Shakira Gives Epic Performance at the Davis Cup Finals

Shakira has aced her latest performance…

The 42-year-old Colombian superstar, who’ll be performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside Jennifer Lopez, delivered an epic performance on Sunday at the Davis Cup Finals closing ceremony in Madrid.

Shakira

Shakira kicked off her three-song medley with “She Wolf,” joining an all-female dance group to further prove that her hips don’t lie. Her on-point dance moves then transitioned to the feel-good “Tutu” melody, where she was joined by Colombian singer Camilo and Puerto Rican Latin Grammy winner Pedro Capó for the first-ever live performance of “Tutu (Remix).” Shak’s nearly 10-minute set came to an end with her party-starting dance track “Dare (La La La)” for which she once again flaunted her killer dance moves on stage.  

“So fun to perform today!!!” she later expressed on Instagram. “Thanks to the wonderful team that worked so hard and made this performance happen today!”

The Davis Cup is a tournament between national teams in men’s tennis. Spain won the 2019 title, defeating Canada in the final 2-0. 

Rafael Nadal Leads Spain to Davis Cup Title Over Canada

Rafael Nadalhas helped Spain win big…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, ranked No. 1 in the world, risked injury by playing eight matches — five singles, three doubles — in six days at the Davis Cup Finals, the new World Cup of tennis.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal won all of them, leading Spain to its sixth Davis Cup title after a 2-0 win over first-time finalist Canada on Sunday.

But in Nadal’s view, the only hero for Spain was grieving teammate Roberto Bautista Agut. He sent Spain on its way to victory by winning the first singles match on Sunday, three days after the death of his father.

“I’ve won the eight matches but the person who was vital in this Davis Cup was Roberto,” Nadal said. “For me, what he did was something almost inhuman. I don’t know how to explain it. It will be an example for the rest of my life. He had to leave, then his dad died, then he came back and practiced with us yesterday, and today he was ready again to play at a very high level. It was something incredible.”

Spain Davis Cup

Before Nadal defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (7) to clinch the title — Spain’s first since also winning at home in 2011 — Bautista Agut had given Spain a 1-0 lead by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime7-6 (3), 6-3.

Bautista Agut pointed his finger to the sky after winning the final point in his match, and was in tears while speaking briefly to the crowd, which chanted his name. And he was the Spanish player lifting the cup in the title celebrations.

Bautista Agut’s father died on Thursday — a day after his son had defeated Nikola Mektic of Croatia — with his health deteriorating quickly after an illness that stemmed from a 2016 accident.

Bautista Agut, No. 9 in the world, played as teammates Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers nursed injuries entering the final.

As for Nadal, he considered himself lucky to be able to play all matches.

“It’s true that I held up, but we know that playing so many matches in this [hard-court] surface is risky for me, something can happen at any time,” Nadal said. “That’s how it’s been in the past, but luckily I held up.”

Spain’s Granollers and Feliciano Lopezhad been scheduled to face Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisilin the now-canceled doubles match, although Nadal was likely to play if the title had been at stake. Nadal played in the decisive doubles on Friday and Saturday.

Voted the tournament’s best player, Nadal sealed the title with his 29th straight Davis Cup singles win, igniting the home crowd’s celebrations.

Tournament organizer and Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, his wife Shakira — who performed in the closing ceremony — and Spanish King Felipe VI were among those celebrating Spain’s triumph.

Spain’s other Davis Cup titles were in 2000, ’04, ’08, ’09 and ’11.

The new Davis Cup Finals is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and the Kosmos group co-founded by Pique.

Conchita Martínez Among International Tennis Hall of Fame Nominees

Conchita Martínez may be earning a spot in the Tennis Hall of Fame.

The 46-year-old Spanish former tennis player, the first Spanish player to win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, has landed on the eight-player ballot for next year’s induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Conchita Martínez 

Martínez is eligible for enshrinement in the player category next year, as announced by the ITHOF.

