05 Apr 2014

Czechs into semis but three places still up for grabs

News Article

Photo: Takeo TanumaCzech Republic celebrate victory

Defending champions Czech Republic progressed once more into the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals thanks to a fine display from Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol against Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama.

"We are happy to finish today so we can play without pressure tomorrow," said Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil. "It was not easy for us. Radek and Lukas have not played doubles together too many times."

In a match which hinged on a small number of key points the Czech pair held their nerve to break serve at the end of each set in a 64 64 64 result that scored them their key third point of the weekend.

They now await the winner of the tie between France and Germany in Nancy where a back-and-forth encounter saw experienced duo Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra see off Tobias Kamke and Andre Begemann to keep the hosts alive having entered the day with a 2-0 deficit.

Kamke produced an inspired display to see off Benneteau in yesterday’s opener but the Frenchman clearly had revenge on his mind as the hosts raced into a two set lead. Despite a fight back from the German pair in the third set, Arnaud Clement’s men held on to take victory 64 76(5) 46 75 and set up an intriguing final day with the hosts needing to win both reverse singles to avoid a third straight elimination at the quarterfinal stage.

In the other half of the draw there was a shock victory for Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov to condemn Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to a fourth consecutive loss in Davis Cup doubles action.

The teams entered Saturday all square and Wawrinka looked as though he hadn’t quite recovered from yesterday’s defeat against Golubev as a series of wild shots put the 2008 Beijing gold medallists into a two set hole from which they never quite escaped.

Federer did his best to take control of the match and the tide seemed to be turning with the Swiss pair holding set points to level the match in the fourth before letting a lead slip away in a tiebreak to send the boisterous visiting fans into hysterics and on the brink of a first ever place in the semifinals.

The final quarterfinal saw Andy Murray pull a double shift to earn Britain a 2-1 lead going into the final day against Italy in Naples.

The first order of business on Saturday was the completion of the second singles rubber that had been suspended overnight due to bad light with the world No.8 holding a set advantage over Italian No.2 Andreas Seppi. It took just 75 minutes for the 2013 Wimbledon champion to wrap up the victory 64 75 63 and level the score in the tie.

Murray then declared himself fit enough to partner Colin Fleming in the doubles as Simone Bolelli was joined by Fabio Fognini, who had also been a doubt after suffering with a rib injury on Friday. The British pair took control in the opening exchanges before being pegged back and seemingly destined to be forced into a decider as they fell behind a break in the fourth.

They hit back immediately, however, and reeled off three straight games to turn the tables and secure a 63 62 36 75 victory, which means Murray can earn a first British appearance in the semifinals since 1981 if he defeats Fabio Fognini in the first reverse singles.

For a full report from each World Group quarterfinal tie please follow the links below:

Japan 0-3 Czech Republic
France 1-2 Germany
Italy 1-2 Great Britain  
Switzerland 1-2 Kazakhstan