Czech Republic d. Kazahkstan 3-1
No Berdych, no problem for the Czech Republic, as Lukas Rosol and Jan Hajek led their team to a confident victory over Kazakhstan on the road. The Czechs won all 3 singles rubbers, including a pair of 4 set wins by Rosol over Andrey Golubev and Evgeny Korolev. Hajek won the 1st rubber over Mikhail Kukushkin but the Kazaks were able to extend the tie into Sunday by winning the saturday doubles rubber with Yuriy Schukin and Golubev over Radek Stepanek and Hajek. A dead 5th rubber was not played.
Argentina d. France 3-2
Argentina stepped up big to upset France with it all coming down to a 5th rubber. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got the French off to a good start with a win over Carlos Berlocq in 5 close sets, but Juan Monaco fired back with a straight sets win over a hobbled Gilles Simon. In the 3rd doubles rubber, David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos teamed up to take out Julian Benneteau and Michael Llodra (who produced some Google worthy antics of his own). On Sunday, Tsonga rolled over Monaco to keep the French in it, but it was Berlocq who would come up big clinching the tie over Gilles Simon in 4 sets.
Argentina will meet the defending champs the Czech Republic next round.
Serbia d. USA 3-1
The US DC team just didn’t have enough to beat Serbia this time. Novak Djokovic got a pair of wins, the first over John Isner and the latter a tie-clinching 4th rubber win over Sam Querrey. Against Querrey, Djokovic rolled on his ankle very early in the 1st set and was hobbled considerably throughout the match, but still dispatched a collapsing Querrey easily enough. Querrey did beat Viktor Troicki in 5 sets in the 2nd rubber.
The real key may well have been the doubles rubber as Nenad Zimonjic and the unheralded Illija Bozoljac toppled the Bryan Brothers 15-13 in the 5th set in a record setting US DC doubles match. A dead 5th rubber was not played.
Canada d. Italy 3-1
Canada rode their rocket Milos Raonic to the Davis Cup semis with Raonic winning both his singles rubbers, including the clinching 4th rubber over Andreas Seppi. This was preceded by a win over Fabio Fognini on Friday. Also coming up big were Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil who won the doubles rubber over Daniele Bracciali and Fognini 15-13 in the 5th. Pospisil fell to Seppi in 5 sets in the 1st rubber, Seppi coming back from 2 sets to love down.
In other action outside the world group, into the world group playoffs are Great Britain, who shocked Russia 3-2 and came back from 0-2 down after Friday singles. They needed a massive performance from futures level player Dan Evans, who has a noted history of showing up big in Davis Cup. Evans won the key 5th rubber after losing a 5 set 1st rubber against Dmitry Tursunov. James Ward also helped the comeback with a 5 set win over Dmitry Tursunov in the 4th rubber after losing his 1st singles match against Evgeny Donskoy in 5 sets.
Poland beat South Africa 3-1, while Ukraine had a bit of trouble against a pesky Swedish team but did manage to get the job done 3-2. The Netherlands also blanked Romania 5-0.
Japan beat Korea 3-2, Australia got past Uzbekistan 3-1, Colombia whitewashed Uruguay 5-0, and Ecuador toppled Chile 3-2. All those winning teams will also be in the playoffs against the various losing teams of the World Group 1st round.
As for the DC dream team of the week, Evans, Bozolijac, Nestor and Berlocq with Rosol and Raonic as alternates would make quite a formidable DC team.
Del Po defends Estoril title, Kohlschreiber takes Munich, Seppi wins 2nd career title in Belgrade
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Juan Martin Del Potro successfully defended his title in Estoril, taking out 2 seed Richard Gasquet in the final, 6-4 6-2.
Del Potro cruised through his week in Estoril taking out Rui Machado, Albert Montanes and Stanislas Wawrinka in succession before finishing off Gasquet, who had beaten Paolo Lorenzi, Daniel Munoz-De La Nava and Albert Ramos to reach the final.
Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands took the doubles title over Austrian Julian Knowle and Spaniard David Marrero, 7-5 7-5.
Phillip Kohlschreiber captured the 2nd Munich title of his career (the other being in 2007) taking out Marin Cilic, 7-6 6-3. Kohlschreiber, the 4 seed and one of the home favorites, took out Ernest Gulbis, Marinko Matosevic and Feliciano Lopez, the 2 seed in 3 sets, to reach the final.
Cilic, the 3 seed, who continues to improve in his comeback efforts, took out ATP Bucharest semi-finalist Matthias Bachinger, Mikhail Youzhny and surprise semi-finalist Tommy Haas. Haas brought back memories of the past in his upset of top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier in the week, along with a victory over Marcos Baghadatis and a 1st round drubbing of countryman Michael Berrer.
Top seeds Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek, of the Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively, won the doubles title over Xaiver Malisse and Dick Norman of Belgium, 6-4 7-5.
