Spain d. Austria 4-1
Except for a hiccup in the doubles, Spain rolls over Austria at home on clay. Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer didn’t surrender a set on Friday against Jurgen Melzer and Andreas Haider-Maurer respectively, and Ferrer finished it on the Sunday opener with a straight-set win over Melzer. Austrians Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya extended the tie to Sunday after a four-set doubles win over Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.
“I’m really happy to have won both my matches and that Spain are in the semifinals again,” said Ferrer, now 14-0 in career Davis Cup matches on clay. “I played with confidence and in the important moments I think I played better than him.”
USA d. France 3-2
The U.S. continued to prove they are no longer “dead fish” on red clay, topping France on the dirt in Monte Carlo to advance to a semifinal meeting at Spain without No. 1 singles player Mardy Fish. Big-hitting John Isner did most of the damage, sandwiching singles wins between a Bryan brothers doubles victory to clinch the tie. In the first singles on Sunday, Isner served and hit France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga off the court to end the encounter in four sets, 3-1 in matches for the U.S.
“I like playing on clay,” said Isner, who leads the U.S. into the semifinals for the first time in four years. “I played three of my best matches this year, my best wins have come on clay.” The Bryan brothers on Saturday defeated Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra in straight sets. U.S. rookie Ryan Harrison lost to Tsonga in four sets on the opening days, and in straight sets to Gilles Simon on Sunday in the dead rubber.
Czech Republic d. Serbia 4-1
The absence of Serb world No. 1 Novak Djokovic loomed large as the Czechs defended their home red clay over the weekend, clinching the tie 3-1 over the visiting Serbs in Prague.
After splitting the first two singles on Friday, Czechs Tomas Berdych and Radek “The Worm” Stepanek captured the Saturday doubles in straight sets, and Berdych clinched it in the first match on Sunday with a three-tiebreak straight-set win over Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
Argentina d. Croatia 4-1
Juan Martin del Potro won two singles matches and David Nalbandian/Eduardo Schwank captured the doubles as Argentina moved into the semifinals against the Czech Republic. Marin Cilic kept the Croatians in it on day one with a five-set win over Nalbandian, but del Potro’s wins over Ivo Karlovic and Cilic, both in straight sets, turned the tide.
“The crowd was very important,” del Potro said. “It’s always amazing when you get a victory to go through, in your country. We have a good team this year to fight for the Davis Cup.”
Serena Williams Rolls to WTA Charleson Title
Serena Williams pounded Czech Lucie Safarova 6-0, 6-1 in the final of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, winning her 40th career title and the first in seven months.
It is only the fourth career claycourt title for the younger Williams sister, and the second in Charleston. She improved to 39-15 in career finals, while Safarova dropped to 4-7, losing her last five.
“I definitely want to continue this,” Williams said of her fine play, but saying she could play better, as usual. “The scary thing is I could have served so much better. It’s motivating for me to go home and work harder, because I know Lucie and Sam [Stosur] and everyone is going to work hard, too. Now they know what to expect even more when they play me. This is a battle, and I want to continue to win.”
Safarova rebounded to win the doubles title with Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, defeating Medina Garrigues/Shvedova in a third-set match tiebreak.
“It’s amazing,” Safarova said. “Nastia and I got our first wildcard in Miami and made the quarters, and here we got our second wildcard and won it. I like doubles. I really enjoy playing doubles and it seems we fit as partners.”
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