The table is set for the Sept. 14-16 Davis Cup semifinals which will feature the defending champion and the winningest country in Davis Cup history.
France d. Italy 3-1
Lucas Pouille was the hero for the defending-champion French over the weekend. Pouille won the first singles 6-1 in the fifth over Andreas Seppi, then clinched in the first singles on Sunday, defeating Fabio Fognini from a set down 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(3), 6-3.
Fognini had the lone point for the Italians, beating Jeremy Chardy in four sets on day one. The team of Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut won the doubles point for France, easing past Simone Bolelli/Fognini in straight sets.
“We knew that before coming here it would be a tough tie,” Pouille said. “Now we are going to try and go on and defend our title.”
Spain d. Germany 3-2
Rafael Nadal in his return from injury and David Ferrer needed their all to edge past Germany in the fifth and final match, where Ferrer defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-5.
Alexander Zverev put Germany ahead 1-0 with an opening straight-set win over Ferrer, but Nadal tied it 1-1 after beating Kohlschreiber in straights. Germany went ahead again after he doubles when Tim Puetz/Jan-Lennard Struff edged Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez 7-5 in the fifth. Nadal dominated Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in the first match on Sunday to force the decider, where Ferrer upheld his reputation as the ultimate grinder.
USA d. Belgium 3-0
No shot for the defending finalist Belgians without top two players David Goffin and Steve Darcis, who were sidelined with injury. Nonetheless the Belgians made it interesting against a U.S. squad that struggled in two of the three matches in Nashvile, Tenn.
John Isner opened with a 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(8), 6-4 victory against Davis Cup debutante Joris De Loore, then Sam Querrey was strong in a straight-set win over Ruben Bemelmans. The Belgians then rolled out another pair of players making their Davis Cup debut, Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen, who led the match for almost two sets before falling to Ryan Harrison/Jack Sock 5-7, 7-6(1), 7-6(3), 6-4.
Croatia d. Kazakhstan 3-1
Marin Cilic started and finished on the right foot for the home Croatians on indoor clay, straight-setting Dmitry Popko in the first singles, then in Sunday’s opening singles straight-setting Mikhail Kukushkin to clinch.
Kukushkin posted his country’s lone point when he upset Borna Coric 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 in the second singles on Friday to even the tie at 1-1. Croats Ivan Dodig/Nikola Mektic won the Saturday doubles, defeating Timur Khabibulin/Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
In the September semifinals France will host Spain, and Croatia will host the U.S.
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