Leylah Fernandez Helps Lead Canada to Country’s First-Ever Billie Jean King Cup Title

Leylah Fernandez has helped Canada make history…

The 21-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player and her compatriot Marina Stakusic won their singles matches as Canada beat Italy 2-0 to claim its first-ever Billie Jean King Cup title on Sunday.

Leylah FernandezStakusic, ranked 258th in the world, put Canada ahead by defeating No. 43 Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-3 for the biggest win of her career, then Fernandez sealed the victory by beating Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-3 at La Cartuja Stadium.

The 20th-ranked Fernandez, runner-up in the 2021 US Open, was perfect for Canada in Seville with four victories, while the 18-year-old Stakusic entered the tournament without a win over a top-100 opponent but earned three of them while representing her nation in Spain.

“I’m so happy and honored that I could play this week,” Stakusic, who didn’t play a WTA main draw match this year, said on court. “This has been the best week of my life.”

Canada defeated 11-time champion Czech Republic in the semifinals, while four-time champion Italy advanced past Slovenia for its first final appearance since 2013.

The 12-team BJK Cup Finals offered a record total of $9.6 million in prize money, including $2.4 million to the champions, the same as the men’s Davis Cup.

Canada, captained by Heidi El Tabakh, is the 13th nation to win the Billie Jean King Cup and the second new champion after Switzerland‘s triumph in Glasgow a year ago.

“I don’t know what to say,” El Tabakh said. “I’m so proud of this team. These girls are incredible. It’s a dream come true.”

The Canada men’s team is the current Davis Cup champion.

The women’s teams competed in four round-robin groups, with the winners advancing to the semifinals. The United States was eliminated by the Czech Republic in a group that also included title-holder Switzerland.

The biggest team competition in women’s tennis started two days after the end of the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, which featured the top eight players on the tour — including winner Iga Swiatek.

Leylah Fernandez Leads Canada to Maiden Billie Jean King Cup Finals

Leylah Fernandez has pulled off two big upsets to help lead Canada into a historic first appearance in the Billie Jean King Cup finals.

The 21-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player pulled off gripping upset wins in singles and doubles at the Billie Jean King Cup in Seville, Spain on Saturday.

Leylah Fernandez Behind Fernandez’s two victories, Canada stunned 11-time champion Czech Republic 2-1 in Saturday’s semifinals. Canada, whose lone previous trip to the event’s semifinals was in 1988, will take on Italy for their first Billie Jean King Cup title on Sunday.

Four-time titlist Italy reached the championship match of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals for the first time in exactly a decade after Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini picked up singles wins at the prestigious team event earlier on Saturday.

Canada had to battle back from a match down to reach the milestone. 2021 Roland Garros singles champion Barbora Krejcikova started the semifinal tie with a 6-2, 6-1 win over rising 18-year-old Marina Stakusic, who was facing a Top 10 player for the first time in her career.

However, Fernandez leveled the tie at 1-1 by upsetting reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Vondrousova had won her last 11 Billie Jean King Cup singles matches in straight sets — including a win over Fernandez in 2019 — but the Canadian ended that streak.

Fernandez earned the fifth Top 10 win of her career with the victory — and her first Top 10 win since she beat three Top 5 players en route to the 2021 US Open final. Fernandez had gone 0-7 against Top 10 players between the 2021 US Open and Saturday’s win.

Shortly thereafter, Fernandez returned to court, where she paired with reigning US Open doubles champion Gabriela Dabrowski to face the seven-time Grand Slam-winning duo of Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, with a trip to the final in the balance.

In the first set of the doubles match, there were no break points for either team until 5-5, where the Canadians broke through after Siniakova double faulted on deciding point. Dabrowski then held serve at love to squeak out the opening set.

The second set was even closer and went down to the tiebreak, where Fernandez slammed a backhand winner down the line to earn the first mini-break at 3-2. The Canadians never relinquished that advantage, holding on for a 7-5, 7-6(3) win and booking a historic spot in the final.

Sebastián Yatra to Take Part in Star-on-Star Interview with Lasso During Billboard Latin Music Week

Sebastián Yatra is preparing for a special star moment…

The 28-year-old Colombian hitmaker will take part in a star-on-star interview at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Week.

