Davis Cup start times changed to avoid late finishes

The Associated Press

MADRID (AP) -- Organizers at the Davis Cup Finals are switching to earlier start times to minimize the chance of late finishes.

The change comes after the series between Italy and the United States ended at 4:04 a.m. local time on Thursday, the second latest finish in the history of tennis. Only a few hundred people were present when the Americans clinched the victory in the final doubles match.

The morning and afternoon sessions have been brought forward 30 minutes, with the new start times set for 10:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) and 5:30 p.m. (1630 GMT). In addition, the time between the first and second singles matches will be reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes, and the doubles match has to start within 30 minutes of the second singles.

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Thursday's quarterfinal between Australia and Canada was still set to start at 6 p.m. local time.

Players and fans had already complained about the late finishes after other matches finished well past midnight. Some three-match series took nearly nine hours to conclude, going well into the later sessions and causing long delays.

In the revamped Davis Cup format, teams are facing each other in three best-of-three-set matches on the same day. Previously, the ties were decided over three days with five matches of best-of-five sets.

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