36, is the winningest player in St. Petersburg Open history with a 34-14 record. The 2004 champion and three-time finalist has not missed the event since 2000. Youzhny is two wins shy of 500 for his career and he can join Yevgeny Kafelnikov as the only Russians to reach the milestone.

2) Top 10 Thiem: Only Rafael Nadal has spent more consecutive weeks in the Top 10 than Thiem. The Austrian has been a mainstay in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings since reaching the Roland Garros semi-finals in 2016. Thiem pushed Nadal to a fifth-set tie-break earlier this month in the US Open quarter-finals.

3) Getting Closer: After losing in the first round at Roland Garros, Wawrinka fell from No. 30 to No. 263 in the ATP Rankings. Three months later, the three-time Grand Slam champion is back in the Top 100, winning at least two matches at each of his past three tournaments. Wawrinka finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev at the 2016 St. Petersburg Open.

4) Career Year: Top Italian Fabio Fognini returned to a career-high No. 13 in the ATP Rankings on 10 September. Fognini seeks his fourth ATP World Tour 250-level title of 2018 following triumphs in Sao Paulo, Bastad and Los Cabos. His three titles this season are the most won by an Italian since 1977.

5) No. 1 Russian: Also enjoying a career-high ranking this week is World No. 25 Karen Khachanov, who like Thiem, extended Nadal past four hours at the US Open. Prior to reaching the US Open third round, Khachanov advanced to the fourth round at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

6) Medvedev’s Move: Fellow 22-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev rose to a career-high No. 35 on 10 September. Medvedev swept 17 straight sets en route to the Winston-Salem title and US Open third round in August. Earlier this season, he captured the Sydney championship as a qualifier.

7) First Time for Everything: Dzumhur made history in 2017 as the first player to sweep both Russian tournaments in a single season. The St. Petersburg and Moscow champion ended 2017 on a 24-7 run. Although he is 20-24 in 2018, Dzumhur added his third ATP World Tour title at Antalya in June.

8) Shapo Soaring: Born in Israel to parents from the former Soviet Union, Denis Shapovalov moved to Toronto as an infant and represents Canada on tour. The 19-year-old, who speaks Russian, has played once before in Russia as a wild card at the 2016 Moscow Challenger. This time last year, he was on the verge of the world’s Top 50. And Shapovalov has continued his ascent in 2018, climbing as high as No. 23 in June. The teenager seeks his first tour-level crown.

9) Living Legend: Leander Paes bids to become the second-oldest doubles champion since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990 when he teams with Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela. Paes, 45, owns 54 tour-level doubles titles. But he’s lost his past five finals, including the 2016 St. Petersburg Open. John McEnroe is the oldest doubles champion in the ATP World Tour-era, winning San Jose 12 years ago at age 47.

10) Defending Champs: One year ago, Roman Jebavy and Matwe Middelkoop claimed their maiden tour-level title together in St. Petersburg. This will be their sixth tournament as a pair since. They reached the final earlier this year in Lyon.

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'We have a platform to speak for those that can't' – Curry on Trump, Serena & Kaepernick

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2018

NBA superstar Steph Curry says it is important for influential athletes to stand up for their beliefs and is grateful that social media gives them the platform to do so.

Curry has won three NBA Championships with the Golden State Warriors and has twice been named Most Valuable Player.

The American has also spoken openly on social and culture issues.

Here, Curry talks to BBC Sport editor Dan Roan about his views on US President Donald Trump, tennis legend Serena Williams and NFL activist Colin Kaepernick, plus how it feels to be at the peak of his powers and his views on the future of the British game.

  • Curry using fame to address social issues – Dan Roan analysis

‘We have a platform to speak for those that can’t’

Curry has used his platform as one of the world’s greatest athletes to make a stand for the things he believes in.

Last year, the American declined an invite to the White House, following a traditional invitation to celebrate his side’s NBA title success. Curry said the team could “inspire some change” by refusing to visit the home of the president.

Curry says athlete activism and taking a stand “comes with the territory, because the world is small now”.

“If I say something I can tweet it out right now and the whole world can read it, and you can own that,” he said. “More so than generations that have passed, where it has maybe had to go through a couple of different channels.

“There are more eyeballs and ears around what we want to say.

“We have a platform to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves, and things that are important to us we want to talk about and there is definitely a wave of athletes and influencers that are not afraid of the potential consequences of being disagreed with.”

On expressing his views on the political landscape, the 30-year-old added: “You can do it with respect and you can do it with class, and understand that you’re not disrespecting anybody by having an opinion.

“Obviously for me, with visiting the White House, I said how I felt and tried to provide reasons why I felt that way and let it be, and I’m not going to waver off of that.

“For me, I know you are not going to please everybody in this world, but the whole thing is about spreading love and respect on either side of the conversation.”

‘Kaepernick has done so much good’

Curry and the Golden State Warriors’ fallout with Trump followed a protest by NFL quarterback Kaepernick that divided the country.

Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem in protest at racial injustice and police brutality.

The American, recently unveiled as one of the faces of a major advertising campaign by Nike, is suing the NFL, arguing team owners have since deliberately froze him out because of his activism.

“It is all about empowering people’s voices, making sure what people are speaking on behalf is not taking away from them because of a misunderstanding on how the whole thing started, in terms of not disrespecting the flag by taking a knee,” said Curry.

“We wanted to shine a light on police brutality, on racial inequality and things like that. That’s what the NFL players have stood for and I definitely respect that.

“I’ve talked to Colin plenty of times and have supported a couple of causes he has been a part of, and he understands the risk he took when he made that stand.

“At the end of the day, he has done so much good in terms of helping communities that need help, raising awareness for people that need help, I think that’s all right.”

