Russia knocked reigning champion Spain out of the Davis Cup on Sunday to set up a quarter-final against Sweden.
The Russians’ tie against the depleted Spanish team came down to a late-night doubles encounter in Madrid.
Aslan Karatsev and world number five Andrey Rublev won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 against Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez to win Group A and deprive the Spanish team of the chance to play in front of a home crowd in Madrid on Thursday.
The Russians, playing under the name of the Russian Tennis Federation because of sanctions against Russian sport for doping, made a bad start to the tie when Lopez beat Rublev 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the opening singles rubber.
US Open champion Daniil Medvedev stepped up to bring the tie level with a 6-2, 7-6 (7⁄3) win over Pablo Carreno Busta, before the doubles decided the match.
Britain booked their place in the last eight with a come-from-behind victory over the Czech Republic on Sunday and will play Germany in Innsbruck on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan and Croatia also reached the last eight.
Dan Evans’ surprise 6-2, 7-5 loss to world number 143 Tomas Machac left Britain needing to fight back to secure a second straight win and take top spot in Group C.
But Cameron Norrie overcame a second-set blip to see off Jiri Lehecka 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, before Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski teamed up to beat Machac and Jiri Vesely 6-4, 6-2 in Innsbruck.
“We’ve been underdogs and managed to get wins. The Czech team played well – very young team. Machac turned into a top 20 player overnight!” British captain Leon Smith told the BBC.
The ties in Austria are being played behind closed doors due to new coronavirus restrictions in the country.
British number one Cameron Norrie helped his country into the Davis Cup quarter-finals
France, after winning against the Czechs and losing to Britain, are out of the tournament.
Germany backed up their shock victory over Novak Djokovic’s Serbia by fighting back to edge out hosts Austria and go through as Group F winners.
Serbia had to settle for second place but progressed to a quarter-final against Kazakhstan in Madrid on Wednesday as one of the best runners-up.
Dominik Koepfer lost 6-1, 7-5 to Jurij Rodionov to put the Germans in trouble, but Jan-Lennard Struff levelled the tie by cruising past Dennis Novak 7-5, 6-4.
Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz completed the job in the doubles, as they did against Djokovic and Serbia on Saturday, winning 6-3, 6-4 against Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald.
– Angry crowd –
Croatia just needed to win one rubber against Hungary to wrap up first place in Group D and the 242nd-ranked Nino Serdarusic did just that in the opening match against Fabian Marozsan in Turin.
His 6-4, 6-4 success helped avoid a nervy finish to the tie for the two-time winners, as Marin Cilic lost the second singles 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to impressive Hungarian youngster Zsombor Piros.
Italy will have the advantage of home support when they face the Croatians in Turin on Monday.
Kazakhstan moved into the knockout stage by downing 2019 runners-up Canada in Madrid.
Kazakhstan, which beat Sweden on Saturday, emerged victorious again thanks to singles wins for Mikhail Kukushkin and Alexander Bublik, over Brayden Schnur and Vasek Pospisil respectively.
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Bublik drew the ire of the Spanish crowd for delivering an underarm serve at 4-4 in the second set, but that only seemed to spur him on.
“As one legend says, when you go to sleep guys, know that I won because of you,” he said to the crowd, referring to US Open champion Medvedev.
The tournament was postponed last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Floorball Association targets schools for development
Chieftains of the Floorball Association said their main target this year is to spread the gospel of Floorball to schools for effective development of the Sport.
To this end, the Association said they will start combing schools in order to fish out hidden talents and nuture them to limelight.
This was disclosed by the Secretary General of the Association, Mr. Henry Oluoma at their maiden event held at the Floorball court of the National Institute for Sports, Lagos on Wednesday January 26, 2022.
Germany based Floorball administrator said this action was the fallout of the world body’s meeting held in December where they had vivid discussions on how to move Floorball forward in Africa and he was given the mandate to ensure that the sport grows beyond it’s present position in Nigeria and the entire continent.
Based on this, Mr. Henry Oluoma hinted that some companies in Germany have promised to support the course by donating Floorball equipment to Nigeria to aid the speedy development of the game.
I’m in Denmark to improve myself, says youthful Mukairu
Nigerian striker, Paul Mukairu, has expressed his excitement after his ₦900million move to former champions .of Denmark FC Copenhagen.
The 22-year-old winger dumped Turkish side Antalyaspor after three years with the former Turkish champions.
Mukairu has seen his reputation rise tremendously since he joined Antalyaspor in 2019. Within four months of his arrival in Turkey, he made it to the Antalyaspor first team, scoring three goals and assisting one in his first season.
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He spent last season on loan at Belgian Jupiler League side Anderlecht, where he scored two goals and assisted four in 23 league appearances.
Before his departure to Copenhagen, Mukairu had already scored three goals in 20 appearances for the Scorpions this season.
The Abuja-born forward is a quick player, and although he is a winger, he can play as a striker.
The pacy forward was all smiles at his unveiling and expressed his happiness whilst stating his readiness to become better at his new club.
“I feel very happy to be here, the welcome was really nice, it was amazing. I’m so happy to be in this great club.” He told Copenhagen TV.
“I have a lot to learn, and here is a good place to improve myself with the people surrounding me”, he added.
The 22-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the Super Eagles, but if he can continue with his eye-catching displays at his new side, it would only be a matter of time before it happens.
Arsenal gave me a ‘good slap’, says Saliba
William Saliba has revealed how he was given a rude awakening on his arrival at Arsenal back in July 2019.
The French defender joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne for around £27million.
But he is yet to play for the senior side and last summer was shipped off to Marseille on loan.
Now the 20-year-old has admitted his time in the reserves was like a ‘slap in the face’ and hasn’t ruled out a permanent move away from the Emirates.
He told RMC: “Before going to Arsenal, I said to myself I was going to play, I was sure, I was wondering who I would play alongside.
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“I arrive, I play zero matches. I played for the U23s. That gave me a good slap.
“Things go so fast in football. I don’t want to think about the future. I am going to give my all. Then there will be discussions in summer.”
Reports earlier this month suggested Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was preparing to give Saliba a chance in the senior squad next season.
The centre-back has turned in a string of impressive performances to propel Marseille to third in the Ligue 1 table.
According to L’Equipe, Arsenal are set to reject l‘OM’s attempts to make the deal permanent in the summer.
On his progress, Arteta said earlier this season: “I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan.
“But a lot of things have happened to him, he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.”
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