The United States is off to a perfect start in Davis Cup play this year, and the Americans now have to wait and see if they can continue this momentum when they play in the semifinals for the first time since 2012.
Ryan Harrison had the honors Sunday wrapping up a 4-0 victory over Belgium in essentially an exhibition match with the U.S. already clinching a semifinal berth against Croatia on Sept. 14-16. Harrison, ranked 54th in the world in singles, beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-4 in 65 minutes after the U.S. won the first three matches to improve to 5-0 all-time in Davis Cup play against Belgium.
“It’s one of the great challenges in Davis Cup in this current format is the momentum disappears because you don’t play again for months on end, so you have to recreate that momentum,” U.S. captain Jim Courier said. “As we get going toward the next time in September, it comes on the heels of the U.S. Open, so we’ll be leaving after the U.S. Open to go over to Croatia.”
That’s a long time between matches with three Grand Slams between now and then leaving open the possibility of injuries, which could affect the current roster of John Isner, Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, Steve Johnson and Harrison. Johnson was the only American not to play in the quarterfinals at Belmont University. Courier said he knows all of the players want to be in Croatia.
“Hopefully, they’ll be healthy and playing great, and we’ll have the same crew because the energy and camaraderie is really good with the guys and the options that we have in singles and doubles are really strong and a big benefit,” Courier said.
Courier doesn’t see any issue with the Americans becoming overconfident, not when they know too well that both Serbia and Belgium were missing key players. Steve Darcis and David Goffin both were out for Belgium, which had reached two of the last three Davis Cup finals.
“I think we all know that we still have a lot to prove,” Courier said. “We’ll be going on the road to play a very deep team in Croatia, a team that beat us two years ago in the quarterfinals when we were up 2-0. They came back and won the last three matches. So we’ll have plenty on our minds when we go there.”
Croatia advanced Sunday rather easily with Marin Cilic downing Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.
Spain needed all five matches to advance 3-2 to a semifinal against France. Rafael Nadal started the rally by beating Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, and David Ferrer clinched the quarterfinal for the Spaniards downing Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-5. France advanced with a 3-1 win over Italy as Lucas Pouille defeated Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis
Zach Johnson Andrew Landry Share Texas Open Lead
Zach Johnson birdied the par-5 18th Saturday at the Valero Texas Open for a share of the third-round lead with Andrew Landry, a stroke ahead of record-setting Trey Mullinax.
Johnson shot a 4-under 68, holing a 10-footer on 18 to match Landry at 13-under 203 at TPC San Antonio. Landry birdied the 16th and 17th in a 67.
Johnson won the tournament in 2008 and 2009, the last two times it was played at LaCantera. The 42-year-old Iowan won the 2015 British Open for the last of his 12 PGA Tour titles. The 30-year-old Landry is winless on the tour.
Mullinax had a course-record 62. He played the AT&T Oaks back nine in 7-under 29, going 6 under on the last five with eagles on the par-5 14th and 18th and birdies on 16 and 17. He also birdied Nos. 10 and 12 and bogeyed 11.
Ryan Moore was two strokes back at 11 under after a 70. Sean O’Hair had a 65 to join 2015 champion Jimmy Walker (67), Chris Kirk (68) and 2013 winner Martin Laird (69) at 9 under.
Aston Villa Outcast Gabby Agbonlahor Could Retire From Football This Summer… Aged Just 31
EX-ENGLAND striker Gabby Agbonlahor could RETIRE from football — aged 31.
The Aston Villa striker is out of contract in the summer and is considering all options — including walking away from the game.
News Group Newspapers Ltd Gabby Agbonlahor could retire at the age of 31 this summer
Agbonlahor has spent his entire career at Villa aside from short loans early on at Watford and Sheffield Wednesday, but boss Steve Bruce says no fresh terms will be offered.
The star, who has not played since before Christmas due to injury, has been linked with a move to the MLS and can start talks about a pre-contract to start in the summer.
His Villa exit will end 17 years at the club where he broke into the England team in 2008. He had a goal disallowed on debut against Germany and earned two more caps.
Villa are pushing for promotion to the Premier League and remain in the running for second after thrashing Ipswich 4-0 on Saturday.
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PA:Press Association The Aston Villa outcast is out of contract this summer
But they face losing a number of important players following their recent fine run of results under Steve Bruce.