Sebastián Yatra Yatra, who has been pushing the boundaries of Latin pop, will be interviewed by by Lasso. The live Q&A will take place on Tuesday, October 3 at the Faena Forum Main Stage at 11:45 am ET.

In his upcoming interview with the Venezuelan singer/songwriter, the two South American artists will discuss Yatra’s creative process, his foray into the film industry, and how a multi-hyphenate artist manages success in a highly demanding Latin pop world. Topics will range from what inspires him and sparks curiosity, planning vs. flowing, mental health, tennis, and the power of one’s voice. The “Tacones Rojos” singer will also reveal what’s next for him.

Yatra continues his skyward ascent this year. Amid releasing a string of viral singles like “Vagabundo” with Manuel Turizo and Beéle and his latest solo hit “Energía Bacana,” Yatra was selected as the official musical opener for the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament.

He also received 2023 RIAA Honors for “driving the rise across American music, culture and society,” alongside global icon Gloria Estefan.

Currently, the Medellín artist is in the running for two 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards: Latin Pop Artist of the Year, Solo and Latin Pop Song of the Year for “Una Noche Sin Pensar.” Last year, Yatra achieved a No. 36 slot on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 for “Dos Oruguitas” from Disney’s Encanto and has positioned himself multiple times on Billboard’s Global charts.

In 2022, the moderator and Yatra collaborated on the pop-rock ballad “Ojos Marrones.” Lasso’s “Ojos Marrones” is nominated for three Latin Grammys: record of the year, song of the year, and best pop/rock song. The song also became the Venezuelan artist’s first entry into the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. US charts.

Joao Fonseca Claims U.S. Open Boys Singles Title

Joao Fonseca is a Grand Slam junior champion…

The 17-year-old Brazilian tennis player, the tournament’s No. 7 seed, won the boys division title at the US Open by beating Learner Tien 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Joao FonsecaTien, a 17-year-old American who was seeded No. 11, lost to 2022 US Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe in straight sets in the first round of the men’s tournament.

Fonseca previously reached the boys doubles final at the 2023 Australian Open with partner Alexander Blockx, losing to Tien and Cooper Williams 4-6, 4-6.

Fonseca, the ninth South American to reach the boys final, is the sixth to lift the champion trophy.

Sebastian Baez Upsets Borna Coric (Again!) to Reach Second Round of US Open

Sebastian Baez has notched a second consecutive win against Borna Coric.

The 22-year-old Argentine professional tennis player defeated Coric, the No 27 seed, 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Sebastian Baez,

Just days ago, Baez and Coric played an epic three-set match in the semifinals of the Winston-Salem Open, with the Argentinian claiming the match in three hours, 19 minutes by way of third set tiebreak.

Baez went on to win the title, his second in a row.

Now, meeting for the second time in three days, Baez has yet again upset his higher ranked opponent, this time going about his business seamlessly to keep his 11-match win-streak alive.

After two tight sets, which again saw Baez go up breaks and fail to hold on to his leads, the world No 32 ran away with the third set, 6-1.

Baez will play Brazilian qualifier Felipe Meligeni Alves next.

Rebeka Masarova Upsets Maria Sakkari in US Open First Round to Earn First Win Against Top 10 Player

Rebeka Masarova is celebrating an important win…

The 24-year-old Swiss-born Spanish tennis player picked up her first Top 10 win with a 6-4, 6-4 upset victory over Maria Sakkari in the first round of the US Open on Monday.

Rebeka Masarova

Masarova, ranked No. 71 in the world, had previously been 0-4 against Top 10 opponents, but took her chances by converting all three break points created to dispatch the No. 8 seed after 87 minutes.

The last time Masarova won an outdoor hard-court match in the main draw of a tour-level event? January 7, when she beat Ysaline Bonaventure to make her maiden WTA final in Auckland. Masarova’s US Open preparation saw her fall in the first round of Cincinnati qualifying before picking up a pair of wins at the WTA 125 in Chicago.

For Sakkari, her 2023 at the majors ends with three straight opening-round exits. One could understand her Roland Garros departure at the hands of eventual finalist Karolina Muchova, who had also won their encounter at the Paris major a year earlier. The same can’t be said for Wimbledon, where she bageled Marta Kostyuk in the first set only to lose 7-5 in a decider. Worth reminding that like Masarova, Kostyuk had never beaten a Top 10 opponent with a 0-14 mark going into that encounter.

