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    Elias  Laradi
    MEMPHIS, February 12, 2017 (by Elias Laradi)
    Peter Polansky of Canada, the top seed in the qualifying of the Memphis Open, got his tournament started on Saturday with a solid straightforward win over Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-3, 6-3.
    It was a tight match for the first six games, then Polansky took the advantage after facing a break point, and then had chances of his own to break in the next game and took it to lead 4-3. He cruised from there to take the first set 6-3. The second set was mostly dominated by the Canadian hitting crazy passing shots frustrating his Indian opponent. Polansky broke in the fifth game and from there it was one-way traffic. After the match Polansky was happy with his first encounter.
    “It was a tricky match playing a doubles player, a lefty pretty crafty came out swinging. It’s a good first round in qualifying to get through and looking forward to my next match tomorrow,” the 28-year-old Canadian told.
    In other action, Tommy Paul lost to Matthew Barton in a tight third set battle 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in what was the match of the day. Benjamin Becker, who is playing his seventh Memphis tournament, got through Nikola Mektic 6-3, 6-3. Becker was happy with his first win of 2017.
    “It’s good to get the win. I didn’t play a lot this year trying to get my rhythm back, old habits today was a little better and a good step in the right direction,” Becker told Tennis TourTalk after his match. The German veteran opened his season with a loss in the first round of the qualifying to the Australian Open and also fell in the opening round of the ATP Challenger in Dallas last week.
    Becker will next play Tim Smyczek, who beat fellow US-American and doubles player Scott Lipsky playing a rare singles matches, but couldn’t keep up final score 6-2, 6-3. Another US-American fell out of the tournament when Denis Kudla lost to Matthew Ebden in another three set match 7-6, 1-6, 6-1. Ebden was relieved to get through his match.
    “Dennis and I, we played a lot of matches especially in some finals. It was another tough match for both him and me, as we are good friends,” Kudla said.
    Brian Baker, another US-American who was coming back from an injury plagued season, got past Elias Ymer of Sweden 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes. Baker was happy to be back in Memphis
    “It’s great to be back. Any chance you get to play a pro match in the state of Tennessee is a win. I have been struggling with injuries but I am getting better with each win. It is always good to get a quality win over a good opponent,” Baker was pleased.
    Darian King of Barbados beat University of Memphis student Andrew Watson 6-2, 6-3 andTatsuma Ito of Japan defeated Ireland James McGee 4-6, 7-6, 6-1. The final round of qualifying takes place on Sunday with the field cut in half its down to the final eight with only four spots in the main draw.

    Elias  Laradi
    Sunday at the Memphis open it was the 2nd and final round of qualifying matches. With 4 matches and 8 players fighting for 4 spots in the draw it was a great day of tennis on a rainy day in Memphis.
            The day of action started off with a shock as Benjamin Becker pulled out of his match vs Tim Smyczek with a neck injury. Peter Polansky was the 2nd player qualified for the main draw as he cruised past Matthew Barton 6-2, 6-1. After the match the Canadian was happy with the result “ it feels good to qualify for the 1st time this year after qualifying last year in Indian Wells happy to be in the main draw playing on these courts looking forward to my next match’. In other action Matthew Ebden got past local boy Brian Baker 6-2,6-4 and Darian King went through after Tatsuma Ito retired in the second set. King was up 6-1, 3-0 when Ito pulled out of the match.
            Main draw action begins on Monday with some great matches to get the tournament rolling as Kevin Anderson looks to start 2017 on a high as he faces Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia. Day 1 of main draw also features 3 Americans as Donald Young plays Adrian Mannarino of France and we have the all American battle between Reilly Opelka and Jared Donaldson. Stay tuned for more recaps and updates from the city of Rock and Roll.

    Elias  Laradi

    Memphis Open Preview

    By Elias Laradi, in Tennis,

    Memphis Open Preview
             This week on the ATP Tour we turn our attention to the Memphis Open at the Racquet club of Memphis. This ATP 250 is a great tournament for players who are looking to turn there season around if they had a bad start to 2017. The tournament main draw is stacked with talent and its shaping out to be a great tournament and week in Memphis.
             Ivo Karlovic is the top seed this week after having an impressive 2016 where he literally worked his way from the bottom and shot his way up the rankings to be in the top 20. There is a lot of American content with 9 Americans in the draw.  The top seeded American is John Isner who is reeling off a 2nd round upset to Mischa Zverev in the Australian Open.
             The draw was made last night and we already have some amazing matchups. We have an all American matchup in the 1st round of Jared Donaldson vs Reily Opelka.  Jared who is starting to make his name on the World Tour could have a chance at going far if he is able to get past his 7ft compatriot. Qualies begin today with 4 spots in the main draw up for grabs

