Argentina, France, Serbia make Davis Cup quarters
Argentina and France won with a day to spare on Saturday to set up a Davis Cup quarter-final in April.
Argentina and France won with a day to spare on Saturday to set up a Davis Cup quarter-final in April. Serbia also led their first-round tie by an unbeatable 3-0 after beating Belgium in doubles in Charleroi. The Serbians awaited the winner in Jacksonville, Florida, where the United States led Brazil 2-1.
Also, Austria won the doubles to stay alive against Kazakhstan, and Italy led Croatia in Turin for the first time after winning a four-set doubles. Canada had a chance late to upset a depleted Spain in Vancouver.
France's Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra didn't drop serve as they dispatched Israel's makeshift pair of Jonathan Erlich and Dudi Sela 7-6 (3), 6-1, 6-0 in Rouen.
Following a first victory on debut as captain, Arnaud Clement had a dilemma on his hands for the quarter-final in Argentina. Gael Monfils, who played with Clement in France's 5-0 sweep of Argentina in the 2010 semi-finals, should be available.
"I have a lot of questions to ask myself before the next match, and it's really a luxury to have all of the questions," Clement said.
Argentina has never beaten France, but it has a formidable record at home that Germany came to realize. David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos wrapped up the win in Buenos Aires by defeating Germany's Christopher Kas and Tobias Kamke 6-1, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
Locals believed that without absent star Juan Martin del Potro that Argentina was at risk of losing, despite beating Germany in the first round last year. The stalwart Nalbandian believed otherwise.
"We showed we are a tough team to beat at home, and that we have great players," he said.
Viktor Troicki rebounded from his five-set singles win from two sets down on Friday to partner Nenad Zimonjic to a win over Belgian duo Ruben Bemelmans and Steve Darcis 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Troicki put in nearly 7 hours on the clay court in Charleroi to help Serbia advance, then went to hospital for a scan on a hamstring.
In Geneva, Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol needed 13 match points to subdue Stanislas Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 24-22 in the longest Davis Cup match ever. The record was held by John McEnroe's win over Mats Wilander in 6:22 in 1982.
The fifth set, also featuring the most games ever, took 215 minutes alone. The previous best was 23-21 in a Brazil-Israel doubles in 1957. Berdych and Wawrinka, who won their singles on Friday, are set to face off in the first reverse singles on Sunday.
"I feel physically and mentally tired," Wawrinka said.
Bob and Mike Bryan, the Americans' trump card for a decade, failed to close out Brazil when they lost a Davis Cup doubles for the only the third time in 23 matches, and for the first time in five years.
Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares beat the twins 7-6 (6), 6-7 (7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The US will still be favoured to prevail on Sunday, when John Isner leads off against Thomaz Bellucci.
Alexander Peya and Julian Knowle kept Austria's hopes up and prevented Kazakhstan from securing the tie in winning the doubles over Andrey Golubev and Yuriy Schukin 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (3) in Astana.
Italy, which lost the opening rubber, beat Croatia in doubles to lead 2-1. Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli took 3 hours, 17 minutes to beat Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (11). Italy are trying to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since it won the cup in 1998.