Sakkari came into Flushing Meadows at No. 13 in the Race to the WTA Finals. A year after a run to the WTA 1000 Guadalajara title match clinched the final berth to the season finale (held in Fort Worth, Texas), the former world No. 3 will need an even bigger fourth quarter boost to get back to the prestigious year-end event.

Sebastian Baez Defeats Jiri Lehecka to Claim Winston-Salem Open Title

Sebastian Baez’s winning streak continues…

The 22-year-old Argentine tennis player produced a squeaky clean performance Saturday to win the Winston-Salem Open and extend his winning streak to 10 matches after also claiming the ATP 250 event in Kitzbühel three weeks ago.

Sebastian Baez Baez, the tournament’s sixth seed, needed just one hour, 34 minutes to defeat fifth seed Jiri Lehecka 6-4, 6-3 and capture his first tour-level title on hard courts and third trophy of the season.

He’s now the first Argentine to win three titles in a season since Juan Martin del Potro (4) in 2013.

Despite a marathon three-hour, 19-minute semifinal against Borna Coric on Friday night, Baez showed no signs of fatigue as he stayed patient in baseline rallies and struck the ball cleanly. Lehecka, who was competing in his first tour-level final, advanced to the title match after receiving a walkover from third seed Sebastian Korda, who suffered an ankle injury in the quarterfinals.

A pivotal moment came when Baez saved four break points when serving at 5-4 to close a 54-minute opening set. Baez stayed focussed despite trailing by a break early in both sets and won four consecutive games from 0-2 in the second.

Sebastian Baez “[My coach told me] to keep going, try and stay focused on good things,” Baez said. “It was just a bad start, but happy with the result and all of this week.”

Lehecka tried to move forward in the latter stages of the match to apply pressure on the World No. 42, but lacked the consistency needed to down a watertight Baez, who thrilled the crowd with several passing shots to improve to 2-0 in his ATPHead2Head series with the Czech.

Following his triumph, Baez will move to No. 32 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, just two spots shy of tying his career-high. He’ll next aim to maintain his form at the US Open, where he opens against 25th seed Coric.

“It’s nice to have that confidence, but now I have to think about my recovery after this week, and then after I will think about the US Open,” Baez said. “I have a few days to recover and to focus again on a new tournament.”

Carlos Alcaraz Remains No. 1 in ATP Rankings with Wimbledon Victory

Carlos Alcaraz is still No. 1…

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis player retained the No. 1 slot in the ATP rankings Monday by virtue of his victory over No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

Carlos Alcaraz,Alcaraz’s 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 defeat of Djokovic on Sunday marked the third time in the past four major tournaments that the men’s title match determined who would be at No. 1.

At last September’s US Open, Alcaraz became the first teenager to lead the ATP by beating Casper Ruud in the final. At January’s Australian Open, it was Djokovic — who has spent more weeks atop the rankings than anyone in tennis history — who assured himself of being at No. 1 by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz and Djokovic, 36, from Serbia, have been trading the highest spot this season. Alcaraz now enters his 29th week there.

“He’s proven that he’s the best player in the world, no doubt,” said Djokovic, who had won four consecutive titles at Wimbledon and was seeking a 24th Grand Slam trophy overall.

Carlos Alcaraz to Face Novak Djokovic in His First Wimbledon Final

Carlos Alcaraz is preparing for a Wimbledon final for the ages…

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis star defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets on Friday to reach the Men’s Final, where the World No. 1 will face Novak Djokovic, who is chasing a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Carlos AlcarazThe “ultimate showdown”, as Djokovic called it, promises to be monumental in both its quality and its significance.

In addition to deciding who will claim the Wimbledon title — Djokovic is bidding for his fifth straight and eighth overall, while Alcaraz will contest his first final on Centre Court — the matchup will determine who leaves London atop the ATP Rankings.

It won’t be Alcaraz’s first rodeo in that respect: The No. 1 spot was also on the line when he beat Casper Ruud in his first major final at last year’s US Open. But a win against Djokovic, owner of a record 23 Grand Slam mens’ singles titles, might be even more significant.

