The maple leaf evidently has a galvanizing — and even bolstering — impact on Canada’s No.1 Félix Auger-Aliassime.
Final week in Spain, the 22-year-old put a few of his finest tennis on show, and he simply occurred to do it at a males’s group tennis competitors that pits nation in opposition to nation.
Simply as he did on the ATP Cup in January 2022, he led the nationwide squad to its Davis Cup wins and made positive Canada punched its ticket for the Finals in November.
And to assume he wasn’t even alleged to compete!
Because it seems, his shock look supercharged the group and was a miracle treatment for his less-than-stellar season.
The previous six months have been good, however not nice, for Félix. Since his two finals di lui in February (one in every of which gave him his very first ATP title), he is been 22–1, which in all probability is not the document he’d imagined.
Regardless of his younger age, Auger-Aliassime has pocketed huge wins in any respect ranges and earned a spot within the High 10, which he ought to re-enter sooner fairly than later over the subsequent few weeks, particularly with all that additional Davis Cup confidence that got here along with his sterling victory over Carlos Alcaraz on September 16.
On Sunday, September 11, Alcaraz claimed his first Slam and took his place as the brand new World No.1. Lower than 48 hours later, he touched down in Valencia, which is only a two-hour drive from his hometown of El Palmar, to hitch the Spanish delegation at Davis Cup.
The teenager is now a world sensation, so think about the fanfare when he descended upon Spain because the newly appointed admiral of the nation’s tennis armada.
After sitting out the primary tie in opposition to Serbia to relaxation, he took on Canada within the type of veteran and underdog Félix Auger-Aliassime.
The Canadian was virtually good to start out issues off, apart from his short-lived however lethal droop within the tiebreak. Forward 3-1, he misplaced the subsequent six factors and gave Alcaraz the primary set 6-7 (3).
However Auger-Aliassime discovered a option to cease the momentum and regain his confidence and consistency. Along with his serve di lui (one in every of his two favourite weapons di lui) on level, he solely gave away the primary break level at 2-1 within the second set, after 92 minutes.
At 4-4, after a collection of dramatic rallies that thrilled followers within the stadium and at dwelling, it was as much as Félix to interrupt for the primary time within the match.
Within the third, Auger-Aliassime broke Alcaraz early on and silenced the gang. Forward 2-1, he fought off 4 break factors with the assistance of 4 aces to shut out the almost 12-minute sport.
A lot to the chagrin of the native followers, he broke once more and withstood three breaks within the eighth and remaining sport to clinch the victory.
And he did so spectacularly, enjoying tennis we have not seen from him since Canada’s win on the ATP Cup. Sure, one other group match.
That is an necessary element, because it wasn’t the primary time in his brief however sensible profession that Félix was in a position to depend on his finest assets when Canada’s honor was on the road and the courtside seats had been full of the acquainted faces of his countrymen shouting their help on each level.
And let’s not overlook that Félix made it occur with a unique companion every time.
He is turn out to be the frequent denominator in Canadian tennis.
And he wasn’t even alleged to be in Valencia. He had declined, however his early departure di lui from Flushing Meadows in all probability motivated him to get again within the combine asap.
Who is aware of what the wins may do for the remainder of his season and the remainder of his profession?
Do not forget, Félix was up in opposition to the highest participant on this planet — a No.1 who’s labored arduous to get there. Carlos Alcaraz is the person to beat proper now. Félix delivered wonderful tennis in opposition to the highest canine, on his dwelling turf, in a combat for Canada’s honor. That is main.
In accordance with Sportsnet analyst Robert Bettauer, Alcaraz vs. Auger-Aliassime is a conflict we’ll see once more: “While you watch these two gamers at this younger age and enjoying such a match, with their information already, it is not a stretch to assume this match may very well be a Grand Slam remaining someday, within the subsequent two or three years. These two are going to play one another so much, that is a assure. ”
I’ve watched a number of of Alcaraz’s matches this season, particularly throughout the North American hardcourt swing. Sufficient to admire his unimaginable expertise of him. And despite the fact that he did not play his better of him on September 16 and racked up extra unforced errors than traditional, his tennis of him was nonetheless impressed sufficient to justify his No.1 standing of him.
The match wasn’t the one spotlight of Auger-Aliassime’s Spanish marketing campaign. He joined forces with Vasek Pospisil to win the doubles battles in opposition to South Korea and Spain and hand Canada its two deciding factors.
