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Ruusuvuori Beats Paul, Seals Historic Davis Cup Final 8 Place For Finland

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2023

Ruusuvuori Beats Paul, Seals Historic Davis Cup Final 8 Place For Finland

Virtanen downs McDonald

In a winner-takes-all tie between Finland and the United States, Saturday singles victories from Emil Ruusuvuori and Otto Virtanen sent Finland into the Davis Cup Final 8 at their opponents’ expense.

After a 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(7) win for Virtanen against Mackenzie McDonald, Ruusuvuori clinched the tie with a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory against Tommy Paul on his fourth match point in Split.

The result means that Finland (2-1) will join the Netherlands (2-0) in advancing out of Group D and into the Davis Cup knockout rounds in Malaga this November. It is Finland’s first time progressing to the Davis Cup quarter-finals.

Virtanen gutted out a thrilling opening win against McDonald, escaping 0/40 at 5-5 in the third set and then saving two match points in the decisive tie-break. Ruusuvuori put the final touches on a brilliant Finnish performance throughout the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage. He won the first set against Paul despite trailing 1-3 and 2-5, and claimed the second with a break after failing to serve out the match at 5-3.

“You can hear it from the [fans]. It means a lot for the whole country, for tennis in Finland. It’s a huge thing,” Ruusuvuori said post-match. “We’re going to Malaga!”

After missing the US Open with an illness, the 24-year-old dictated much of the play against Paul, the World No. 13.

“I just needed to play very precise tennis against Tommy. He’s so quick,” Ruusuvuori said. “I’ve got to keep fighting, and then in the end I was able to get it.”

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Schwartzman Amicably Splits With Coach Chela

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2023

Schwartzman Amicably Splits With Coach Chela

Pair worked together for seven years

After seven years together, Diego Schwartzman and coach Juan Ignacio Chela are going their separate ways. The 31-year-old Schwartzman has spent the majority of his professional career with Chela, a fellow Argentine, and reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 8 in 2020 under his guidance.

Chela, a former Top 20 player himself, announced the split in a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday.

“One day the phone rang and without knowing it, it was the beginning of a new stage in my life as a coach,” he wrote in Spanish.

“Today, after seven years, the time has come for each of us to go our own way. I just want to say thank you and wish you the best in everything to come. I will continue watching you and cheering you on in every match.”

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A post shared by Juan Ignacio Chela 🎾 (@juanichela)

Schwartzman replied to Chela’s post with an equally emotional comment: “I love you Juanito! And this is a word that those who know me know that it is hard for me to say, but what these years were like…” he wrote, also in Spanish. 

“Many coaches formed me when I was a kid and I met incredible people. But the conviction that you generated in me inside and outside the court was unique. Every moment, every laugh, every match, every training session. We always had a good time… good? AMAZING.”

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De Minaur, Kokkinakis Help Australia Clinch Davis Cup Final 8 Place

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2023

De Minaur, Kokkinakis Help Australia Clinch Davis Cup Final 8 Place

Czech Republic completes 3-0 group-stage campaign

Singles wins from Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis earned Australia victory in a Davis Cup Finals Group Stage tie against Switzerland on Saturday in Manchester. But it was not until the doubles duo of Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell completed a 3-0 Aussie sweep that the country confirmed its place in the Davis Cup Final 8.

Kokkinakis set Australia on its way with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Dominic Stricker, before De Minaur cliched the tie with a 6-4, 6-3 victory against Marc-Andrea Huesler. 

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Kokkinakis fired 16 aces but still faced six break points against Stricker. He was able to fight off five of those chances, while converting on three of his five break opportunities to secure a straight-sets win. De Minaur limited Huesler to just five winners off the ground and was a constant threat on return, creating 11 break points and cashing in on three of them.

Ebden and Purcell sparked further celebrations with a 6-2, 6-4 win against Huesler and Stricker in the tie’s final rubber. That result guaranteed Australia a top-two finish in Group B and a place in the knockout rounds in Malaga this November.

Group B hosts Great Britain (2-0) will meet France (1-1) on Sunday in what will be a winner-takes-all tie, with the triumphing country joining Australian in the Davis Cup Final 8.

Lehecka, Mensik Maintain Czech Republic’s Perfect Record

With both the Czech Republic and Serbia already qualified for the Davis Cup Final 8, the Saturday tie between the two countries determined which would advance as winners of Group C. Both were 2-0 in Valencia entering the tie.

Jakub Mensik staked the Czechs an early lead with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Dusan Lajovic, before Jiri Lehecka clinched the tie with a 7-6(7), 7-5 win against Laslo Djere.

Lehecka led 4-1 in the second set and missed out on three match points on return at 5-4 before clinching his seventh straight Davis Cup singles win.

“It’s a nice number,” he said of his seven-match streak. “My first Davis Cup matches were not easy. I played as an outsider all the time, I was losing a lot. Now when I can see this stat, it’s just pleasing me… I will try to keep this streak going as far as I can.”

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