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Canada

Oh so close from Canada who were almost there with a 2-1 lead off the back of Uruguay’s good start and that 80th minute breakthrough for the team’s 2nd goal. But the match isn’t even over just yet when veteran striker Luis Suarez held them back a bit longer  not only after 90 mins of normal time 2-2 all & even 2 x 15 mins extra time periods where the score remained unchanged, but Canada also eventually lost in the end to Uruguay via penalties for the best of third spot in Charlotte, 3-4.

It would’ve been awesome to see Canada close down with the win against one of the seasoned South America teams following their semis loss against Group A opponents Argentina – especially when they were the only North American team left remaining. They controlled the pitch really well on what has been a huge tug-o-war where both teams shared the pie at half-time 1-1 until Canada found a way to get on top of Uruguay in the 80th minute.  However, that turned out to be short lived and Canada eventually ran out of steam to make Uruguay pay. Not even the penalties have helped much in a sudden death drag race under pressure & Uruguay turned out to be the better 3rd placed team. Canada is at the right time right now with the World Cup after a 36 year wait two years ago followed by a 4th-placed Copa America finish & sure they can do even better to achieve from here – such as the next Gold Cup next year as well as 2026 World Cup across home soil, USA & Mexico.

Well, chasing a possible 16th title will have to wait next time for Uruguay come 2028 before looking to unseat the defending champs Argentina at some point. But the tournament isn’t 100% over yet until tomorrow and Uruguay will be hoping that Colombia can spoil Argentina’s unbeaten winning run in the Final tomorrow, so they can still share with Argentina as the joint most successful team in Copa America history of 16 winning trophies together.  Yes, Uruguay were nearly out of place for the most part when they had less ball following an early lead to the match. However, they well to turn things around thanks to Super Suarez at the last minute in normal time before Uruguay eventually found a way to escape the Canadians unscathed – which wasn’t easy to play but hey, they’ve done it after all!!  There’s still unfinished business ahead with the World Cup qualifications up next, so they can hopefully get back to their best following their early round exit in Qatar two years ago.

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We all love the joy of witnessing these fairy tale moments such as Canada who made it as far as the semis off the back of a undefeated performances bar the opening round defeat v Argentina including that Quarter-Final win the other day v Venezuela via penalties. However, facing a top side like the Argentinians again were never easy indeed with the likes of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez following a 2-0 semi-finals loss earlier this afternoon at MetLife Stadium in New York. Although Canada’s unreal Copa America run isn’t over just yet with a third-place Playoff match coming up this weekend against the loser of the 2nd semi-final match as we turn our attention to Colombia v Uruguay in Charlotte, NC tomorrow morning.

First of all, Canada weren’t bad for the most part defensively other than a couple of mis-timed tackles and passes that led to two Argentina goals where it could’ve been 0-0 to give themselves a lifeline like another 30 mins of extra time and maybe penalty shootouts or even a successful goal or two would do it to stop Argentina from bothering them. They did have a couple of late chances though to try and hold back Argentina but then there was very little time left against the clock unfortunately as the game well and truly belongs to the Defending Champions. As said, they had a spectacular run as being the best North American side in this competition across the Americas & sure Canada will keep on grinding towards regular silverware like the future CONCACAF Gold Cup editions sooner rather than later. But it’s all about South America for now when Canada is now out of the tournament with three nations left in the running that will become two in less than 24 hours time.

Meanwhile, it’s great to see Argentina advance to the Final once again following an easy 2-0 win v Canada having dominated the pitch for most of the game. Yes, they could’ve done a bit better as if Argentina was using this semi as a practice match for the Final as no opponent will ever them a free run. However, they did profit the defensive errors Canada couldn’t capitalise at their own end where Argentina successfully found the net on both occasions by Alvarez and Messi before the clock ticks down ahead of full-time & Argentina are now step closer towards hopefully winning their record 16th title. At the moment, Argentina currently have 15 titles which is tied with potential finalists Uruguay who might be there to spoil their championship-winning celebrations come Sunday & maybe be the most successful team in Copa America history – if Uruguay can beat Colombia in the other semi tomorrow. Regardless of what happens, Argentina wouldn’t mind to come up against anyone whether if it’s Uruguay or Colombia as long as they can get the job done with goals to win them yet another trophy.

