French Line-up U.S. in Davis Cup; Kerber, Hantuchova Win Titles
Davis Cup World Group — 1st Round
SPAIN d. KAZAKHSTAN 5-0
Nicolas Almagro and former French Open champ Juan Carlos Ferrero at home on clay are too much for the Kazakhs. Spain will next host Austria in the quarterfinals.
AUSTRIA d. RUSSIA 3-2
Jurgen Melzer is the hero for Austria, beating Russian Igor Kunitsyn in five in his opener, then clinching in the first match on Sunday, rolling American-turned-Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. in straight sets. Austria is in the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals for the first time in 17 years.
FRANCE d. CANADA 4-1
The Canucks had a chance going into Sunday…until Jo-Wilfried Tsonga immediately put the stop down in the first singles match, beating Frank Dancevic in straight sets. The French will next host the U.S.
U.S. d. Switzerland 5-0
A home claycourt, GOAT Roger Federer and the Olympic gold doubles winning tandem of Federer and Stan Wawrinka made no difference in a shocker as the U.S. sweep the Swiss. The U.S. heroics were paired with sub-par play by the Swiss as Mardy Fish outlasted Wawrinka in five, John Isner beat Federer in four, and Fish-Mike Bryan defeated Federer-Wawrinka.
CZECH REPUBLIC d. ITALY 4-1
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek top the under-powered Italians in singles and doubles, closing it out 3-0 on Saturday. The Czechs will next host Serbia.
SERBIA d. SWEDEN 4-1
Even without world No. 1 Novak Djokovic the Serbs handle Sweden, who without the injured Robin Soderling could rally no singles players in the Top 300. Janko Tipsarevic wins two singles, closing it out in the first match on Sunday, and Viktor Troicki contributes a singles victory.
CROATIA d. JAPAN 3-2
The home Japanese rally on Sunday when Kei Nishikori defeats Ivan Dodig to extend the tie to a fifth and final match, but “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic is too much for challenger-level player Go Soeda of Japan, winning in straights for his third victory of the weekend. Croatia will travel to Argentina for the quarterfinals.
ARGENTINA d. GERMANY 4-1
Juan Monaco and David Nalbandian are too much for Germany in singles, and Nalbandian-Eduardo Schwank clinch in the doubles for a 3-0 sweep.
Kerber Cinderella Runs Earns WTA Paris Title
Riding the wave after upsetting No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova earlier in the week, German Angelique Kerber won her first WTA title Sunday in the final of the Open GDF SUEZ in Paris, defeating Marion Bartoli 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3.
“I knew before the match I had nothing to lose. It’s amazing,” Kerber said. “I played my first match against Maria in Australia and I think I was a little bit shocked to play her, because she’s such a great player.”
Kerber lost in her only previous final in Bogota in 2010. Bartoli, who beat Kerber in straight sets in their previous meeting, dropped to 7-10 in career finals.
“I gave everything I had and Angelique did the same,” Bartoli said. “You have to know when to accept defeat, though. It’s what sport is all about.”
Hantuchova Beats Kirilenko for WTA Pattaya City Crown
No. 3 seed Daniela Hantuchova came from a set down to defeat No. 4 Maria Kirilenko 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 to successfully defend a title for the first time in her career at the PTT Pattaya Open in Pattaya City, Thailand.
For Hantuchova it was her fifth career title, improving to 5-9 in career finals.
“It was the first time I defended a title in my career, but it’s better late than never,” Hantuchova said. “Maria and I both wanted to win the title today. She played so well and put a lot of pressure on me. Even after I lost the first set I kept fighting and never looked back, and I think I was also luckier tonight.”
Kirilenko fell to 5-5 in career finals. The Russian faced a match point in her first-round win, and in the second round overcame a 2-5 third-set deficit.
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