At the end of first round matches in the Davis Cup World Group, eight nations have reached the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament. They are; France, Great Britain, Australia, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Serbia, Canada and Belgium. The biggest off-shoot of the eight World Group matches was the defeat of the reigning Davis Cup champion Switzerland by Belgium. Another impressive performance came from Kazakhstan, who denied Italy of a quarterfinal berth by winning both reverse singles. Of the major performances in the first round, Andy Murray spiritedly led Great Britain to the victory over USA and Novak Djokovic played a stellar role in Serbia’s 5-0 whitewash of Croatia. Four teams depended on the performances of their stars in last reverse singles to advance to the quarterfinals. Canada entered the QFs after Vasek Pospisil beat Japanese Go Soeda; Belgium needed the services of the injured David Goffin, who defeated the Swiss Adrien Bossel to push out defending champion Switzerland, Argentina advanced after Federico Delbonis defeated Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci and Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov beat Fabio Fognini. In another notable result, Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer defeated Joao Souza in a match that lasted for 6 hours, 42 minutes and ended with the final set going to 15-13. Mayer and Souza’s record eclipsed the previous longest singles match in 1982 between John McEnroe and Mats Wilander that had lasted for 6 hours, 22 minutes.
With Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka abstaining, defending champion Switzerland suffered a first-round loss to Belgium. After trailing 1-2 with Sunday’s loss in the doubles tie, Switzerland bounced back to make it 2-2, when Henri Laaksonen, defeated Belgium’s Steve Darcis 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 in the first reverse singles. That made the last reverse singles a crucial match for both nations. Belgium summoned the services of their top star David Goffin, who had been sidelined due to a back injury. But Goffin shook off his handicap and defeated Adrien Bossel 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 to take Belgium into the quarterfinals.
In Glasgow, the tie between Great Britain and USA was delicately poised after the celebrated Bryan brothers took the doubles by beating Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-7, 9-7. With one more victory required, Andy Murray brought himself on against John Isner and defeated the American 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 to lead Great Britain to a passage in the quarterfinals. In the inconsequential dead rubber, Donald Young beat James Ward, who retired in the second set. The Emirates Arena in Glasgow was transformed into a joyous place as scenes of celebrations erupted. Andy Murray and his jubilant team-mates gave full vent to their pleasure by jumping up and down. For the sake of records, Britain won its last Davis Cup title in 1936 and since 1981; they have failed to reach the semifinals.
Serbia had the best result in first round matches with their 5-0 victory over Croatia. After leading 2-0 on the first day, Serbia won the doubles on Saturday and both reverse singles on Sunday. Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic were instrumental in clinching the doubles, while Filip Krajinovic and Viktor Troicki won the two dead rubbers on Sunday.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer defeated Joao Souza Davis Cup history’s longest singles match on Sunday. Mayer converted his 11th match point in the final set to win the 6-hour-42-minute marathon 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 5-7, 15-13. That performance brought Argentina level at 2-2 after they trailed 1-2 on Saturday. In Sunday’s decisive rubber, Federico Delbonis beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to ensure Argentina’s entry into the quarterfinals.
Like France and Argentina, Canada also had to wait until the last reverse single match before they could move to the quarterfinals. In Vancouver, Japan trailed 1-2 on Saturday and tied the score at 2-2, when Kei Nishikori defeated Milos Raonic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the first reverse singles. But in the deciding rubber, Vasek Pospisil beat Go Soeda 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to ensure the quarterfinal berth for the hosts.
At Ostrava, Australia also advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic. The visitors had taken a 2-0 lead on the opening day but next day, the Czech doubles team of Jiri Vesely/Adam Pavlasek defeated Samuel Groth/Lleyton Hewitt 1-6, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 to cut the deficit down to 2-1. In the first reverse singles on Sunday, Bernard Tomic beat Lukas Rosol 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 and Australia entered the quarterfinals. The dead rubber was won by Czech Republic’s Jan Mertl, who defeated Sam Groth in two sets.
Kazakhstan were the packet of surprise after trailing 1-2 on Saturday, when Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli defeated Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. In Sunday’s first reverse singles, Mikhail Kukushkin beat Andreas Seppi 7-6, 6-0, 6-4 to draw the scores level at 2-2. Afterwards in the decider, Aleksandr Nedovyesov beat Fognini 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to seal Kazakhstan’s place in the last eight.
The quarterfinals will be played during July 17-19, 2015 with France taking on Great Britain; Australia playing Kazakhstan, Argentina playing Serbia and Canada meeting Belgium.
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