Defending champion the Czech Republic and the U.S. won in the opening round of tennis’s Davis Cup, while 2012 runner-up Spain was ousted by Canada.
Tomas Berdych beat Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) in Geneva to give the Czechs an unassailable 3-1 lead over Switzerland in the best-of five contest. The U.S. beat Brazil 3-2 as Sam Querrey came back from a set down to beat Thiago Alves 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in Jacksonville.
Canada advanced past the opening round for the first time with a 3-2 win over Spain, which was without its top four singles players -- David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco. Milos Raonic won his second singles match of the weekend, beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in Vancouver as Canada advanced to a home quarterfinal against Italy on April 5-7.
Italy was a 3-2 victor over Croatia, while Kazakhstan beat Austria 3-1 in first-round matchups at the top team event in men’s tennis.
Serbia, France and Argentina yesterday secured quarterfinal spots by taking unassailable leads against Belgium, Israel and Germany, respectively.
The Czech Republic yesterday snapped a 1-1 tie in its match against Switzerland as Berdych and Lukas Rosol beat Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 24-22 in seven hours and two minutes. The fifth set took over 3 1/2 hours in the longest match in the competition’s history.
After Berdych’s win over Wawrinka today sent the Czechs through, Switzerland won the last singles match to make the final score 3-2.
Querrey’s decisive victory for the U.S., a record 32-time Davis Cup winner, came after John Isner had lost to Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci to tie the contest at two matches apiece.
The Americans will next face Serbia in the final eight.
Canada’s Raonic, ranked 15th in the ATP rankings, followed up his four-set win over Spain’s Albert Ramos by dropping nine games against No. 82 Garcia-Lopez, who Spanish captain Alex Corretja selected to replace Marcel Granollers an hour before the match.
Fabio Fognini won Italy’s decisive match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 against Ivan Dodig in Turin today after Croatia’s Marin Cilic had beaten Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.
Kazakhstan guaranteed victory over Austria in Astana, taking a 3-1 lead when Andrey Golubev beat Jurgen Melzer 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
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