“This is an exciting year for the International Tennis Hall of Fame election process, with a broad-ranging group of candidates and our first ever Fan Vote. The eight candidates on the ballot come from seven nations, and have achieved tremendous results on tennis’ biggest stages – winning Grand Slam titles and Olympic medals, and topping the world rankings,” stated ITHF President Stan Smith, who also serves as Chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee.

“They’ve also each had massive impact on the sport in their home nations as trailblazers, Olympic and Fed and Davis Cup Champions, first-time Slam winners from their countries, and great ambassadors for tennis. Each has done much for the sport and I hope we’ll see their many fans turn out to vote online to support their Hall of Fame candidacy.”

In a 15-year career on the WTA Tour, Martínez won 33 singles titles and 13 doubles titles. She was the 1994 Wimbledon champion, defeating nine-time champion Martina Navratilova in the final.

She was also a finalist at the Australian Open and French Open.

Martínez reached a career high of world No. 2 and spent 190 weeks ranked inside the world’s Top 5. In addition, she was a key member of five championship Fed Cup teams and a three-time Olympic medalist in doubles.

But Martinez isn’t the only Latin player on the ballot…

Sergi Bruguera is one of the men to make the cut.

The 47-year-old Spanish former tennis player won consecutive men’s singles titles at the French Open in 1993 and 1994, a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in men’s singles and reached a career-high ranking of 3 in August 1994.

Bruguera has been selected to captain the Spain Davis Cup team in 2018

Candidates on the ballot for International Tennis Hall of Fame induction are selected from nominations submitted by the general public and tennis community. The ITHF Enshrinee Nominating Committee, which meets annually in June, then reviews all nominations and determines the ballot. The committee is comprised of 23 individuals from around the world with expertise in various areas of the sport.

The ITHF Voting Group, which consists of tennis media and Hall of Famers, then casts their votes. To be inducted, an affirmative vote of 75 percent of returned ballots is required. Votes are tallied by an independent accounting firm.

New for 2019, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has introduced a fan vote component to the process. From Aug. 27 through Oct. 7, fans around the world are able to participate in the Hall of Fame election process by voting online at vote.tennisfame.com. The top three vote getters in the Fan Vote will receive bonus percentage points added onto their result from the committee to determine their ultimate final result.

The candidate with the highest result in the Fan Vote will receive three additional percentage points, while second and third places will receive two and one additional percentage points respectively.

The results of fan voting will be announced at the conclusion of the voting period in early October. The overall results and the complete Class of 2019 will be announced in January at the Australian Open. The 2019 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 20, 2019.

Carreno Busta Defeats Nikola Mektic to Send Spain Into Davis Cup Quarterfinals

Pablo Carreno Busta has helped keep Spain alive in Davis Cup play…

The 25-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Nikola Mektic 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-4 as Spain edged depleted Croatia to reach the quarterfinals on Sunday with a 3-2 victory.

Pablo Carreno Busta

Earlier Sunday, Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Croatia’s Franko Skugor 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (6) to put Spain level at 2-2 and send the match into the deciding rubber.
Croatia won the doubles on Saturday for a surprise 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

Croatia, last year’s World Group runner-up, played with a reserve lineup as it missed its four top players — Marin Cilic, Ivo Karlovic, Borna Coric and Ivan Dodig.

Spain was without Rafael Nadal.

Spain will play Serbia in the quarterfinals which completed its 4-1 rout of Russia on Sunday.

Lopez to Replace Rafael Nadal for Spain’s Next Davis Cup Series

Feliciano Lopez is ready to rumble…

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis player will replace Rafael Nadal on Spain’s Davis Cup team.

Feliciano Lopez

Nadal decided to take time off after his Australian Open final loss to Roger Federer.

The Spanish tennis federation said Nadal has been dropped from Spain’s Davis Cup team because of fatigue following his five-set loss to Federer in Sunday’s final.