    Elias  Laradi
    On day 3 of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Canada and Great Britain the Brits were looking to close the deal up 2-1 after the doubles win. Canada was looking to advance to the quarterfinals and it would take 2 wins to get there.
    The first match of the reverse singles was between Canada Vasek Pospisil and Britain Daniel Evans.  Great Britain got the better start to the match when Evans got an early break in the 1stset to lead 2-1. Vasek made a comeback and got the break back to get the set back on serve at 3-3.  The set would eventually be decided by a tiebreaker which Vasek got the advantage and got the break to lead 4-2 in the break and Canada won the breaker 7-3. The thought of a comeback looked probable as Vasek continued his good play into the 2nd set and it was his turn to get the early break to lead 2-1. Evans would reply in breaking back in the next game to level it back at 2-2. Canada and Great Britain would continue trading breaks but Vasek looked the better of the 2 players and took the set 6-4.
    Canada continued its dominant play into the 3rd set when once again it got another break and Vasek would go up 3-1. Then Evans picked up his game and won 5 straight games to take the 3rd 6-3. Evans got another break early in the 4th set but Canada would reply to get it back on serve at 3-3. Once again we headed to another tiebreaker where Vasek once again was the better player and he finally took the breaker 7-5 and with that the match final score 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 and the tie was level at 2-2 and the tie would be decided by a 5th rubber.
    The 5th rubber would be between Denis Shapovalov and Kyle Edmund. Once again inexperienced showed in Shapovalov game who was only playing his 3rd Davis cup rubber. Edmund would get an early break and would serve for the 1st set at 5-3. He would take the set 6-3. Almost the same story for the 2nd set as Shapovalov kept making crazy shots that turned into a lot of unforced errors. Once again Edmund got the break at right time at 5-4 and would take the 2nd 6-4. The 3rd set was a complete disaster for Canada. After getting broken in the 3rdgame Shapovalov hit the ball in frustration and anger and somehow hit the umpire Arnaud Gabas in the face with the ball. Canada was disqualified and lost the tie as Great Britain will now play France and a shocking ending to a weekend.
     
    “I would just like to begin with apologizing to the referee, and to all ITF officials,” 17-year-old Shapovalov said in his official statement following the match. “I went back and spoke to the referee after and apologized right to him. Luckily he was okay, but obviously it was unacceptable behaviour from me and to be honest I feel just incredibly ashamed and embarrassed. I just feel awful for letting my team down, letting my country down, for acting in a way that I would never want to act. I can promise that it’s the last time I will do anything like that. I’ve learned from this and am going to try and move past it. I was very lucky the referee was okay, but this is unacceptable for me.”
    Canadian Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau stood behind his selection and gave his thoughts on the sudden turn of events.
    “It was just a lesson that he will take from this and move forward,” he said. “He’s a kid as you see, he wants to face the music, and he’s not going to shy away. He’s got some great talent and it’s just the beginning of his career. He’ll draw a big lesson from this. It’s a tough sport; you can’t compete if you don’t have emotional control and this lesson could serve him for the rest of his career, but there’s a lot of things you can take from this. Hopefully he’s able to move forward stronger from this.”
    Canada, ranked No. 12, will compete in the World Group play-offs slated for September 15-17, 2017 in order to try and maintain their position in the upper echelon of Davis Cup play.

