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The 2022 tennis season has been an fascinating one, for higher or worse. In the more serious column, we have seen 21-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic throw away two majors due to his refusal to get vaccinated, whereas the invasion of Ukraine resulted in Russian and Belarusian gamers being banned from Wimbledon. On the higher facet, Rafael Nadal raised the lads’s Grand Slam singles titles document to 22, Carlos Alcaraz’ first Slam trophy made the 19-year-old the youngest males’s No. 1 in historical past, and Iga Swiatek emerged because the dominant power in the ladies’s recreation by capturing eight titles, together with a pair of Slams. Plus, arguably the 2 biggest gamers of all time — Roger Federer and Serena Williams — mentioned goodbye to the game (or so it appeared).
And we’re not executed but. With a number of weeks left in the season, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime is all of a sudden the most popular participant in tennis, and he and different Canadians are making ready to play in some huge occasions. Here’s what to know as an interesting year of tennis involves a close:
This could possibly be a really huge month for Felix.
The 22-year-old Canadian heads into the indoor Paris Masters occasion on a severe roll. After back-to-back victories at lower-tier tournaments in Italy and Belgium the place he did not face anybody ranked in the highest 25, Auger-Aliassime stepped up in class final week on the extra aggressive Swiss Indoors. He answered the problem by beating world Alcaraz in the semifinals en path to successful his third consecutive match. That ran Felix’s successful streak to 13 matches and raised his world rating to a profession high-matching No. 8.
Another trophy this week in France would give Auger-Aliassime 5 match titles in 2022, tying Alcaraz for the lads’s season lead. It will not be straightforward: Masters-level tournaments path solely the Grand Slams and the season-ending ATP Finals in phrases of prize cash, rankings factors and status, so they have an inclination to attract the perfect gamers. Except for injured No. 6 Alexander Zverev, everybody ranked forward of Auger-Aliassime is right here. That’s Alcaraz, Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Djokvoic.
WATCH | Canada’s Auger-Aliassime wins Swiss Indoors:
But even when Felix’ successful streak ends in Paris, he can nonetheless seize his first-ever spot in the profitable ATP Finals, beginning Nov. 14 in Italy. Only eight gamers get invited to the championship, the place the winner can clear as much as $4.7 million US relying on what number of matches he wins (for comparability, the U.S. Open champ acquired “solely” $2.6 million this year).
Felix is at present sixth in the season-long factors race, however Tenth-place Djokovic is assured a spot due to his Grand Slam win at Wimbledon. The 5 gamers forward of Felix have additionally clinched, leaving two Finals spots up for grabs in Paris, the ultimate common cease on this year’s ATP Tour. Four males are nonetheless in rivalry for them, however Auger-Aliassime’s likelihood is superb. Even if he loses his opening match Wednesday vs. 74th-ranked Mikael Ymer of Sweden, the one means Auger-Aliassime misses out on the ATP Finals is that if eighth-place Taylor Fritz wins the title and defeats seventh-place Andrey Rublev in the semifinals. Fritz superior to the spherical of 32 at present whereas Rublev superior to the spherical of 16.
Also competing in Paris is Canada’s Sixteenth-ranked Denis Shapovalov, who’s not in rivalry to achieve the ATP Finals. His first-round match was in progress at our publish time.
The week after the ATP Finals, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov will lead the Canadian group into the decisive stage of the Davis Cup Finals. In September, Auger-Aliassime upset Alcaraz in singles to propel Canada to a win over Spain in a group-stage matchup. While Spain nonetheless received the group, that victory helped Canada advance to the eight-team knockout spherical, the place they will face Germany on Nov. 24.
Two key occasions stay in the ladies’s season — and Canada has an entry in each.
The WTA Finals started yesterday in Fort Worth, Tex. No Canadians certified for the eight-player singles match, however Gabriela Dabrowski has a great shot to win the doubles. She and her Mexican teammate Giuliana Olmos are seeded No. 2 after successful two tournaments collectively this year. They play their first match of the group stage tonight at round 9:15 p.m. ET vs. the seventh-seeded duo of Anna Danilina (Kazakhstan) and Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil).
Dabrowki will even play for Canada on the Billie Jean King Cup Finals subsequent week in Scotland. She’ll be joined by Leylah Fernandez, Bianca Andreescu, Rebecca Marino and Carol Zhao. The Canadian group’s group-stage opponents are Italy (on Nov. 10) and Switzerland (Nov. 11). The prime group from every of the 4 teams advances to the semifinals.