Lopez will now fill in for Nadal at next weekend’s best-of-five series at Croatia in the first round of the World Group.

The federation said the decision was made after a recommendation by doctor Angel Ruiz Cotorro, who said Nadal’s recovery time would be too short. He said it was taken into consideration that Nadal played a significant number of matches after a four-month layoff because of a wrist injury.

“Rafa’s wear and tear in the last month was very significant,” Spain captain Conchita Martinez said. “He needs to recover from his recent efforts and certainly will be with us again in the next rounds.”

The 14-time Grand Slam champion is expected to return to action in Rotterdam from Feb. 13-19.

Nadal, ranked No. 6 in the world, helped Spain defeat India last year to secure its return to the World Group, although he missed his singles match because of the lingering wrist injury.

The other Spanish players to face Croatia are Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta and Marc Lopez.

Mayer Defeats Britain’s Dan Evans to Secure Argentina’s Spot in the Davis Cup Finals

Leonardo Mayer will return to his home country a hero…

The 29-year-old Argentine tennis player came from behind to defeat Britain’s Dan Evans 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 in the decisive fifth match to defeat defending champions Great Britain in the Davis Cup semifinals.

Leonardo Mayer

After Andy Murray beat Guido Pella 6-3 6-2 6-3 to level the tie at 2-2, it was confirmed that Argentina’s star man, Juan Martin del Potro, would sit out the final match up and be replaced by ATP world No. 114 Mayer.

“We had to keep it to ourselves until the last moment so Great Britain were thinking a little bit, but we knew from last night that Mayer would play,” said Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic.

In the absence of del Potro, who wasn’t in good enough shape to play on Sunday after wearing himself out after deciding to play in Saturday’s doubles match, it was Mayer who stepped up.

Argentina will now travel to Croatia for the Davis Cup final in November.

del Potro Upsets Andy Murray to Give Argentina a Commanding Davis Cup Semifinal Lead

Juan Martin del Potro continues to pick off tennis’ top-ranked players…

The 27-year-old Argentine tennis player ended Andy Murray‘s 14-match winning streak in the Davis Cup, coming through with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 victory in 5 hours, 7 minutes to gain a measure of revenge after losing the Olympic final to Murray last month.

Juan Martin del Potro

It was the longest match of both players’ careers.

Del Potro’s win leaves Argentina thisclose to its first Davis Cup final since 2011 after taking a 2-0 lead over defending champion Great Britain thanks to singles wins by del Potro and Guido Pella in the semifinal on Friday.

Pella beat Kyle Edmund 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, meaning the Argentines can clinch victory with a day to spare in Glasgow if they win the doubles on Saturday.

Federico Delbonis and Leonardo Mayer are scheduled to play the Murray brothers, Andy and Jamie.

Whether Andy Murray plays is open to question.

Being taken the distance against Del Potro was exactly what Murray didn’t need at the end of his long summer of tennis in which he won both the Wimbledon and Olympic titles for the second time. He looked almost out on his feet at times in an energy-sapping final set, and couldn’t handle the barrage of forehand shots by the rejuvenated Del Potro.

”I’m very proud of how I fought, I did fantastic,” Murray said. ”I fought for every point, tried as best as I could. That’s all you can do.

”It was very fine margins. That happens in tennis and sport sometimes. It could have gone either way.”

del Potro gained the crucial break in the fifth set at the third opportunity, reaching Murray’s angled volley with a forehand winner down the line to go 4-3 ahead, and he served out for the match, clinching victory with an ace and a big growl.

Murray had never previously lost a home singles match in the Davis Cup.

del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, is a force in tennis once again after returning from three wrist operations that nearly ruined his career. He’s Argentina’s top player but is ranked a lowly No. 64 on his comeback trail, meaning he had to play Murray in the opening match.

”I cannot imagine this moment in my career,” del Potro said. ”This was the type of match I was missing when I was at home.”

