Photo: Sergio LlameraCzech team celebrate
Czech Republic have set up a meeting with Spain in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final after Tomas Berdych beat Carlos Berlocq 63 63 64 to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-1 lead with one rubber to play in Buenos Aires.
Berlocq was given the unenviable task of trying to salvage the tie for Argentina after Juan Martin del Potro was ruled out of the rubber with a wrist injury which had originally threatened to keep him out of the tie altogether.
The Argentine had his chances but was unable to convert break points in either of the opening two set as the Czech No. 1 moved into a two-set lead. Berlocq did eventually break Berdych's serve in the third set but he could not capitalise and the Czech took the third set and, with it, the match and the tie.
They will be at home against Spain in the Final after the reigning champions came through their World Group semifinal with USA. Spain were 2-1 up going into the final day having won both the first singles matches but lost the doubles.
David Ferrer was given the task of booking Spain's place in the Final and he was up against John Isner, who had already beaten Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on clay in Davis Cup play this year.
Isner started well and the first set went to a tiebreak which the big-serving American won 7-3. Ferrer found his feet in the second set and broke Isner's serve before taking the set 6-3. From then on in, it was one-sided as Ferrer began to run away with it. He took the second set 6-4 and then the fourth set 6-2 to secure a win for his nation.
The Davis Cup, always so full of excitement, did not disappoint this weekend with several comebacks and turnarounds in the World Group play-offs.
Germany started the day 2-1 down and with the daunting task of trying to turn that deficit around against Bernard Tomic and Davis Cup legend Lleyton Hewitt. Florian Mayer got the day off to a good start for the hosts as he beat Tomic in straight sets 64 62 63.
That left the tie level at 2-2 and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe was up against Hewitt. It did not start well for the German as Hewitt opened up a commanding 4-0 lead in the first set. However, buoyed by the crowd, Stebe fought back and won nine games in a row to take the first set and put himself in a commanding position in the second.
Hewitt won a game but that was it as the German closed out the second set before going on to take the third and seal an historic win for Germany and condemn Australia to the Zone Group for another year.
Israel found themselves 2-1 up after a good win in the doubles but they were pegged back when Kei Nishikori, Japan's No. 1 who did not play in the first singles rubbers due to a shoulder injury, levelled proceedings by beating Dudi Sela 63 36 46 64 75. This left Amir Weintraub facing Go Soeda to decide the winner of the tie.
Weintraub was definitely considered the underdog and was ranked 170 places behind his opponent. He started well however and took the first set 6-3. Soeda fought back in the second set and forced a tiebreak, but Weintraub refused to give in and won it 7-5.
Soeda's continued his comeback and was rewarded with the third set, taking it 6-4. Weintraub, however, was not to be denied his victory and returned in the fourth set with a vengeance. He hit some excellent shots and took the set 6-3 to complete his remarkable victory and restore Israel to the World Group.
World No. 1 Roger Federer was in action as he guided Switzerland through to the World Group once again. Having recovered from a shock defeat in the doubles yesterday, the Swiss maestro was back to his best and he blew Dutchman Robin Haase away with the level of his performance, winning 61 64 64. This gave Switzerland an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Click the links below to follow the action from each World Group semifinal and play-off tie.
World Group semifinals
- Spain 3-1 USA
- Argentina 2-3 Czech Republic
World Group play-offs
- Kazakhstan 3-1 Uzbekistan
- Germany 3-2 Australia
- Japan 2-3 Israel
- Belgium 5-0 Sweden
- Canada 4-1 South Africa
- Brazil 5-0 Russia
- Italy 4-1 Chile
- Netherlands 2-3 Switzerland