Photo : Silvestre Szpylma / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis
While a new king of the men’s tennis world was rising in New York, Canada’s focus had already shifted back across the Atlantic to the east coast of Spain and the Davis Cup Finals group stage.
Team Canada presented by Sobeys will look to put a damper on Carlos Alcaraz’s homecoming when the two nations duke it out for a spot in November’s knockout stage.
Here’s what you need to know.
What to Watch: Auger-Aliassime leads Team Canada in Valencia
Another year, another new format for the Davis Cup.
For 2022, the group stage of the Davis Cup finals is taking place in September, ahead November’s knockout stage, which will decide the champion.
To have a shot at the trophy, Canada will need to finish in the top two of their group this week in Valencia in order to play for the title in November in Malaga.
Félix Auger-Aliassime leads a Canadian team that will have their hands full in a very difficult group that features Spain, Serbia and South Korea.
World No. 13 Auger-Aliassime is joined by Vasek Pospisil, Alexis Galarneau and recent Granby champion Gabriel Diallo, who has been nominated to the Davis Cup squad for the first time in his career.
Group B is possibly the toughest group in the draw. The Spanish team will be led by the new world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. Auger-Aliassime won their lone previous meeting at the 2021 US Open.
One break the Canadians caught was 43 Grand Slam titles passing on the event, as both Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia will not be competing.
Each team in the group will meet once during the week. Canada opens on Tuesday against South Korea, meets the hosts Spain on Friday and finishes against Serbia on Saturday.
There are four groups competing in four different cities across Europe this week in the Davis Cup group stage. The other three cities hosting the round robin are Hamburg, Glasgow and Bologna.
On the WTA Tour this week, the Canadians are out in force in Chennai with a trio of women in the singles draw and two in the doubles.
Rebecca Marino, Carol Zhao, and Eugenie Bouchard are all competing in singles, while Gabriela Dabrowski is the top seed in doubles. Bouchard is pulling double duty, competing in singles and doubles.
Alison Riske-Amritraj is the top seed in Chennai.
Emma Raducanu, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Wimbledon Champion Elena Rybakina are all competing at the WTA 250 event in Potroroz, Slovenia.
In Case You Missed It: All Hail King Carlos, Swiatek Cements Status
All year, it seemed like just a matter of time before Carlos Alcaraz found himself on top of the tennis world.
It finally happened on Sunday in New York, as the 19-year-old won his first major title at the US Open, defeating Casper Ruud in a four-set final.
In the process, Alcaraz clinched a new career-high ranking by becoming the 28th man to be ranked No. 1 in the world. At just 19, he is the youngest player to hold the top spot and the first teenager.
There were many times during the 2022 US Open when it looked as though Alcaraz might have to wait for his crowning moment. He trailed by a break in the fifth set of his fourth-round match with Marin Cilic and then had to save a match point in his thrilling five-hour, five-set quarter-final against Jannik Sinner which ended at 2:50 AM in New York, the latest ever finish at the US Open.
He then needed five sets in the semifinals to put away Frances Tiafoe, who was the first American man to reach the US Open semifinals since 2006. Tiafoe had upset Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, handing the veteran Spaniard his first loss in Grand Slam play in 2022.
The final against Ruud was guaranteed to make history. In the ultimate winner-take-all match, it was the first time that two players were meeting in Grand Slam final both looking for a maiden major title and a first ascension to world No. 1 simultaneously.
Like some of his earlier matches, Alcaraz had to dig deep, saving a set point with a stunning volley winner in the third set that would have seen Ruud move within a set of victory. Instead, he hung in for a historic four-set win.
Alcaraz’s victory marks the final step in the arrival of tennis’ next generation, as he joined 21-year-old Iga Świątek in the New York winner’s circle and atop the mountain.
At a combined age of 40 years and seven months, Alcaraz and Świątek are the youngest pair of world No. 1 since Monica Seles and Jim Courier in February 1992.
Świątek claimed her third Grand Slam title at the US Open, and her second of 2022, by defeating Ons Jabeur in straight sets in the final it. It is the world No. 1’s first major title away from Roland Garros.
The Pole has now won 10 straight finals and 20 consecutive sets in finals on the WTA Tour. Losing eight games in the US Open final was the most she had lost in a title match since her first ever WTA Tour final in 2019, which was also her lone defeat.
Coming into the tournament, there were questions around the world No. 1’s form as she had lost in the third round of three consecutive events having won 37 matches in a row earlier in the year. Vocal complaints about the US Open’s controversial balls also raised doubts about Świątek’s ability to win in New York.
But she is No. 1 for a reason. Świątek only lost two sets on her way to the title, rallying from a set down in the fourth round against Julie Niemeier and in the semifinals against Aryna Sabalenka. The Pole won as many bagel sets in the tournament as she lost sets.
Jabeur reached her second Grand Slam final in a row, having lost in the title match at Wimbledon to Elena Rybakina. Still, even in defeat she ascends to No. 2 in the rankings behind Świątek.
Both Canadians competing in the second week of the doubles befell then same fate, falling to the eventual champions.
Leylah Annie Fernandez was the last Canadian standing, as she and partner Jack Sock reached the mixed doubles quarterfinals where they were defeated by the Aussie pair of Storm Sanders and John Peers, who went on to claim the title.
Gabriela Dabrowski also reached the last eight of the women’s doubles with Giuliana Olmos before falling to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
In the juniors, the same thing happened to Victoria Mboko. The Canadian teen reached the semifinals of the girls singles, losing to the eventual champion Alexandra Eala.
Under the Radar:
Canada’s lone result of note last week on the ITF circuit was a semifinal run at the ITF event Bagnères-de-Bigorre, France from Steven Diez.
Between Davis Cup and Chennai, there are fewer events featuring Canadians this week on the tours.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.