Argentina is playing its 11th Davis Cup semifinal in 15 years. The south American country has never won the team event, finishing runner-up in 1981, 2006, 2008, and 2011.

del Potro previously defeated Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the Olympics this summer, before losing to Murray in the final.

Soares & Jamie Murray Win Men’s Doubles Title at the US Open

It’s proving to be a banner year for Bruno Soares

The 34-year-old Brazilian tennis player and his doubles partner, Jamie Murray, have won the US Open men’s doubles title.

Bruno Soares & Jamie Murray

Soares and Murray, seeded fourth, beat Spain’s unseeded Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2 6-3.

It gives Soares and Murray a second major title after they won their first Grand Slam together at the Australian Open in January.

Soares becomes the first Brazilian to win more than one Grand Slam doubles title.

Murray and Soares went into the final in a confident mood after beating defending champions and top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the semifinals, and they outclassed surprise finalists Carreno Busta and Garcia-Lopez.

Bruno Soares & Jamie Murray

The Spaniards broke serve in the opening game but Murray and Soares levelled immediately and went on a run of seven straight games to take a grip on the contest.

There was some concern for Murray when he called the trainer to work on his neck midway through the first set, but it did not have any visible effect on his performance.

An interception volley at the net by the British Davis Cup winner earned an early break in the second set and, with Soares dictating matters from the back of the court, they left little for Carreno Busta and Garcia-Lopez to attack.

Murray had failed to serve out the match at this year’s Australian Open, but he showed no nerves this time as he wrapped up victory after only 78 minutes.

“I am glad we got together,” said Soares. “It is our first season. To win in Australia and here is extremely special.”

Muguruza Defeats Caroline Wozniacki to Reach the Wimbledon Quarterfinals

It’s a little splendor in the grass for Garbine Muguruza

The 21-year-old Venezuelan-Spanish professional tennis player upset former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round at Wimbledon, reaching the last-eight at the prestigious All-England Club for the first time in her career.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, seeded No. 20, defeated No. 5 seed Wozniacki in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

Both players had opportunities in a tight opening set, but it was Muguruza that took hers, claiming the solitary break when the Dane framed a forehand beyond the baseline. Despite a lapse in concentration at the start of the second, Muguruza displayed her growing maturity by wrestling back the momentum, producing a brilliant game – including one inspired backhand lob – to break for a 5-4 lead, then holding her nerve to serve out the match in a fraught final game.

“It means a lot because I haven’t played a lot matches on grass, so I didn’t know how to prepare for Wimbledon,” Muguruza said. “I think it’s like the third time I play here. So for me was something new. That’s why it’s special.

With the win, Muguruza becomes the first Spanish woman to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since Conchita Martinez – who was announced as the new Spanish Davis Cup captain on Monday – in 2001.

Muguruza’s victory means it’s guaranteed that the Wimbledon ladies’ finalist from the bottom half of the draw will be ranked outside the top 10.

Muguruza next faces Swiss No. 15 seed Timea Bacsinszky after she fought back from a set down to beat Romanian Monica Niculescu 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.

The other quarterfinal match in the bottom half will be contested on Tuesday by big-serving American Madison Keys and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

Martinez Named Captain of Spain’s Davis Cup Team

Conchita Martinez is ready to lead Spain’s men to victory…

Spain has named the 43-year-old Spanish former tennis star, a former Wimbledon champion, captain of its Davis Cup team.

Conchita Martinez

Martinez, the winner of 33 WTA titles during her illustrious career, replaces fired predecessor Gala Leon amid a shake-up for the tennis federation that included the government’s removing former president Jose Luis Escanuela after Rafael Nadal and several other players criticized his management style.

Martinez, already captain of Spain’s Fed Cup team, will lead the Davis Cup side until the end of year.

Martinez, who retired in April 2006, will be at the helm when Spain battles Russia on July 17.

Leon, who became Spain’s first female Davis Cup captain last year, never oversaw a match. Nadal’s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, criticized her appointment for what he called her lack of knowledge of the men’s game.