How Canadians fit into tennis' big year-end events
Canada has entries in Billie Jean King Cup, Davis Cup, ATP Finals
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Three key tournaments remain in the 2022 tennis season, and Canada has an entry in each of them. Here's your guide:
1. Billie Jean King Cup Finals
Formerly known as the Fed Cup, the Billie Jean King Cup is the top international team event in women's tennis (equivalent to the men's Davis Cup). Canada qualified for the 12-team Finals back in April by sweeping Latvia 4-0 in a series played in Vancouver.
The Finals began today in Scotland, where the teams are split into four groups of three. In Group A, sixth-ranked Canada will face No. 12 Italy on Thursday and No. 5 Switzerland on Friday. The four group winners advance to Saturday's semifinals. The final goes Sunday. Each matchup is a best-of-three: two singles matches followed by a doubles that decides it if necessary.
Canada's three best singles players — Leylah Fernandez (ranked 40th in the world), Bianca Andreescu (45th) and Rebecca Marino (64th) — are all at the Finals along with Gabriela Dabrowski, who's ranked seventh in doubles. The other team member is Carol Zhao, who partnered with Dabrowski in doubles during the qualifying win over Latvia. Switzerland's best player is Belinda Bencic, ranked 12th in singles. Italy's is Martina Trevisan, ranked 28th in singles.
The only player in the group to qualify for this year's WTA Finals was Dabrowksi, who along with Mexican teammate Giuliana Olmos was eliminated in the group stage of the doubles draw last week. Neither player in last night's WTA Finals singles title match made it to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals. Winner Caroline Garcia missed France's qualifying loss to Italy, while Aryna Sabalenka's Belarus was kicked out over the invasion of Ukraine, along with defending champion Russia.
2. ATP Finals
Felix Auger-Aliassime's incredible winning streak ended at 16 matches Saturday when he lost to unseeded Danish teenager Holger Rune in the semifinals of the Paris Masters, denying the 22-year-old Canadian a shot at capturing his fourth consecutive tournament. Rune went on to upset Novak Djokovic in the final, but Felix accomplished something in Paris that Rune did not: qualify for next week's ATP Finals in Italy.
Also earning spots in the eight-man tournament were Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. Taylor Fritz joined the field after world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz withdrew due to an abdominal injury suffered at the Paris Masters. A draw will decide how the players are grouped for the round-robin stage. There's also an eight-team doubles tournament that no Canadians qualified for.
The Finals start Sunday and conclude a week later. The singles winner could clear up to $4.7 million US, depending on how many matches he wins in the group stage.
WATCH l Auger-Aliassime collects 3rd-straight ATP title with Swiss Indoor title:
3. Davis Cup Finals knockout rounds
The self-branded "World Cup of tennis" comes to a conclusion Nov. 22-27 in Spain. Auger-Aliassime helped Canada earn a spot in the eight-team elimination stage by upsetting Alcaraz in singles and then teaming with Vasek Pospisil for a doubles win that gave Canada a key victory over favoured Spain in the previous round. The Spaniards still won the group, but Canada placed second to advance to the quarter-finals, where it will face Germany on Nov. 24.
Auger-Aliassime (now ranked a career-high sixth in the world in singles), Denis Shapovalov (17th) and Pospisil (118th) are expected to once again do the heavy lifting for Canada after helping the country to a runner-up finish (its best ever) in 2019. Alexis Galarneau (222nd) and Gabriel Diallo (248th) were also named to the Canadian team.