‘I don’t want my daughters to find barriers’

Curry recently talked in a column for The Players’ Tribune about his two daughters, and how he wants them to “strive for careers where they’ll be treated fairly… and paid equally”.

The father-of-three says there is still a lot of work to be done in closing the gender pay gap.

“I have two daughters and I have learned so much in the six years of being a parent on the opportunity to shift their perspectives and what’s possible for them in their lives, whether they pick an industry that’s male dominated or what have you, that they have the opportunities to succeed and excel and rise to the top and that there aren’t any barriers that should be in their way,” said Curry.

“That’s the message you want to send home. When it comes to the pay gap there is a lot of work to be done and it’s not just one essay that is going to change that, it’s about how we in our industries, jobs, communities can empower those that need to be empowered.”

Curry also says he stands by 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion Serena Williams after her outburst in the US Open final, where the American was docked a game and afterwards said her treatment was “sexist”.

“On the court we all have reactions to things that happen,” said Curry.

“I have thrown mouthpieces before, had outbursts you might want to take back, but the way she handled it post-match with how eloquently she put her sentiments around gender equality in her sport and created the conversation we can all assess for ourselves.

“Whether you agree with her or not, there were issues that Serena wants to deal with and those conversations will keep going because she took a stand.

“I encourage women to take stances as they see fit and we need to understand what that means.”

‘British basketball could be huge’

A three-time NBA champion and twice named the league’s Most Valuable Player, Curry was also the first player to sign a contract worth more than $200m.

But the 30-year-old says he is at the peak of his powers, and feels there is more to come.

“I’m hopefully going to stay there for a very long time,” he said. “I feel there’s more in the tank. I have a huge opportunity to win another championship and stay at the top for as long as I can.

“I know how short a career is. You only get so many years to play this game at the level that I do. I keep that same passion and I don’t mind putting the work in.”

However, the American would like to see more funding in the British game.

“Culturally speaking, basketball is a trend-setting sport in terms of how universal it is. It brings a lot of people together. I know football does that as well, but it’s a sport that can open up different skill sets,” he said.

“It could be huge.”

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Thiem Leads Austria To Commanding Davis Cup Lead

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2018

Thiem Leads Austria To Commanding Davis Cup Lead recaps the Davis Cup World Group Playoffs

Graz, Austria (Outdoor clay)

Austria heads into the weekend with a comfortable 2-0 lead in its playoff match against Australia after two convincing wins on Friday. No. 8 Dominic Thiem led the home nation with a dominating 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 win against Aussie Jordan Thompson. Thiem hit 23 winners and limited Thompson to just five in the 95-minute victory.

Thiem’s countryman Dennis Novak, No. 133 in the ATP Rankings, was just as impressive during a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win against #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, who is playing at a career-high No. 38 in the ATP Rankings after reaching the third round of the US Open (l. to Cilic).

Osaka, Japan (Outdoor hard)

Taro Daniel and Yoshihito Nishioka delivered straight-sets wins to give the home nation a commanding 2-0 lead. Daniel beat Tomislav Brkic 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(3), and Nishioka dismissed Mirza Basic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

You May Also Like: Pouille Wins Thriller To Give Defending Champ France 2-0 Lead

Biel, Switzerland (Indoor hard)

Sweden’s 6-0 head-to-head record against Switzerland could be in jeopardy this weekend. The two countries split Friday’s singles matches, as Sweden’s Markus Eriksson outlasted Marc-Andrea Huesler 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(10), 6-4, and Swiss Henri Laaksonen beat Jonathan Mridha 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-3.

Kraljevo, Serbia (Indoor clay)

Serbia is within a match of winning a tie on clay for the first time since 2013. The home country leads India 2-0 after Laslo Djere beat Ramkumar Ramanathan 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-2, and Dusan Lajovic swept Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

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Davis Cup: Carlos Ramos umpires first match since Serena Williams row

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2018

Carlos Ramos returned to the umpire’s chair for the first time since being called a “thief” by Serena Williams, overseeing a Davis Cup match on Friday.

He was in charge as Marin Cilic became Croatia’s most successful Davis Cup player, giving his country a 2-0 lead over the USA in the World Group semis.

Happily for Portugal’s Ramos, there were no controversies as Cilic beat Frances Tiafoe 6-1 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Borna Coric won the opening singles 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 against Steven Johnson.

It means Croatia are firmly in charge of the best-of-five-match tie in Zadar going into Saturday’s doubles and Sunday’s reverse singles matches.

World number six Cilic’s victory over world number 40 Tiafoe took him past the 36 Davis Cup rubbers won by Ivan Ljubicic.

Former US Open champion Cilic broke twice in the first set and three times in the second before the young American, making his Davis Cup debut, pushed him harder in the third.

All eyes had been on Ramos, who docked Williams a game for verbal abuse – having already given her a point penalty for smashing her racquet and a code violation for coaching – in her US Open final defeat by Naomi Osaka on Saturday.

The series of incidents had led to some of the most remarkable scenes in a Grand Slam final as Williams accused Ramos of being a “liar” and a “thief”.

Elsewhere, France‘s Benoit Paire beat Spain‘s Pablo Carreno-Busta 7-5 6-1 6-0 to help his country to a 2-0 lead.

Paire, who was also making his Davis Cup debut for the defending champions, outplayed the injured Spaniard in Lille.

“In my head, sometimes I could become crazy and the team couldn’t be confident to call me into the team,” Paire had said before his match. “But now I feel good, I feel fresh and confident.”

Compatriot and French number one Lucas Pouille prevailed in a five-set battle with Roberto Bautista Agut after losing the first set.

The world number 19 came back to win 3-6 7-5 (7-5) 6-4 2-6 6-4.

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