To prime issues off, Félix’s singles showdown in opposition to Serbia on September 17 was a tennis clinic. Miomir Kecmanovic could have been 2-0 in opposition to the Quebecer coming into the match, however the Serb was totally outplayed.
That is precisely the mindset Félix wants to seek out his manner again into the High 10.
Subsequent up for him is the headline-grabbing Laver Cup from September 23 to 25.
He and Group World will battle for his or her very first win in 5 editions of the splashy match. Laver Cup is at all times a blowout and shall be much more so this yr as its founder and star Roger Federer takes his final lap.
The unstoppable Gabriela Dabrowski
Nothing will get in Gabriela Dabrowski’s manner.
The Canadian doubles specialist simply added a brand-new title — her twelfth — to her trophy case.
All in a day’s work?
Not likely. Take into account who she received with: Luisa Stefani of Brazil.
Bear in mind her?
Let’s rewind a few yr, to September 10, 2021. Dabrowski and Stefani versus Coco Gauff and Caty McNally of the US within the US Open semifinal.
The intense knee damage Stefani suffered within the first set tiebreaker introduced the bout, and the pair’s hopes, to a crashing halt.
Whereas her companion recovered, Gabriela performed on. In 2022, she teamed up with Giuliana Olmos of Mexico. After just a few first- and second-round losses in Australia and on the Arabian Peninsula, the pair discovered their rhythm, and issues actually took off: the finals in Madrid and Rome, the semis in Indian Wells, Berlin, San Jose and Toronto and the quarters in Eastbourne, Cincinnati and New York.
With Stefani again in motion, the duo reunited and picked up the crown in Chennai.
Dabrowski is presently No.10 in doubles.
12 months after yr, she’s been the spine of her groups.
Along with the wins she shares with Olmos and Stefani, she earned WTA titles with Shuko Aoyama (1) of Japan, Alicja Rosolska (1) of Poland, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain (1) and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia. She’s had probably the most success with the Yifan Xu of China. Collectively, they received 5 of the eight finals by which they competed.
And do not forget her Slams in combined doubles with Rohan Bopanna of India (Paris 2017) and Mate Pavic of Croatia (Melbourne 2018).
Remind you of anybody? A doubles king who received so much with lots of companions?
Genie’s actual comeback
After lots of hope, entries and postponements, Eugenie Bouchard lastly discovered her manner again to tennis.
No matter anybody’s expectations, her comeback is a convincing one.
On the WTA 250 Chennai Open final week, she acquired so far as the quarters. The progress di lei moved her up 382 spots within the rankings, from No.902 to No.520.
However Chennai wasn’t her first go at it. She made her preliminary comeback in mid-August on the WTA 125 Odlum Brown VanOpen in Vancouver, the place she misplaced in two fast units to No. 166 Arianne Hartono of the Netherlands (6-2, 6-2). Regardless that she was enjoying on dwelling soil, this primary look did not yield the outcomes the Canadian hoped for.
However in Chennai’s sweltering warmth, Bouchard was constant from the baseline, performed an incredible defensive sport and anticipated the ball effectively.
Her first sufferer was No. 167 Joanne Zuger of Switzerland, 7-6 (4), 6-2.
Two days later, she confronted No.359 Karman Thandi of India, who’d upset No.109 Chloé Paquet of France within the first spherical. Genie closed issues out at 6-2, 7-6 (2).
Her quarterfinal match was nice from a tennis standpoint however no enjoyable in any respect.
In opposition to No. 298 Nadia Podoroska of Argentina, who was ranked as excessive as No. 47 simply 18 months in the past, Bouchard simply received the primary 6-1 however then let her rival again within the match and finally misplaced the subsequent two units 6-4 , 6-2. Nonetheless, along with a 40-minute break as a consequence of lightning, the excessive temperatures and humidity turned out to be her actual opponent di lei, forcing her to name for a medical timeout.
Regardless of the difficult situations, Bouchard performed her doubles match afterwards, however it was so much to ask. She’d made it to the semis with Yanina Wickmayer Belgium however needed to drop out at 3-6, 1-1.
This week, Genie stored the momentum going on the WTA 250 Hana Financial institution Korea Open in Seoul. Her first-round loss di lei was an honorable one: she was toppled by 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist and World No.80 Tatjana Maria in two units, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
Twitter: @ paul6rivard
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