Davis Cup: Roger Federer lifts Swiss into semis
Italy, France advance
Roger Federer moved closer to adding one of the few trophies still missing from his cabinet by putting Switzerland into the Davis Cup semifinals on Sunday, while Italy and France also swept their reverse singles matches to complete come-from-behind victories.
Federer won the decisive singles match to give Switzerland a 3-2 win over Kazakhstan and a spot in the semifinals for the first time in 11 years. Federer cruised to a 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-3 victory over 64th-ranked Andrey Golubev, after teammate Stanislas Wawrinka had beaten Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to level the series.
"We're very relieved and very happy," said the 32-year-old Federer, who has never won a Davis Cup title. "It was a long weekend with a lot of tennis."
Like Switzerland, Italy and France also trailed 2-1 in their quarterfinals going into the final day but managed to turn things around.
Italy ousted Britain to reach its first semifinal in 16 years after Fabio Fognini pulled off a surprise 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray before Andreas Seppi defeated James Ward 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the decisive match.
"A great feat, a great success for all Italian tennis," said Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti, whose team will next face Switzerland in September. "It was time we got back to the semifinals. It's credit to everyone, to a team which has a great character. It was a victory of character."
Britain was looking to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1981 but Fognini ended Murray's run of 19 consecutive singles victories in the competition.
France had entered its quarterfinal against injury-hit Germany as a big favourite but had to erase a 2-0 deficit from the opening day to advance.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga cruised past Tobias Kamke 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to help France even the tie before Gael Monfils secured the winning point by defeating Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-2.
"This victory is logical and was expected, but we know nothing is logical in the Davis Cup," France captain Arnaud Clement said. "We saw some courageous Germans who played their best tennis and even played above their usual level."
France improved to 8-2 against Germany and will next face the Czech Republic, which had already secured its victory over Japan on Saturday and completed a 5-0 sweep by winning the reverse singles match as well.
Gojowczyk had surprisingly beaten Tsonga in a five-set marathon on Friday to put Germany on the brink of an upset, but never came close to repeating the feat against Monfils. The German dropped serve three times in the final set as Monfils capitalized on an unforced error from the German to convert his first match point.
"I'm very proud of their reaction after those two losses on Friday that really hurt us," Clement said. "They knew they had no room for error. Playing in such conditions is very tough. But they managed to react like men."