Photo: Paul ZimmerPeter Gojowczyk (GER) celebrates victory
Peter Gojowczyk produced a stunning upset to put Germany 2-0 ahead against France in Nancy as they moved within sight of a place in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals for the first time since 2007.
Tobias Kamke opened proceedings against Julien Benneteau having never previously beaten the 32-year-old Frenchman in three previous meetings. After a tight first set decided by a tiebreak the German No.1 took full command of the match to put the visitors ahead with a 76(8) 63 62 victory.
It will be world No. 119 Gojowczyk who steals the headlines, however, as he overcame Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the epic second rubber 57 76(3) 36 76(8) 86 and leave France on the brink of exiting the competition at the quarterfinal stage for the third straight year.
“When you play for your country it’s obviously something special,” said Gojowczyk. “I was cramping. I don’t know how I managed to win the match but I’m very happy to win the point for Germany.”
The heavily favoured Swiss side featuring Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer were dealt an early blow when Andrey Golubev defeated the Australian Open champion Wawrinka in four sets to give Kazakhstan an unlikely lead.
It was then left to world No.4 Federer to level the tie against Mikhail Kukushkin and send the 15,000 fans who had crammed into the Palexpo centre in Geneva somewhat relieved as he marched to a 64 64 62 triumph.
The two-time defending champions, Czech Republic, held off dogged resistance from Japan as Radek Stepanek came from a set down to defeat Tatsuma Ito, 67(5) 76(5) 61 75, prior to Lukas Rosol holding his nerve having surrendered a two set lead against Taro Daniel in a 64 64 36 46 62 score line to put them within one win of the next round.
The fourth quarterfinal taking place this weekend between Italy and Great Britain was delayed by rain before Fabio Fognini and James Ward battled it out for the opening point. The Italian No.1 fell behind early before clawing his way back to take the opening set but was unable to repeat the feat in the second set as Ward levelled the match and threatened an upset.
Fognini raised his game in the third set and accelerated to the finish line as he grew in confidence while the fight from the British No.2 fell away at the end in a 64 26 64 61 result.
Andy Murray and Andreas Seppi took to the court knowing that only a lopsided result either way would see the match finish with the light fading in Naples. Murray took the opening set but Seppi hit back in the second and saw four set points come and go in what proved to be the final game of the day as the British No.1 will return on Saturday with a 64 5-5 lead as he bids to level the tie.
For a full report from each World Group quarterfinal draw please follow the links below:
Japan 0-2 Czech Republic
France 0-2 Germany
Italy 1-0 Great Britain
Switzerland 1-1 Kazakhstan