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Daniel Nestor: Canada's most accomplished tennis player looks forward, not backward

The players' lounge at the Citi Open tennis tournament in the American capital is glass-walled and offers an array of pastimes: day beds, desktop computers, Jenga, and in one corner, cornhole.

The beanbag-tossing game, a staple of professional tennis, helps fill tedious hours between practices, the gym and matches. Competitors stand eight metres from a rectangular box and loft beanbags into a grapefruit-sized target.

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CANADA DRAWS JAPAN IN FIRST ROUND OF 2015 DAVIS CUP

The International Tennis Federation determined Thursday that the Canadian Davis Cup team will play Japan at home in the first round of the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group. The official draw for the 2015 World Group was conducted Thursday evening from the ITF Annual General Meeting in Dubai. The first round ties will take place from March 6-8, 2015.
 
The tie will be a re-match of their first-round clash from earlier this year when Japan defeated a depleted Canadian squad 4-1 to reach the Davis Cup World Group quarter-finals for the first time in its history. Canada was missing its top two singles players in Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil due to injury. Because the two countries competed in Japan the last time they played, the 2015 first round will take place in Canada. The host city and venue will be determined at a later date. Japan holds a 6-0 record over Canada, with their previous meeting prior to 2014 coming back in 1938. Canada is the seeded team in this tie with a ranking of No. 9, while Japan is ranked No. 12.

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Doubles Description: Zimonjic/Nestor

They have been the Bryans’ close rivals on the court in recent years, but can Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic trump the American twins on the doubles description game. Nestor certainly brought plenty of intensity to the team, but is it enough?

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Daniel Nestor wins Madrid Masters tennis title with partner Nenad Zimonjic

Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic won their second Madrid Masters doubles title, beating Americans Bob and Mike Bryan 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday.

The 58-minute victory ended the Americans’ win streak at 24 matches with titles at their last five events.

“Today we played amazing, that was the most important thing,” said Nestor. “We played well on a big occasion when it really mattered.”

Nestor, 41, from Toronto, claimed his fifth trophy in the Spanish capital after capturing it three times with Mark Knowles of the Bahamas (2002, 2004, 2009). He has won the last two (‘09, ‘14) with Zimonjic.

Nestor and his Serbian partner have won 26 titles together, including two this year. They won in Sydney in January and have lost in the final in Dubai and Barcelona on clay.

Nestor also won the Brisbane title alongside Mariusz Fyrstenberg in the opening week of the season.

Nestor moved into third in all-time titles with 84, trailing Mike Bryan (100) and Bob Bryan (98). Nestor appeared in his 139th doubles final.

The victory was redemption for Nestor and Zimonjic after losing to the Bryans in a Monte Carlo semifinal, their only other previous meeting this year with the top-ranked Americans.

“I can’t complain about a fifth trophy here,” said Nestor, “We’ve had a couple of chances to win titles this year but we didn’t play well on those opportunities.

“We got ahead early against them today, that is the key, They are such great front-runners. It’s important to lead or at least stay close. We had some tough situations but we fought through them. We’ve been resilient all year. It’s nice to play our best match in the final.”

Nestor said the 800-metre Madrid altitude has always been good for him. Up next for Nestor and his partner will be an event in Rome, the last major tuneup prior to the French Open, which begins May 25.

“I have a lot of experience at altitude form South American Davis Cup matches,” said Nestor. “It will be an adjustment next week to get back to sea level but there is nothing better than playing matches and winning them.

“This is the best situation possible going into a grand slam. We have huge confidence, we really put it together this week with four really good matches. It’s a good sign going forward.”


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ATP World Tour Uncovered Nestor Zimonjic

ATP World Tour Uncovered profiles the reunited duo of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, who are looking to rekindle previous successes in 2014.

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Canada's Daniel Nestor and partner advance to French Open quarter-finals

Canadian Daniel Nestor and longtime partner Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia are relying on their veteran savvy at the French Open.

Nestor and Zimonjic reached the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam tournament on Saturday with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over 13th seeds Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Romania's Horia Tecau.

"The best thing we're doing is playing very consistent," said Nestor. "When we are down or in tough situations, we don't get emotional, this is our strength right now.

The victory in just under 90 minutes puts the third seeds up against the winner from Austrian Jurgen Melzer and Spain's Feliciano Lopez versus Croatia's Marin Draganja and Florin Mergea of Romania. That match is scheduled for Sunday.

"It still one match at a time," said Nestor. "If we play the way we have, we have as good a chance as anyone to win the tournament."

Tecau proved to be the weak link on Saturday, with the Romanian losing serve once per set as Nestor and Zimonjic won their 11th consecutive match on clay.

The pair came to Paris with trophies in Madrid and Rome; Nestor has won the French doubles title four times since 2007.

Tecau was broken in the ninth game of the first set and in the penultimate game of the second, with the 41-year-old Nestor from Toronto serving out the win and Zimonjic clinching victory with a poached cross-court winner.

"We're playing well for sure, but there's been a lot of luck involved," said Nestor. "We've won a lot of close matches and hit some lucky shots. But we're on a roll and that's what happens sometimes."

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Nestor rolling into Roland Garros

Daniel Nestor joins Caroline Cameron to discuss the upcoming French Open and whether Milos Raonic or Eugenie Bouchard will be the first to win a Grand Slam.

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NESTOR, ZIMONJIC WIN DOUBLES TITLE AT ITALIAN OPEN

Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic claimed a second consecutive clay-court title Sunday as they won the Italian Open 6-4, 7-6 (2) over Dutchman Robin Haase and Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

The victorious sixth seeds backed up their Madrid trophy of last weekend with Masters 1000 success at the Foro Italico, claiming the title in 84 minutes with eight aces and three breaks of serve.

The pair have now won 27 trophies as a team. They lifted their first of 2014 in January in Sydney and added Madrid and Rome to head into the French Open starting next weekend as favourites.

"We're playing mentally tough right now," said Nestor. "We've faced a lot of good opponents but we've found a way to win with all the ups and downs.

"On clay there are a lot of momentum chances. We've been doing a good job of playing relaxed on clay, a lot of momentum chances, doing a good job of playing relaxed and staying with our game plan. We'v been playing well these last few weeks and we are confident going to Paris."

Toronto's Nestor has won four Roland Garros titles since 2007, the last one two years ago with former partner Max Mirnyi of Belarus.

"It's always nice to go back to back, especially the way we've been winning." said Nestor. "We've shown a lot of resilience. We are dealing well with any situation on court, that's a feeling going into a grand slam. We hope to keep this up in Paris, but nothing is easy. If we stay mentally strong, we give ourselves a chance to win (in Paris).

"We'll continue training, we have to adjust to longer matches. We'll keep building and try to be as ready as possible for Roland Garros."

Nestor, 41, now owns 85 doubles titles from 140 finals and remains in third place in the post-1968 Open era doubles title leaderboard behind Mike Bryan (100) and Bob Bryan (98).

Nestor and Zimonjic came back quickly after Nestor was broken in the third game of the match, recovering the break for 3-3. They earned the set after 36 minutes with a concluding break.

Zimonjic lost serve early in the second set but two double-faults from Lopez set up break-back points, which were converted for 2-2.

Nestor's team hung onto their clay momentum as the set moved into a tiebreaker. They earned the victory on the first of four match points.

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