    Elias  Laradi
    Inglot And Murray Win Doubles To Give Great Britain The Lead In Ottawa
    Great Britain takes a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup with a win in the doubles. The British duo ofDominic Inglot and Jamie Murray overcame Canada’s Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor.
    The first set was a tight affair as both teams were holding serve fairly comfortably. The 1st break point opportunity came for Great Britain at 3-4 but Canada was able to save it. The next chance was for Canada as they actually had a set point at 5-6 but Great Britain saved it to force a 1st set tie breaker. It was a totally one-sided tiebreaker as Great Britain dominated and jumped out to a 4-1 lead. They would go on to take the set.
    Canada got off to a great start in the second set breaking the Brits in the first game. They held the one break lead till 4-3 when Britain had 3 chances to get the break back and go back on serve and they converted and the match was tied 4-4. Once again the match ended up in the tiebreaker but this time the Canadians jumped out to a 3-0 lead and would go on to win the breaker 6-3 to even the match at one set a piece.
    The third set was super tight as both teams played well to hold their serves. At 4 all in the set Great Britain had a break opportunity but Canada saved both break points and once again we ended up in another tiebreaker. Once again it was the Brits who got the advantage when Vasek Pospisil doubled faulted on the 1st point and Great Britain took advantage of it to take a 4-0 lead. Once again another one sided tiebreaker as Great Britain took a 2 sets to 1 lead with 7-3 tiebreak win.
    Into the fourth set and Great Britain was looking to finish Canada off. They got the opportunity and broke to lead 4-2 in the set. From there they finished off the match with a flourish to take a 2-1 lead in the tie with a 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 win.
    “It was a 50-50 match going into it. We knew it would be close, because everyone knows how to play doubles. So we’re pleased to give the guys two bites at the cherry tomorrow. I think we did a great job. We stayed strong in important tie-breaks. Tight margins,” Murray told.
    Sunday is the crucial reverse singles and Great Britain needs one more win to clinch the tie.
    “Everybody wants to be 2-1 after Saturday but all in all we need to stick with the process,” Canadian team captain Martin Laurendeau said. “We’re still alive going into tomorrow and we’re just preparing for one match at a time. We will evaluate and regenerate everyone the best we can tonight and then re-evaluate where everybody stands tomorrow and just take care of that match and prepare the best we can prepare. We’ll just take it one match at a time. ”  

    Elias  Laradi
    OTTAWA, February 4, 2017
    The Canadian Davis Cup team sits tied with Great Britain 1-1 following the opening day of action at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie at TD Place in Ottawa. Great Britain’s top player, Daniel Evans, secured the first victory of the day on Friday, defeating Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, Ont.) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 before Canada’s No. 1 player,Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver), overcame Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3).
    World No. 45 Evans unhinged Shapovalov in one hour and 50 minutes, breaking the 17-year-old Canadian four times in the three-setter to give Great Britain the early lead. While Shapovalov flaunted his powerful serve, firing 13 aces to Evans’ three, young nerves seemed to have contributed to his 39 unforced errors on the scoresheet.
    “Just [Evans’] confidence alone, those points at deuce, those break points. He knows he’s got them, he knows what to do,” Shapovalov said in the post-match press conference. “I think I played the right way, my strategy was right. I felt like I was right there with him. It was very close and I had my chances but he played the big points better. That’s tennis, I’ve got to move on from it.”
    But Shapovalov has shifted his focus to the matches ahead, and kept the bigger picture in perspective.
    “I’m playing for my country first of all, and myself second so I’m going to give it all I have every single match I play, so that was that. The match is over and I did everything I could. Now I’m getting ready for Sunday.”
    In the second match of the day, Pospisil turned things around for Canada. He dominated Great Britain’s No. 2 player Kyle Edmund and closed out the second match of the day in just over two hours. The 22-year-old Brit challenged Pospisil in the third set, forcing a tiebreak, but a strong performance from the Vancouver resident at the net and the support of a roaring crowd helped him capture the win. Pospisil won 86 per cent of first serve points, and didn’t allow Edmund a single break from four opportunities throughout the contest.
    “I’ve been struggling of late to get some momentum and rhythm in matches and confidence. It’s been a bit frustrating but I’ve been trying to stay patient and I knew that it was going to click at some point. This is a bit of a turning point for me, and Davis Cup is a good platform for me to get some confidence and momentum,” Pospisil said after the match. “I enjoy playing in front of a home crowd, and for my team and country. Whether it’s that’s little bit of adrenaline to get me out of a slump, I don’t know but I’m definitely thrilled with the way I played.”
    .
    “This court suits Vasek really well,” said Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau. “It forces him to play a certain way and it exposes his strengths tremendously. I had full confidence in Vasek going in. The set-up is perfect for him – Davis Cup and especially the crowd.”
    The crowd in question, which was the largest-ever attended Davis Cup day hosted in Canada, clocked in at 6,962 and provided constant energy and support throughout the day’s action.
    Play picks back up on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET with the doubles match, scheduled to feature Canadians Daniel Nestor (Toronto) and Pospisil against Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot. The team captains have until one hour before the match to change their nominations. The tie will conclude on Sunday with the two reverse singles matches, scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET. All matches will be best-of-five sets, with the exception of Sunday’s matches if the tie has already been decided.

