Belinda Bencic, Dubai 2019

Junior number one and Wimbledon junior champion in 2013, Belinda Bencic was seen by some as the next big thing in women’s tennis. And everything went as according to plan: she reached the top 50 and the quarterfinals of the 2014 US Open, aged 17. She then went on to claim her maiden title in Eastbourne, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska, and her first Premier 5 title in Toronto, defeating Serena Williams in the semifinals and Simona Halep in the championship match.
And then? Not much, despite an entry to the top 10 in 2016. Injuries followed injuries and her ranking subsequently dropped to number 199 in 2017. Her results slowly improved and this week, ranked 45, she captured her third title, her second Premier 5. On her way to victory, she defeated 4 top 10 players: number 9 Aryna Sabalenka (saving six match points), number 2 Simona Halep, number 6 and two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina, and number 4 Kvitova in the final.
Let’s hope for her she’s definitely back on track, after all she’s only 21.

Her opponent in the final, Petra Kvitova continues her impressive comeback, two years after the assault she suffered. Winner in Sydney, runner-up at the Australian Open, she defeated Katerina Siniakova, Jennifer Brady, Viktoria Kuzmova and Hsieh Su-wei en route to her third final of the year.

Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic, Dubai 2019

Photo credit: Marianne Bevis

Nadal, Madrid 2014


The ITF announced last summer a very controversial reform of the Davis Cup. Here’s all you need to know about the new format of the competition and how to buy tickets.

The competition

18 teams will take part to the Davis Cup finals from 18 to 24 November:
– last year’s 4 semi-finalists: Croatia, France, Spain and USA
– 2 wild cards: Great Britain and Argentina
– 12 winners of the qualifiers held in February

The 18 teams will compete in a group stage of six groups of three teams. The six group winners plus the two second-best teams with the best records based on sets won or games won will qualify for the quarter-finals.

Group A: France, Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia, Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina, Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium, Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA, Italy, Canada

The draw for the quarter-finals was also made:
1. Winner Group A vs Runner-up 1 or 2
2. Winner Group D vs Winner Group F
3. Winner Group E vs Winner Group C
4. Winner Group B vs Runner-up 1 or 2

The two teams with the worst record after the group stage phase of the finals will be relegated to Zone Group action the following year. The 12 teams that finish in 5th to 16th position will compete in the qualifiers next year.

Ties contested at the finals will consist of two singles matches and one doubles match, all played on one day, in the best of three sets. Matches will be played on hard courts.

The venue

Madrid Open Center Court - Caja Magica with retractable roof

The finals will be held at the Caja Mágica, home of the Madrid Masters since 2009. Made completely from iron, wood and glass, it was designed by French architect Dominique Perrault. The name Caja Mágica (Magic box) is due to the resemblance of the sports center with actual boxes, which are dynamic and ever changing.
It houses three tennis clay courts with retractable roofs. The main court, called Manolo Santana, can host 12.500 viewers. Courts 2 – Arantxa Sanchez Vicario stadium – and 3 are equipped with 3.500 and 2.500 seats respectively.

The tickets

Tickets will be on sale from April 9 on daviscupfinals.com. Ticket Box at the venue will open on November 14.

When purchasing an individual ticket, spectators will be able to see one whole tie between two nations, on the chosen court (2 singles and one doubles).

Tickets for the Group stage, played from 18 to 21 November, vary between €25 and €60. Prices vary between €40 and €95 for the quarter-finals, €50 and €120 for the semi-finals and €60 and €150 for the final.

Children between the ages of 0 and 5 do not need to pay a ticket to access the venue, but will need to sit on their parent’s lap. Children between the ages of 6 and 8 will have a special price, as will children between the ages of 9 and 12.

Photo credit: davijeans, JC

Gael Monfils, Rotterdam 2019

In-form, in-love, focused, spectacular, former world number 6 Gael Monfils defeated Stan Wawrinka in an entertaining final 6-3 1-6 6-2. It was the first Rotterdam final between two unseeded players since 2008, when Michael Llodra defeated Robin Soderling.
Semi-finalist in Sofia last week, Monfils registered some solid wins over David Goffin and Daniil Medvedev in Rotterdam, and confirms his good start of the season with his 8th career title, his second ATP 500 after Washington in 2016.

Gaël Monfils, Rotterdam 2019

Gaël Monfils and Stan Wawrinka, Rotterdam 2019

Gaël Monfils, Rotterdam 2019

It was also a good week for Wawrinka, playing in his first final since Roland Garros 2017. The Swiss, who received a wild card, defeated Paire, Raonic, Shapovalov and Nishikori en route to the final.

Stan Wawrinka, Rotterdam 2019

The defending champion was Roger Federer, but he chose not to participate this year. The number two seed, Karen Khachanov has been ousted in the first round by young Dutch player Tallon Griekspoor.

In doubles, Jérémy Chardy and Henri Kontinen teamed up to lift the trophy, beating Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6 7-6.

Photo credit: ABN AMRO WTT Instagram

Read more:
Rotterdam 2019: Stan Wawrinka advances to the final
Rotterdam 2019: Tsitsipas ousted by Dzumhur
Rotterdam 2018: the title and the number one ranking for Federer

Stan Wawrinka, Rotterdam 2019

3-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka is back in top form: he defeated number one seed Kei Nishikori in a thrilling 3-set match to advance to the Rotterdam final. Nishikori was bidding to reach his second final of the season, following his victory in Brisbane last month.

Stan Wawrinka, Rotterdam 2019

Kei Nishikori, Rotterdam 2019

The Swiss had beaten his friend Benoît Paire and then Canadians Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov to reach the last 4. It will be his second Rotterdam final – he claimed the title here in 2015 defeating Tomas Berdych – his first final since his loss to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros 2017.

Denis Shapovalov, Rotterdam 2019

In the other semifinal Gael Monfils took his revenge over Daniil Medvedev, who had took the better of him in the semifinals of the Sofia Open last week. Like Wawrinka, Monfils will play his second Rotterdam final – he lost to Martin Klizan in 2016, and his 29th overall. The Frenchman has a terrible record, having only won 7 out of 28 finals (16 out of 28 for the Swiss).

Photo credit: Marianne Bevis

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rotterdam 2019

A few weeks ago he defeated Roger Federer in the fourth round of the Australian Open, and later advanced to the semifinals where he was ousted by Rafael Nadal:

Australian Open Tennis 2019 - Stefanos Tsitsipas def. Roger Federer

Australian Open Tennis 2019 - Stefanos Tsitsipas def. Roger Federer

Australian Open Tennis 2019 - Stefanos Tsitsipas def. Roger Federer

But today Stefanos Tsitsipas lost to world number 56 Damir Dzumhur – who had not won a match this year – in the first round of the Rotterdam tournament. Dzumhur will meet Mikhail Kukushkin for a place in the quarter-finals against Gael Monfils. The Frenchman booked his place in the last eight with a 3-set win over Andreas Seppi.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rotterdam 2019

In the other matches today, recent Sofia Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who turned 23 on Monday, defeated Jérémy Chardy, while Stan Wawrinka secured his place in the quarterfinals with a straight set win over Milos Raonic.

Daniil Medvedev, Rotterdam 2019

Stan Wawrinka, Rotterdam 2019

Photo credit: Andrew Robertson, Marianne Bevis

Read more:
Rotterdam 2018: the title and the number one ranking for Roger Federer
Rotterdam 2017: lucky 13 for Tsonga