Andreas Seppi won his 2nd career ATP World Tour title with a 6-3 6-2 victory over surprise finalist Benoit Paire of France. The Italian, Seppi, who was seeded 2nd, took out Ivan Dodig, Gilles Muller and 4 seed David Nalbandian in 3 sets to reach the final.
Paire upset 6 seed and ATP Bucharest finalist Fabio Fognini in the 1st round and followed it up with 3 set victories over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 3 seed Jarkko Niemenen and top seed Pablo Andujar to reach the final.
Israeli Danger Duo Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram won the Belgrade doubles title over Martin Emmrich and Andreas Siljestrom.
Davis Cup Weekend Recap
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Spain d. Austria 4-1
The Spanish Armada started off hot and finished strong, crushing the men in red with Nicolas Almagro notching a straight sets win over Austrian workhorse Jurgen Melzer and David Ferrer also taking out Austrian no. 2 Andreas Haider-Maurer in straights on Friday.
The Austrians only victory in the tie was in the doubles rubber where Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya were able to beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in 4 long sets. Any semblance of hope for the Austrians after the doubles win on Saturday was quickly erased by David Ferrer though, who beat Melzer in straights, followed by Almagro beating Peya in the dead rubber, and the Spanish cruise in the semis where they will face the USA at home.
USA d. France 3-2
John Isner carried the weekend for the US, taking out Gilles Simon in 3 sets on Friday and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 4 sets today to clinch the tie for the US. The Bryans also came up big for the US, winning the doubles rubber over Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra in straights on Saturday. The only weak link for the Americans was fill in Ryan Harrison, who lost both his matches, first to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who temporarily put the French up 1-0 early on in the tie on Friday, and later to Gilles Simon in the dead 5th rubber today.
It’s another big clay court and Davis Cup win for Isner, who is back in the top 10 again and will certainly be counted on to lead the US against Spain in the semis, which will most certainly be on clay as well. With the way Isner is playing right now, he is being mentioned by many as a possible French Open dark horse as well. It’s another Davis Cup disappointment for the French, though, who lost at home on their preferred surface in what was the final tie for their retiring captain Guy Forget. Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, who is back in the top 5 now, also heads into the Monte Carlo masters in a week disappointed.
Czech Republic d. Serbia 4-1
The Czechs took out the Serbians in Prague with victories by Tomas Berdych over a slumping Viktor Troicki in straights on Friday, a doubles victory by Berdych and Radek Stepanek on Saturday and a tie clinching victory by Berdych over Serbian no. 1 Janko Tipsarevic In straights today. Lukas Rosol beat Troicki today in straights in the dead rubber as well. This tie also got a lot of attention for what happened on Friday between Radek Stepanek and Janko Tipsarevic. Tipsarevic evened up the tie for a time beating Stepanek in a thrilling 5 sets 5-7 6-4 6-4 4-6 9-7, but it was a very cut throat match and at the end of Tipsarevic and Stepanek looked like they were going to have a physical altercation after an angry Stepanek flipped Tipsarevic the bird and called him a derogatory name. The drama continued into the pressers but it appears things have been sorted out between to the two guys and luckily (or unluckily depending on your disposition) no physical fighting occurred. The Czechs move on to face Argentina in the semis.
Argentina d. Croatia 4-1
The Argentines recovered from an opening rubber loss by the traditional Davis Cup top performer David Nalbandian to Croatian no. 1 Marin Cilic in a 5+ hours, 5 set, 200+ unforced errors match to beat the Croatians in Buenos Aires. Juan Martin Del Potro notched a straight sets win over fellow hard serving big man Ivo Karlovic in the other match on Friday, while Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank won the doubles rubber in 5 sets over Cilic and Karlovic. Del Potro closed out the tie for Argentina, beating Cilic in straights while Juan Monaco won the dead rubber over Antonio Vecic with ease.
It was a couple of huge wins for Del Potro to carry his team through, even though he was suffering from severe allergy symptoms on Friday and their were questions as to whether he would be able to play. The Argentines will face the Czechs at home in what is sure to be a blockbuster semi final match up.
In other Davis Cup ties over the weekend, Uzbekistan led by Dennis Istomin beat India 3-2 (winning all the live rubbers but losing the final 2 dead rubbers), Australia, led by Delray finalist Marinko Matosevic and Bernard Tomic swept South Korea 5-0. Israel, led by Dudi Sela, beat Portugal 3-2, a talented Belgium beat a weakened Great Britain 4-1, the Netherlands led by Robin Haase swept Romania who suffered from a player boycott due to the dismissal of former captain Andrei Pavel (you can read more about it here) 5-0 and South Africa beat Blaz Kavic and Slovenia 4-1. All the winning squads mentioned above, in addition to either Chile or Uruguay and Brazil or Colombia (ties which still have live rubbers to play today) will move onto the world group playoffs for a spot in next years Davis Cup world group.