SunSport understands Sam Johnstone could be heading to Tottenham this summer as back-up for Hugo Lloris.
BAHOKEN PROMISE Swansea lead Stoke and Villa in race for Strasbourg’s Bahoken
The Englishman is on loan from Manchester United but Villa are yet to secure a permanent deal.
Reports also claim that Jack Grealish is wanted by Leicester in a £20million swoop – but only if Villa remain in the Championship.
Alexis Sanchez Delivered When It Was Most Needed To Show That Class Is Permanent
ALEXIS SANCHEZ needed this. By all rights, he should not have been playing.
He had been part of the diabolical performance against West Brom after which Jose Mourinho made it clear Wembley places were up for grabs.
AFP or licensors Manchester United’s under pressure striker Alexis Sanchez bags the priceless equaliser that might just re-ignite his career
Marcus Rashford and, to a lesser extent, Anthony Martial answered the call in midweek against Bournemouth and must have been bemused, therefore, to be left on the bench.
Sanchez was in.
Had the name and the money he earns usurped form?
Was Mourinho avoiding another Paul Pogba situation — i.e. why is the big name dropped? Is there a problem? Has it been a mistake to buy him? Why can’t he get the best out of him?
Getty – Contributor Many thought Alexis Sanchz should have been dropped – but instead he netted arguably the most crucial goal of his season
PA:Press Association Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier struggles to tame Chilean Alexis Sanchez
So the pressure was really on the Chilean to produce and how he did so with a goal and assist that takes Manchester United to another Cup final.
Form maybe temporary but class is permanent and this was a top-class display from Sanchez.
SACK, BACK AND CRAIC Arsene Wenger smiles with Arsenal stars as they welcome him back to training
It was full of heart, full of tenacity.
When he was subbed in the final minute of injury time he left the pitch covered in mud and sweat, his chest heaving with the effort he had put in.
The United end rose as one to acclaim him.
The manager was ready with a handshake. Job done.
Sanchez had not let the boss down, nor the fans that made the red half of this stadium a cacophony of noise from the moment he nodded United back into the game in the 24th minute.
What a header it was, too, as he directed the ball back across Michel Vorm, leaning backwards in mid-air.
He now has eight goals in eight games for club and country at Wembley.
And in the 62nd minute, there he was working down that left flank and rolling the ball across for Ander Herrera’s winner, too.
Dele Alli and Alexis Sanchez score the openers in Manchester United vs Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley
In injury time it was Sanchez winning the ball on the top of his own box and charging up to halfway where he won a throw-in to waste valuable seconds.
The statistics will tell you that Sanchez loses the ball a lot.
Part of the reason for that is he demands it so much.
He wants it all the time, no matter where he is on the pitch, and berates team-mates who do not give it to him.
Alamy Live News Man Utd striker Alexis Sanchez tangles with Spurs midfielder Eric Dier
When he does lose it, he just wants it again and again and is always available to have it.
True, Sanchez had hardly had the dramatic impact on this side since his New Year switch from Arsenal that United fans had hoped for.
But Mourinho constantly points to the fact that it is always difficult for a mid-term addition to integrate.
So you can understand why he has not always been on the same wavelength as his team-mates.
But the evidence of yesterday is that things can only get better.
Wojciech Szczęsny posts hilarious chant mocking Tottenham for being knocked out of FA Cup by Manchester United
Sanchez is going to be a big part of the next chapter at this club. For any other club, an FA Cup, League Cup, Europa League, Community Shield and now another FA Cup final would show real signs of progress over the space of three seasons.
Sir Alex Ferguson raised the bar so high, however, that this is considered barely enough.
After all, it was not that long ago that United fans were in this stadium for a Champions League final.
But times have changed and Sir Alex now looks on from the stands on these occasions.
Ander Herrera scores winner as Manchester United beat Tottenham to reach FA Cup final
This is the Mourinho era and, despite his detractors, he is the man United needed.
The man to stabilise a club that had fallen dramatically from their perch.
No, it is not the football from the glory days under Fergie but neither is it as bad as some would have you believe.
Since late February, United have beaten all four teams closest to them in the league in Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and now Spurs.
PA:Empics Sport Alexis Sanchez is saluted by his Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
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