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The 2024 Copa America tournament has just started today with Argentina v Canada and yes, it’s been scrappy and quiet for the most part where there were a series of hit and misses that led into a scoreless 45 mins of play. But it’s still Argentina with the 2-0 win over the Canadians to kickstart Group A off the back of two 2nd half goals from Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez. They will both be back for the 2nd week all on Tuesday where Canada take on Peru while Argentina v Chile.

Well played by the defending champs who turned things around well after the half-time break including some good use of the subs that helped gave them the 2nd goal that late to close out the match. Credit to the frontline being active all along to give the defenders a difficult time where Argentina eventually found a breakthrough. Yes, they gotta improve their first 45 when things couldn’t go their way despite having a lot of ball. But it’s better if they finish things knowing they can find the net at the right time rather than being a bit hesitant by just shooting for it and hope for the best. Meanwhile, Canada were relieved to get away from the Argentinian fast start earlier on while they made two early chances of their own to try and bag a goal. But not only they lack numbers to bring it home particularly when looking to go inside the box, their poor possession throughout the 2nd half was just too difficult to stop the Argentineans in the end. I know it’s not the easiest of starts but an unexpected lead with 1-2 early goals if Canada did score would’ve gave themselves up some confidence to try & shut them down.

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It wasn’t Australia’s day today when they returned to the Davis Cup Final scene for the first time in 19 years that went way back to 2003 – where Australia last won their title for the 28th time on home soil v Spain. They came here with fighting spirit orchestrated by Lleyton Hewitt as Team Captain, having never gave up along the way after their wins beforehand v Netherlands (QF) & Croatia (Semis). 

However, we have to credit Canada with the breakthrough moment they deserve – especially when they have a bright & an elite young line-up. But we all have to move on as Australia has to keep building on the good work they’ve got right now, so they can come back again hopefully next year & go one better this time.

We’ll start with the first singles tie between Thanasi Kokkinakis v Denis Shapovalov where neither of them have yet to register a win so far in this year’s Davis Cup Finals, but one of them will do so in the end. It turns out to be Shapovalov who was too good for Kokkinakis in straight sets – 6-2, 6-4. For Kokkinakis, his first set spell was a lot to be desired. Although he did show some fight after break in a bid to stay in contention, but it still wasn’t enough to hold off towards a 3rd set decider.

Then we turn our attention to Alex De Minaur v Felix-Auger Alliasime in the next singles match – as the moment of truth has arrived if Australia will bring out a doubles rubber & go one better to retrieve the Davis Cup trophy – or will be Canada as first time winners 2-0? Let’s find out as this time it was a very competitive opening half spell in the 1st set by both players before Auger-Aliassime pulled off the other half easily, while De Minaur did the best he can to keep Australia in the race and lead into a 3rd set lifeline after the break. 

In the end though, Auger-Aliassime escaped a late threat from De Minaur that not only sealed another singles win in straight sets but also gifted Canada the Davis Cup trophy for the first time. The final score was 6-3, 6-4 – with no doubles match required following Canada’s 2-0 whitewash in the series final v Australia.

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It was an easy run for the majority from the World No.13 in Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic while Canadian Bianca Andreescu made up some lost time with the 2nd set rebound. At the end of the day though, it’s Bencic who cancelled Andreescu’s possible 3rd set lifeline in a straight sets win at Court Philippe Chatrier; 6-2, 6-4.

Belinda Bencic was just too good with the strong fire offs that helped her get the ball rolling through a massive lead, so she can give herself some time to hold back her opponent. She was prepared for whatever Andreescu throws at her during the 2nd set, having almost been tied at 1-1 going into the final set decider at one point. However, Bencic eventually found a way to shut down Andreescu’s best game with her opponent’s lack of finishing while she still held a comfortable lead, where the Swiss No.1 came out unscathed that helped secure a 3rd Round tie with another Canadian in Leyland Anne Fernandez tomorrow.

