Kazakhstan d. Austria 3-1
The best Davis Cup team money can buy, Kazakhstan defeated Austria, clinching in the first singles match on Sunday when Andrey Golubev defeated Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer in four sets after dropping the first set. The Kazakhs took a 2-0 lead after Day 1 when Golubev beat Andreas “Don’t Be a” Haider-Maurer in straights, and Evgeny Korolev defeated Melzer in straights. Austria got on the board in doubles when Julian Knowle and Alexander Peya defeated Golubev and Yuriy Schukin in straights. The final dead rubber singles wasn’t played at the Kazakhstan National Tennis Center in Astana on the red dirt. Kazakhstan will now host the Czechs in the quarterfinals.
Czech Republic d. Switzerland 3-2
Former world No. 1 Roger Federer does his annual skip-and-defend (skip the first round, hope your team wins), and now will have to play to keep Switzerland from falling out of the World Group later this year. Swiss Stan Wawrinka won the opening singles against Lukas Rosol, but it was all Czech from then on as Tomas Berdych took control of the tie, winning his first singles over Swiss Henri Laaksonen (?!?), the doubles with Rosol over Wawrinka-Marcos Chiudinelli 24-22 in the fifth set, then his second singles over Wawrinka in four sets. Thanks Rog, from the Swiss team, and the Czech team. The Czechs will next travel to Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals.
Canada d. Spain 3-1
The Canucks advanced out of the first round of the Davis Cup World Group for the first time — ever — when they defeated Spain’s “B” team in the first singles on Sunday when Milos “The Missile” Raonic defeated Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to put Canada in the second round where they will next host Italy. Spain was the top seed in the 2013 Davis Cup competition, but was without the “injured”(?) Rafael Nadal (who is playing next week) and Nicolas Almagro, and without David Ferrer and Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, who reportedly both took a pass on the tie. On Friday Raonic opened with a four-set victory over Spain’s Albert Ramos.
Serbia d. Belgium 3-2
Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki teamed to whitewash the Belgians 3-0 in singles and doubles. Troicki beat Belgian David Goffin, Djokovic defeated Olivier Rochus, and the Serbians topped Darcis and Ruben Bemelmans in doubles.
France d. Israel 5-0
The high-powered French team of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, and Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau blow out the Israeli team of Dudi “Where’s My Car?” Sela, Amir Weintraub, Jonathan Erlich and Noam Okun. France will next play at Argentina.
Argentina d. Germany 5-0
Not unlike Spain, few teams can go into Argentina on the red clay and come out with a win, and a Tommy Haas-less German team is no exception. Argentina’s Juan Monaco and Carlos Berlocq in singles, and David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos in doubles, blank Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer, and Tobias Kamke/Christopher Kas in doubles. Argentina will next host France in the quarterfinals.
Italy d. Croatia 3-2
Marin Cilic kept the Croats in it on Sunday, defeating Andreas Seppi in straight sets in the opener on Sunday, but Italy’s Fabio Fognini proved the hero in the fifth and deciding match, defeating Ivan Dodig in four sets after dropping the opener 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
U.S. tied with Brazil 2-2
In a stunning turn, the U.S. doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan failed to close out a 2-0 lead for the U.S. on Saturday, then Thomaz Bellucci evened the tie at 2-2 with a five-set win over a fatigued John Isner on Sunday. In the decider, American Sam Querrey put the home fans on the edge of their seats by losing the first set before defeating Brazil’s Thiago Alves in four sets. The U.S. will host Serbia in April in the quarterfinals.
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