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Davis Cup Round-Up: Sunday Outside the USA

Feb 2nd 2014

As the battle continues to unfold in San Diego between Team USA and Great Britain, take a look back at the other Davis Cup ties that ended on Sunday.  France, Germany, and Switzerland already booked their tickets to the quarterfinals on Saturday, but what other nations would join them?

Czech Republic 3, Netherlands 1:  Substituting Thiemo de Bakker for Robin Haase in the fourth rubber, the Dutch team saw their hopes swiftly squashed by world No. 7 Tomas Berdych.  The Czech star had demolished his first opponent on Friday in straight sets, and he dispatched de Bakker in much the same fashion.  Dropping just eight games, Berdych carried the Czech Republic to its ninth straight victory in a Davis Cup tie, setting up a battle against…

Japan 3, Canada 1:  This tie climaxed in thoroughly anticlimactic fashion.  In the fourth rubber, Kei Nishikori swept a commanding first set from Frank Dancevic and broke serve to start the second set.  Dancevic then requested a medical timeout for an apparent abdominal injury and—barely half an hour into the match—walked over to shake Nishikori’s hand, ending the tie.  Japan’s win marked its first in the World Group, but the reward is a quarterfinal against defending champions Czech Republic.  A Davis Cup semifinalist last year, Canada will know that injuries to not one, not two, but three of its singles players influenced the outcome as much as anything that happened on the court.

Fabio Fognini

Italy 3, Argentina 1:  Although Italy fielded the stronger team, this tie looked intriguing at the outset because of the strong home-court advantage that Argentina usually enjoys when hosting a tie.  To the surprise of many, that factor did not flap the easily flappable Fabio Fognini in the slightest.  After Argentina won the first rubber, Italy swept the next three with Fognini playing the hero in all of them.  Returning from a four-hour doubles match on Saturday, he regrouped to defeat Argentine No. 1 Berlocq in four sets.  The key crossroads came early in the third set with the match level at one set apiece.  Able to assert clear control at that juncture, Fognini closed out the match without ado.  Italy likely will host Great Britain in a quarterfinal on clay where they should be slightly favored.

Kazakhstan 3, Belgium 2:  This was the only tie to reach a decisive fifth rubber, and it featured plenty of twists and turns en route.  Even the five-set fourth rubber between the two No. 1s, Mikhail Kukushkin and David Goffin, did not lack plot twists.  Seemingly in control after a smooth first set, Kukushkin lost his focus with several routine errors late in the second set.  He collected himself to cruise through the third set, moving Kazakhstan to the brink of victory, only to win just four games total across the next two sets.  That blow to the morale of the hosts did not sting long, however, for Andrey Golubev crushed Ruben Bemelmans in the decisive fifth rubber for the loss of just six games.  The difference in energy may have proved crucial between a man who did not play Saturday’s doubles rubber and a man who did.  Kazakhstan will find Switzerland a far sterner and probably insurmountable test in the quarterfinals.

Stay tuned for a full recap from the San Diego site on the final day of the USA-Great Britain tie.