    Elias  Laradi
    This past weekend Canada was playing its 1st round in Davis cup world group action. They were drawn to face Great Britain the 2nd ranked country in the world.  Canada knew they were in tough against a country that had won Davis cup 2 years prior. “There number 2 in the world for a reason they have the number 1 player in singles and doubles so it will be very tough for us” said Martin Laurendeau the Davis cup captain for Team Canada.  

              Everyone was expecting a matchup between world number 1 Andy Murray and world number 3 Milos Raonic as both pulled out after Roanic reinjured his Adductor muscle at the Australian open and Murray pulled out after being upset by Mischa Zverev in the 3rd round. Canada decided to replace Raonic with Peter Polansky an experienced Davis cup player who had a good start to 2017.

              The weekend was set Great Britain had selected their team which comprised of Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans, Jamie Murray, and Dominic Inglot. Canada countered with Vasek Pospisil, Daniel Nestor who was playing his 50th tie, Peter Polansky and new comer 17 year old Dennis Shapavalov.  It was Shapavalov 2nd tie after playing the world group playoff vs Chile this past September.

              The draw was made and that matchups would feature Dennis Shapavalov in the 1st match vs Dan Evans, Vasek Pospisil vs Kyle Edmund and in Doubles Murray and Inglot vs Pospisil and Nestor.


    Elias  Laradi
    Shamasdin Marray fall to Lipsky Fleming in Stockholm

             This afternoon the doubles pairing of Canadian Adil Shamasdin and Brit Jonathan Marray lost in the 1st round of the Stockholm Open to the American British pairing of Scott Lipsky and Colin Fleming 3-6 6-1 and 10-5 in the 3rd set match tiebreaker.

             The Canadian British pair got off to a fast start breaking early in the 1st set. The American British pairing seemed to get off to a slow start as they had issues coordinating balls. They only needed 1 break to win the 1st set 6-4

             The 2nd set was a completely different story as Lipsky and Fleming woke up and ran away with the 2nd set 6-1 breaking as often as they could and it was Shamasdin and Marray turn to struggle. The duo made a lot of mistakes especially at the net.

             The match would be decided on a match tiebreaker where Lipsky and Fleming continued their dominance from the 2nd set and Marray made a lot of mistakes that cost them the match.

             After the match Adil spoke about the match and his experience in Stockholm. “ It was a tough and tricky match we started well breaking these guys early felt good but then they settled down and we made bad decisions which cost us the match”. He seemed positive throughout the match “ They played better and our level dropped “


    Elias  Laradi

    IF Stockholm

    By Elias Laradi, in Tennis,

    If Stockholm Open Preview

             This week we are reporting from the If Stockholm Open in Stockholm Sweden.

    This is the beginning of the indoor season in Europe and with 3 weeks left on the ATP tour the action is heating up with players trying to qualify for the prestigious ATP World Tour Final in London.

             This week we focus our attention on doubles as Canadian singles players take a week off. Adil Shamasdin has partnered with Jonathan Marray of Great Britain. The team has been drawn in the middle of the draw not being seeded and will begin with there first match against the team of Colin Fleming and Scott Lipsky.

             The 1st match will be Tuesday afternoon on Court 1.


    Elias  Laradi

    Winston Salem Preview

    By Elias Laradi, in Tennis,

    Winston Salem Open Preview

     

             After an amazing tournament at the Rio Olympics we have a reached a point in the US hardcourt season where players are preparing for the Us Open.

             This week is the Winston Salem open at Wake Forest University.  This tournament is a great chance to see some great tennis before the US Open starts next week in Flushing Meadows NY.

    Most players will be taking the week off to recuperate from the heavy schedule but the field is still pretty strong.  For the Canadian content Milos Raonic will not be in action due to his long run at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati but we will see Daniel Nestor in action in the doubles draw. He started the year partnering with Radek Stepanek but has been playing the last couple tournaments with fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

             Roberto Bautista Agut the latest wild card entry is one of the top seeds and a favorite to win the title. Another popular player is Steve Johnson coming off a bronze medal in Rio in men’s doubles with partner Jack Sock. The newly crowned number 1 American tennis player is having an amazing summer with amazing wins over top players.

             It’s shaping out to be a great week in South Carolina check back for updates recaps and blogs from the last tournament on the men’s schedule before the final grand slam.


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