Report Card: Team Serbia shines in Davis Cup victory over Canada
Team Serbia: A. Novak Djokovic did the heavy lifting for Team Serbia, flying back from New York after a tough loss in the U.S. Open final to play two singles matches in three days on indoor clay, including a straight-set, 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-2, win over Milos Raonic on Sunday. But it was Janko Tipsarevic who stepped up this weekend, shedding his disappointing 2013 season to play two of his best matches of the year. He forced Raonic to work hard over five sets and held a match point before losing 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 in his first match, and then clinched the tie on Sunday with a 7-6 (3), 6-2 ,7-6 (6) win over Vasek Posipisil on Sunday, putting the Serbs into the final for the first time since they won the title in 2010.
Team Canada: A. The Canadians were a big underdog against Serbia, but they put themselves in the best position to pull off the upset, thanks to a huge doubles win by Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil on Saturday, beating Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-7 (6), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 10-8 to take a 2-1 lead into the final day. Raonic couldn't do much to bother Djokovic, leaving it all of Canada's hopes on Pospisil to beat Tipsarevic. The young Canuck couldn't pull off a "Miracle on Clay," but the Canadians ended up being the story of the weekend. They acquitted themselves well in their first Davis Cup semifinal, proving this year that they truly belong in the World Group.
Team Czech Republic: A. As expected, it was an easy stroll for the defending champions, who rolled over a weak Argentine team, winning the first three rubbers to clinch the tie after the doubles. They'll go on the road to Serbia to defend their title in November. Oh, and Radek Stepanek's lucky "liger" shirt was back"
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Stanislas Wawrinka: A-plus. 2014 is shaping up to be a fantastic Davis Cup year after Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Wawrinka almost single-handedly ensured their teams would be in the World Group next year. Nadal, Murray and Wawrinka all played both singles and doubles for their countries, with Murray having a hand in all three points in Great Britain's win over Croatia. As a result, Serbia, Spain, Great Britain and Switzerland will be in the World Group together for the first time since Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Roger Federer took control of the ATP Tour. If all four men commit to the competition next year -- Federer is really the only question mark here -- next year could yield some awesome ties.
Team Belgium: A. Big result for the little Belgian team, who overcame some bad luck even before the tie began when David Goffin broke his wrist at the end of a practice session on the Tuesday before their tie against Israel. Steve Darcis, the man who ousted Rafael Nadal in the first round of Wimbledon, was the hero, winning both his singles matches and clinching the tie with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over Amir Weintraub.
Davis Cup team photos: A-plus. The ladies always glam up for Fed Cup, and the men suit up for Davis Cup. I would be lying if I didn't confess it was one of my favorite things about both competitions. This weekend's winner goes to Team GB, who look dashing in Ted Baker:
Lucie Safarova: A. All in all, it's been a great couple of weeks for Czech tennis. Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka won the U.S. Open doubles (and Hlavackova took home the mixed title as well), the Davis Cup team is back into the final and Safarova won her first WTA title in over five years in Quebec City, defeating Marina Erakovic in straight sets. The title is Safarova's fifth overall.
Bojana Jovanovski: A. Jovanovski likes to take the scenic route, this we know. So how about this: Jovanovski missed the entry cut-off for the Tashkent Open and had to qualify for the event via the qualifying tournament. She won her two matches and was actually slotted into the draw as the No. 1 seed (the main draw was conducted after qualifying was completed) and proceeded to march her way to the title, winning seven matches in eight days. She beat Olga Govortsova 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in nearly three hours to capture the title. It's always an adventure with Jovanovski.
Genie Bouchard: B-plus. The 19-year old wasn't able to win her home tournament in Quebec City, but her second semifinal run of the year pushed her to No. 46, breaking into the top 50 for the first time in her career. Marion Bartoli: B. There was a part of me that thought Bartoli would lie low after stepping away from the game and announcing her retirement over a month ago. How naive of me. According to L'Equipe writer Carole Bouchard, Bartoli was on French television dishing some gossip: she says she dated Richard Gasquet when she was 16 years old.