Photo: Fred MullaneMilos Raonic (CAN)
The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas semifinal line-up has been decided with three familiar faces and one nation that has broken new ground.
Argentina, Czech Republic and Serbia are through to the last four once again but Canada join thems in its first semifinal appearance since the introduction of the World Group in 1981.
The Canadians were led to victory by world No. 16 Milos Raonic, who overcame a spirited fight by Italy's Andreas Seppi to clinch the third point for the home team much to the delight of the crowd at the Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver.
Serbia sealed its spot in its third semifinal in the last four years when world No. 1 Novak Djokovic overcame a worrisome ankle injury to see off Sam Querrey in the fourth rubber of a tie arguably turned by the visitors' surprise victory over Bob and Mike Bryan in the doubles. As a result, the 2010 champions will play the Canadians in Serbia in September.
Lukas Rosol starred for Czech Republic as the defending champions booked a place in the semifinals for the fourth time in five years with victory over Kazakhstan.
Rosol had never before been afforded the chance to play, let alone win, two Davis Cup singles rubbers in one tie with both Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek above him in Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil’s pecking order. And yet given the opportunity in Astana he performed beautifully, delivering a serving masterclass to edge out Evgeny Korolev 76(5) 67(2) 76(5) 62.
The Czechs will host Argentina in a rematch of last year's semifinals after the South American side defied the individual rankings to defeat France in a decisive fifth rubber in Buenos Aires. Carlos Berlocq was the hero of the hour, ripping his shirt open in delight after winning the vital third point against Gilles Simon.
For full match reports, photos, audio interviews and match highlights click on the links below:
Canada 3-1 Italy
USA 1-3 Serbia
Argentina 3-2 France
Kazakhstan 1-3 Czech Republic