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Naomi Osaka chooses Japan over USA for Tokyo Olympics

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Naomi Osaka
Photo: Twitter @NaomiOsaka

Tokyo: Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka says she intends to represent Japan at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

The Olympic Channel says Osaka, who plays under a Japanese flag in WTA events and in the Fed Cup, has told national broadcaster NHK that she has started proceedings to choose Japanese citizenship.

Osaka holds dual nationality with Japan and the United States. She was born to a mother from Japan and a father from Haiti.

She turns 22 on Wednesday, the age at which Japanese law obliges dual-nationality citizens to choose one.

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Federer marks 1,500th match with victory in Basel

Press Trust of India

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ROGER FEDERER

Basel: Roger Federer opened his bid for a 10th title at the ATP Swiss indoors in Basel on Monday, crushing German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in what was the Swiss legend’s 1,500th career match.

This landmark 6-2 6-1 success in his hometown set the 38-year-old up for his tilt at a 103rd title.

“I thought the match was good,” Federer said. “I felt a nice spring in my step. I was quick to the ball and it didn’t take me long to get used to the conditions, that’s positive. There is a danger in playing Peter indoors since he’s already had two solid qualifying matches. He also serves great indoors. But I was able to control things.”

Federer is defending the 2018 title at his hometown event. The victory improved his career record at the tournament to 72-9 and increased his Basel win streak to 21 straight matches.

Federer, who has made the Basel final on all of his last 12 visits, owns ATP titles this season in Dubai, Miami and Halle

The Monday rout took just 54 minutes with Federer forced to break back in the second set before sprinting to the win.

He will face the winner from Radu Albot and Dusan Lajovic in the second round.

Federer, the winner of the previous two editions, last lost here in the 2013 final to Juan Martin del Potro.

Australian Alex de Minaur beat Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-1, 7-5, a victory which sends the wild card into a match with the winner from second seed Alexander Zverev and American Taylor Fritz.

Henri Laaksonen knocked out French eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5 for the evening’s second Swiss victory and German Jen-Lennard Struff defeated Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-2.

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Nadal, Murray included in Davis Cup squads

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Madrid/London: World number two Rafael Nadal has been named in the Spain squad for the Davis Cup finals in Madrid next month.

Nadal was included in a list of five Spanish players, with Roberto Bautista, Pablo Carreno, Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers also picked by coach Sergi Bruguera.

A wrist injury forced Nadal to withdraw from the Shanghai Masters three weeks ago and it remains to be seen whether the 19-time grand slam champion is fit enough to play.

World number 40 Fernando Verdasco said he was “very disappointed” to be left out.

Andy Murray included

Andy Murray has been selected for Britain’s Davis Cup squad 24 hours after winning his first tournament since 2017.

Former world number one Murray clinched his first ATP Tour title for over two years on Sunday when he beat Stan Wawrinka in the European Open final in Antwerp.

It was only the sixth singles event the 32-year-old Scot has competed in since returning from the hip resurfacing operation he had in January.

GB captain Leon Smith on Monday named four of his five-man team, with two-time Wimbledon champion Murray alongside his brother Jamie, Dan Evans and Neal Skupski.

The group will compete in the new-format Davis Cup in Madrid next month as Murray looks to emulate his star role in Britain’s 2015 victory in the competition.

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Another feather on cap: Roger Federer to play 1,500th match at Basel Open

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Fedrer

Basel: Roger Federer will check off another landmark on Monday when he starts his bid for a 10th Basel title by playing the 1,500th match of his career.

The 38-year-old begins his bid for his 103rd title against German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has beaten the German twice — including at Indian Wells last March.

“My preparation had to be a little faster than usual since I have to start Monday,” said Federer ahead of the Swiss Indoors tournament, which he first attended as a ballboy.

“I’ve already practiced Friday and Saturday in Basel. I hope to really start strong and have a great indoor season.” Federer, who has made the Basel final on all of his last 12 visits, owns ATP titles this season in Dubai, Miami and Halle.

Despite not adding to his tally of majors, he still stands at 47-8 for the year, a record bettered only by eternal rival Rafael Nadal, whose triumphs at Roland Garros and the US Open have taken the Spaniard to 19 Grand Slams.

Federer made the final at Wimbledon in July where he had two match points before losing to Novak Djokovic in a five-set epic.

He revealed on Sunday that his philosophy about those losses has become “forget them and move on”.

However, he added: “I try to keep the highest possible level always. Sometimes it’s the opponent, sometimes it’s your own mind or game that goes off the boil.

“And, of course, you work with the right work ethic in practice, with the right concentration and everything.

“Only a few (matches this season) stand out to me that maybe I could have won that I didn’t.

“If I look back at my whole career I’ve had a lot of matches that I could have won that I lost. But also I won much more than I should have or could have.”

After Basel, Federer is likely to make his usual last-minute decision on whether to carry on for the Paris Masters, the concluding Masters 1000 event of the season which starts a week on Monday.

He has already qualified for the ATP Finals in London from November 10 in what will be his 17th appearance at the money-spinning season finale.

“It’s been a solid season. It started well for me. I hope to pick it up for the year-end,” he added.

Meanwhile, Federer briefly paused his preparation for Basel to send best wishes to newly-married rival Nadal.

Explaining that he was not part of the festivities, the father of four said: “I was not invited by Rafa, but I had not expected to be.

“I congratulated him and hope he had the best day of his life.” Nadal and longtime girlfriend Xisca Perello were married on Saturday on their home island of Mallorca.

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