And Bianca Andreescu responded well as of late in the 2nd set where she did the best she can to stay in contention towards the 3rd & final set decider, as Bencic doesn’t give any opponent including Andreescu a free pass. However, the poor starts really hurt Andreescu while Bencic take advantage of her weaknesses with a huge lead before it’s too late. The knee hasn’t been great to her over the last year or two since her heroics at the US Open back in 2019, but there’s still a lot of time to climb back into her best form towards pre-2020 level at age 21.

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The 2nd semi-final tie is all set for Friday night, we’ve saw Stefanos Tsitsipas took down Jannik Sinner before Daniil Medvedev derailed Felix Auger-Aliassime’s strong start from 0-2 to 3-2 in the end that completed a stunning rebound from the reigning US Open men’s champion.

Bugger for Auger-Aliassime where he fired off really well at the beginning even though the 1st set spell was really competitive which reflected his 2-0 lead headstart. Yes, he battled so hard against a grand slam winning opponent, but just couldn’t match the 1st half momentum where he had to make up some lost time & he’s also been hesistant at times that left limited time to execute his way.

And hats off to Daniil Medvedev with the trilling Quarter-Final win, he was almost on the brink of elimination at one point in straight sets after a 0-2 lead. However, he managed to regroup himself when Medvedev was being patient which gave him time to nail down his opponent’s weaknesses, that pragmatic 2nd half approach alongside a decent lead he kept during the 3rd-5th sets helped him shift maximum speed against Auger-Aliassime & nailed towards the finish line first.

All eyes on Tsitsipas v Medvedev now in a last year’s repeat semi-final also on this Friday night, will Medvedev advance into the Final once more & go one better or is it going to be Tsitsipas this time with his possible 2nd grand slam final meeting since last year at the Roland Garros?

For now, it’s the women’s semi-finals day today with two matches taking place tonight where one of them includes Australia’s own Ash Barty v American Madison Keys.

#DaniilMedvedev #FelixAugerAliassime #Russia #Canada #Tennis #AustralianOpen #GrandSlam #ATPTour

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Felix Auger-Aliassime too good for Dan Evans at John Cain Arena where he nailed down in straight sets (4-6, 1-6, 1-6), he will be watching the Andrey Rublev and Martin Cilic tie with interest & study what these players are like where one of them will meet him for Round 4 on Monday.

For Evans, he endured a huge blow against the 9th seed Canadian which wasn’t easy to reflect on after this match, even though he came off a brilliant warm-up spell before the main draw in Sydney via the semis. He was on the same page at the beginning where Evans narrowly fell short & had the chance to tie 2-2 in the 3rd set, unfortunately, the Brit just couldn’t unpack some fire having fell way behind before Auger-Aliassime comfortably made it home at the other end.

And Auger-Aliassime is one of two Canadians alongside Denis Shapovalov in the 4th Round as this is be an exciting time right now for that country, he displayed lots of Grand Slam quality that helped him shift up a few gears ahead of Evans & never looked back ever since. He had an excellent 2nd half last year with the Quarter-Final in Wimbledon & Semi-Final at the US Open, he has Daniil Medvedev on his radar where he hopes to upset last year’s runner-up in the Final 8 & potentially come home with a grand slam trophy.

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Denis Shapovalov crossed the finish line 1st ahead of American Reilly Opelka in Round 3 of the 2022 Australian Open at Margaret Court Arena, he fired off well through a close 1st set battle through the tiebreaker before the Canadian was tied 1-1 after the break.

However, Shapovalov later re-grouped himself during the 2nd half run with an improved momentum that was enough to show himself the win in three sets out of four, his opponent for Round 4 on will either be 3rd seed from Germany Alexander Zverev or Qualifier Radu Albot.