“It gives you extra motivation. I think it’s more special to play a final against a legend from our sport,” Alcaraz said of the matchup. “If I win, it could be amazing for me. Not only to win a Wimbledon title but to do it against Novak would be super special.”

Alcaraz, 16 years Djokovic’s junior, is on the fast track to becoming one of the all-time greats of the sport himself. (The age gap is the third largest in a men’s major final.) Alcaraz has already proven his otherworldly talent on hard and clay courts, but this year his game has begun to sprout on the grass. Djokovic singled out his opponent’s successful adaptation on the lawns for particular praise, noting similarities to himself in that regard.

“I don’t think many people expected him to play so well [on grass] because his game is basically built and constructed and developed for clay mostly or slower hard courts. But he’s been incredibly successful in adapting to the surfaces and demands and challenges of opponents on a given day,” the Serbian said of Alcaraz.

“I see this as a great trait, as a great virtue. I see this as one of my biggest strengths throughout my career, that I was able to constantly develop, adapt, and adjust my game depending on the challenges basically. That’s what he’s doing very early on in his career.”

There is one key area where Alcaraz must evolve in order to avenge his semifinal defeat to Djokovic at Roland Garros. In Paris, the Spaniard had the wind in his sails after outplaying his opponent down the stretch of the second set. But with the match level at one-set all, Alcaraz began to suffer from cramps — an issue he blamed on nerves rather than fatigue.

Alcaraz is at his best when he’s playing with a smile on his face. But his joy was diminished by the gravity of his semi-final showdown against Djokovic — the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting at a major.

“I’ll try to pull out all nerves, try to enjoy that moment, because probably in the semi-final at the French Open I didn’t enjoy at all in the first set,” said Alcaraz, who will talk with his psychologist as part of his preparations for the final. “I’ll do something different from that match. I’ll prepare the match a little bit different from French Open. It’s going to be different for me. I hope not to get cramp during the final. I think I’ll be better on Sunday.”

While Alcaraz was the favorite in that Roland Garros matchup, he’ll face a different kind of pressure as the underdog at Wimbledon, where Djokovic is riding a 34-match winning streak. Adding to the stress is the size of the task before him: breaking down Djokovic’s watertight grass-court game.

“I have to get deep into [my tactics] because Novak has no weakness, so it’s going to be really tough to find the way to be danger for him,” the Spaniard said. “He’s a really complete player. He’s amazing. He does nothing wrong on the court. Physically he’s a beast. Mentally he’s a beast. Everything is unbelievable for him,” Alcaraz later added.

Djokovic has lost just three service games in his six Wimbledon wins this year, saving 16 of 19 break points. He had never been broken fewer than five times en route to any of his previous 34 Grand Slam finals. Alcaraz has dropped serve six times on 25 break points against.

In addition to his excellence on the court at Wimbledon, Djokovic has also proven to be quite the performer in front of the microphone this fortnight. Prior to his quarterfinal win against Andrey Rublev, he trialled a joke about his opponent’s “scary” grunts in the press room. After his win, he delivered a fine-tuned version of the line in front of the Centre Court crowd.

In that same on-court interview, the 36-year-old dropped one of the lines of the fortnight, describing the younger generation’s efforts to dethrone him at Wimbledon: “I know that they want to get a scalp, they want to win. But it ain’t happening, still,” he said with perfect comedic timing. “Very humble!”

As good as that was, Djokovic might have one-upped himself with his closing remarks in press, previewing the final.

“He’s very motivated. He’s young. He’s hungry,” he said of Alcaraz.

“I’m hungry, too, so let’s have a feast!” he added with a smile.

Daniel Elahi Galán Reaches Round of 16 for First Time at a Major Following Third Round Win at Wimbledon

Daniel Elahi Galán has made it to the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career…

The 27-year-old Colombian professional tennis player defeated Mikael Ymer 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1 at Wimbledon on Friday to reach the fourth round, his first at this major and in his career.

Daniel Elahi Galán,Galan’s previous best performances at a Grand Slam were a third round loss at the 2020 French Open and third round loss at the 2022 US Open.

As a result Galan has moved to a new career high in the top 55 in the ATP world rankings.

Galan will next face No. 8 seed Jannik Sinner at the All England Club on Sunday.