It was a great Saturday for home teams in doubles matches at Buenos Aires, Middelkerke and London. Argentina’s doubles team of Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer played inspired tennis to defeat Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki to enter the semifinals. For a place in the final, they will clash with Belgium, who were the first team into the semifinals. At Middelkerke, Belgium’s doubles team of Kimmer Coppejans and Ruben Bemelmans beat Canadians Daniel Nestor and Adil Shamasdin in four sets in a result that saw the country’s best ever performance in the competition’s current format. In London Andy and Jamie Murray made it 2-1 for Great Britain after a poor start against Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In Australia, the contest is down to the last reverse singles between Lleyton Hewitt and Aleksandr Nedovyesov after Sam Groth defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in the first rubber early on Sunday.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina defeated Serbia in the doubles rubber to take an assailable 3-0 lead and signed themselves in to the semifinals. Egged on by roaring spectators, Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer humbled their Serbian opponents Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 28 minutes. Mayer partnering Berlocq was a masterstroke from captain Daniel Orsanic as the two combined well to finish in quick time for the first Davis Cup doubles win of their careers. Berlocq/Mayer held a break point against Serbians in the opening game of first set but Zimonjic survived. However, four games later, Troicki served wretchedly to yield three break points to Argentina. After obtaining this break, Argentina broke again to take a 5-2 lead and sealed the set in the next service game. Troicki lost his service early in the second set and Serbia looked down on the barrel. That one break was enough for Berlocq/Mayer to seal the second set. In the third, the fight went out of the Serbians as they won a solitary point to hand over victory to the Argentinians. In September, the four-time Davis Cup finalists will travel to Belgium, who also reached the semifinals by beating Canada.
Belgium reached World Group semifinal for the first time since 1999 after Kimmer Coppejans and Ruben Bemelmans defeated the Canadian combo of Daniel Nestor and Adil Shamasdin 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 at Middelkerke. Bemelmans and Coppejans stood up well against their more accomplished opponents. In the first set, the opening two games went on serves but in the next two, the teams traded breaks. The set went on serves until 5-5 but in the 11th game, the Belgians found the break with an aggressive net-play from Coppejans. After pocketing the set 7-5, Bemelmans/Coppejans lost the second set 3-6 as Nestor/Shamasdin applied pressure. However, Bemelmans/Coppejans regrouped themselves and broke early to lead 5-2 in the third set. When everything seemed lost, the Canadian found a break to make it 5-4 and headed for 5-5 with Nestor’s service coming up. The Belgians were not about to give up. They broke the Canadian’s service in the 10th game and entered the semifinal with a creditable doubles’ victory.
In London, Great Britain’s doubles team of Andy and Jamie Murray fought back from a set down to defeat France’s Nicolas Mahut and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to take a vital 2-1 lead ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles. The Murray brothers played together as doubles partners for the first time since March 2013 after captain Leon Smith decided to replace Dominic Inglot with Andy Murray. France also brought Tsonga in place of Richard Gasquet. The brothers started poorly and lost the opening set 4-6 after being broken in the first game. In the second set, the Britons collected themselves and got lucky, when a hawk-eye challenge provided a turning point in the fourth game. The brother kept the momentum and won the second set 6-3. The third set went on serves until 5-5, when Andy Murray had a huge fall. After medical attention, however, he looked okay as the match proceeded. The third set moved to tiebreak and the Murray brothers held their nerves to win at 7-5. With a 2-1 set lead, the Murrays never looked back as they won point after point in the fourth set to finish with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-1 victory. On Sunday, Andy Murray will have a chance to make history, when he takes on Gilles Simon. In the other singles match, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will face James Ward.
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