Thursday, November 25, 2021

Ex-Cal star helps Sweden romp in Davis Cup opener

Andre Goransson, left, and former University of California, Berkeley teammate Florian
Lakat play doubles in the 2015 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sweden, with former University of California, Berkeley star Andre Goransson, got off to a sizzling start in the Davis Cup Finals today.
   But there was a catch.
   The Swedes won all three matches against Canada, the runner-up to Spain in the last (2019) Davis Cup, without dropping a set in a round-robin opener in Madrid.
   The Canadians played without their top three singles competitors: No. 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 14 Denis Shapovalov and No. 70 Milos Raonic (formerly No. 3).
   Brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer won their singles matches, losing no more than four games in a set, to clinch the overall victory. Goransson (Cal, 2014-17) and 44-year-old Robert Lindstedt (Fresno State, 1995-97) then beat Vasek Pospisil, the singles runner-up in the 2017 San Francisco Challenger, and Brayden Schnur 7-6 (5), 6-4.
   Also today, 2018 champion Croatia blanked Australia 3-0 in Turin, Italy, and 2017 titlist France defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in Innsbruck, Austria.
   The United States — with John Isner, Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram — is set to open Friday against Italy, featuring No. 10 Jannik Sinner, in Turin, Italy. Both teams will be without their top singles player: No. 7 Matteo Berrettini of Italy and No. 23 Taylor Fritz.
   The top two players in the world — Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Russia's Daniil Medvedev, respectively — are scheduled to compete. But No. 3 Alexander Zverev, who won the ATP Finals last week, is not on the German team.
   The tournament consists of 18 teams in six round-robin groups competing in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck. Because of Austria's COVID lockdown, the Innsbruck matches are being played without fans.
   The group winners plus the two second-place teams with the most sets and games won will advance to the quarterfinals. Madrid will host two quarterfinals, and Turin and Innsbruck one each. The semifinals and Dec. 5 final will take place in the Spanish capital.
   ATP Challenger Tour — No. 2 seed Daniel Altmeier of Germany dispatched Govind Nanda, a 20-year-old qualifier from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Challenger.
   Altmeier advanced to the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier in his first Grand Slam tournament.
   In the Puerto Vallarta doubles quarterfinals, Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands and Reese Stalder of Costa Mesa, Calif., in the Los Angeles region eliminated third-seeded Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-3, 6-4.
   World TeamTennis — The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers (7-3), with San Francisco Bay Area product Giuliana Olmos, and Orange County Breakers (7-4) will meet in the WTT Finals on Sunday at 3 p.m. PST (Tennis Channel) in Indian Wells, Calif.
   Springfield needs one victory in its two remaining matches to win the regular-season crown and earn the top seed in the WTT Finals. The top seed will choose the order of play, a significant advantage.
   Indian Wells is hosting all matches in the two-week season.

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