Final Score: 6-7 via 4-7 tiebreaker, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6

Looks like he didn’t have any trouble playing for long periods so far from Shapovalov having gone past Serbia’s Laslo Dere in Round 1 & Kwon Soon-Woo during Round 2, Shapovalov is always on top of his game even though he narrowly lost the 2nd set spell as this is all about the overall result where the Canadian managed to get the job done with little to no fuss.

And Opelka never gave up when he fought a series of close battles against Shapovalov after the American tied 1-1 going into the 3rd set, however, the lack of executions/conversions when trying to bridge from his 1st half run saw Opelka being left further behind before Shapovalov confirmed his elimination as soon as this Round 3 tie was done just over the three-hour mark.

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The World No.20 from Canada Felix Auger-Aliassime fired off well in the 1st half of Stage 1 3-1. When Aslan Karatsev may have held the Canadian back a bit. Having fired back to desperately save his Stage 1 bid for the mini win. But was narrowly beaten to the punch by Auger-Aliassime with a three point gap. Auger-Aliassime wrapped up Stage 1 in just 39 minutes of play this afternoon. This score is 6-3.

Nothing much has changed with Auger-Aliassime held on the build up base that worked so well. Despite a little headstart Karatsev made after the 1st break. Auger-Aliassime however bridged the 1st & 2nd half runs this time too easy. With another productive stage to tie two mini wins up after just one hour of play 6-1. While Karasev still frustrated with a lack of feel on each run so far this afternoon. The Russian will need to find a solution somewhere to save his game.

Karatsev began to reach boiling point with a huge roar over his conversion play. He still has the ability to get off the mark having scored a point first. As well as the first half run that bounced back as it was in Stage 1. Where he lead Stage 3 for the first time ahead of Auger-Aliassime 3-2. Before Karasev was able to slow down his progress. As he denied Auger-Aliassime a straight sets route. With a stage win by himself after the 3rd set 6-3 that goes into Stage 4.

Auger-Aliassime however began to report the lack of middle ground this time on his end. Where the Canadian was blown away by Karatsev. Having found plenty of difficulties catching up in the 1st & 2nd half play. Before Karatsev blocked his chance to close out a win at the 2nd attempt. As Karastev won another stage to keep himself in the game. Despite a late challenge from Auger-Aliassime 6-3.

Both players are now tied 2-2 apiece going into the 5th & final stage of the afternoon. Karatsev would like to wrap it up with a decent comeback after the first two stage losses. Auger-Aliassime on the other hand can still turn his recent slump around. With just one more stage win needed to book a spot in the Quarter Final on Tuesday.

As this game just crossed the three-hour mark Karatsev still maintained his build up base momentum. Where he began to distance himself lead away from Auger-Aliassime. But the 20th seed from Canada however began to climb back 2-4. In a bid to spoil his comeback trail in the last minute. Before it was too little, too late from Auger-Aliassime. From a almost easy and then unsuccessful route in Stage 3 & 4 to an upset loss. As Aslan Karatsev dominated the 2nd half of the game out of nowhere. Despite a slow first two stages. And worked through it the hard way to get this job done.

The final score was completed in 3 hours & 25 mins: 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 3-6, 4-6. Aslan Karatsev made the Quarter Finals the conventional way via the qualifier in this competition. He was on the verge of being knocked out at the first attempt after Stage 2. By a tough opponent from Felix Auger-Aliassime. But Karatsev able to turn around with the 1st & 2nd half runs functioning together. From a 2% chance of winning at the time to 80-90% chance of winning after Stage 5.

While Auger-Aliassime dominated just the 1st half of this match on all cylinders. It looked to be an easy task to wrap it up before the two-hour mark after Stage 2. But the last half of the afternoon saw him falter. Before a lack of 1st and 2nd half consistency eventually bit back to haunt him. As his journey at the Australian Open comes to a close. Not the way how he was knocked by the Qualifer/World 112 seed from Russia. We do wish Auger-Aliassime the best of luck.

Karastev will meet either Grigor Dimitrov or Dominic Thiem in the 2nd QF game.

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