The aftermath of The Championships is one of the more quiet spots on the tennis calendar, as some players take well deserved breaks, both at home and abroad. But the respite was brief for those men on Davis Cup duty, who headed almost immediately to various outposts around the globe for the World Group quarter-finals, and a variety of zonal ties.
Spain will meet France and Serbia will play Argentina in this year’s Davis Cup semi-finals in September, as Spain shocked the USA in their back garden, Serbia saw off Sweden, France came through against Germany, and Argentina whitewashed Kazakhstan.
The Spanish performance was particularly impressive, despite the absence of Rafael Nadal, seeing off the USA in four rubbers on the hard courts of Austin, Andy Roddick’s home town. Feliciano Lopez outlasted Mardy Fish in an epic five-setter, David Ferrer dispatched Roddick in straight sets, and although the Bryan brothers pulled back one rubber, it was not enough, Ferrer defeating Fish in four sets to win the tie.
Down in Europe/Africa Zone Group II, the current home of the Great British Davis Cup team, Andy Murray produced an impeccable performance, including a triple bagel, to propel GB into a play-off to ascend back up into Europe/Africa Zone Group I, one rung below the World Group. Murray won two singles rubbers and the doubles, his first alongside brother Jamie Murray in front of a raucous Glasgow crowd, and was moved to tears by the experience. "I’ve known the team for a long time so it was very special to be here with them," Murray said. "The support this week has been great. It’s been packed every day. I don’t get the chance to come back to Scotland very often."
GB will face Hungary at home from 16-18 September, with the venue yet to be decided.
While Andre Agassi was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, there were also some main-tour events going on. John Isner, who skipped his brother’s wedding to take a late wild card back into competition, became only the second top seed to win the title in Newport, the first since Vijay Amritraj won the very first Newport tournament in 1976. The 6ft 9ins American saw off 5ft 6ins Olivier Rochus in a battle of little and large, the largest-ever height discrepancy in an ATP final, 6-3, 7-6(7).
“It definitely turned out to be a great decision and I owe a huge thanks to Mark Stenning for the wild card,” Isner said. “It’s the perfect start to the summer and I really feel like my best surface is the hard courts in the US so I’m going to have a lot of confidence from this.”
Over on the women’s tour, Polona Hercog became only the second female player to win her first career title this year, beating Johanna Larsson to win in Bastad, Sweden.
It was a breakthrough week for the Slovenian, who had been match point down in her second-round match against Aravane Rezai, only to pull through and go on to win the title in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5 over the Swedish No.1.
"Johanna was amazing. She was fighting until the last point," Hercog said. "It was tough with the crowd supporting her so much, but it's normal. I was ready for it. I had a feeling in myself I could win the tournament. I never spoke about it, but through all my matches this week I thought I was really getting there."
Hercog is the first Slovenian to win a WTA title in almost six years, since Katarina Srebotnik (ladies' doubles champion at Wimbledon this year), who retired from singles last year, won the Portoroz title in 2005.
In Budapest, Roberta Vinci, who had faced match points in her quarter-final, recovered from a 2-4 deficit in the third set of the final against Irina Camelia Begu. Coming through in three sets 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 it was the Italian’s third title of the year and aptly celebrated her first week as a top 25-ranked player.
"I began well, but in the second set I felt tired and the heat made things more difficult. I didn't play aggressively enough," Vinci said. "I was still tired in the third but at 4-2 down I pushed myself and told myself, 'Come on, come on'. I started to play stronger on my forehand and managed to turn things around."
That may seem like a lot for the week after a Grand Slam, but it’s only the beginning. The infamous US Open Series, a six-week swing of 10 hard court events in the run-up to the US Open in New York in September, kicks off in just a week’s time. Get ready.
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
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