The four World-Group quarterfinal games ended the second day with an identical score-line of 2-1 for the leaders. However, Saturday’s doubles victories by Great Britain, France, Argentina and Croatia have given these nations an edge at this stage. Of these four, only Croatia trail USA and will need to win both reverse singles on Sunday. After Kyle Edmund began with the win in the first singles match at Belgrade, Serbia squared up by taking the second singles but Britain won the crucial doubles tie to hold an advantage. The same results came in the matches between Argentina/Italy and France/Czech Republic. However, USA had won both their singles on first day at Portland and can lose only if Croatia wins both reverse singles on the last day.
At Belgrade, Kyle Edmund began Britain’s campaign with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over Janko Tipsarevic. But the other singles match had to deferred to Saturday because of rains. However, when the proceedings got underway on Saturday, Serbia squared things up with Dusan Lajovic defeating James Ward 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. That result made the doubles tie crucial for both nations. Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray faced Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic/Nenad Zimonjic. The British pair began with an easy 6-1 first set victory but lost the second 6-7 in the tiebreak. Inglot/Murray raised their game in the next two sets and came out winners at 6-1, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 and put Great Britain 2-1 ahead. In Sunday’s reverse singles, the defending champion will need to win just one tie to enter their second consecutive semifinals.
At Pesaro, hosts Italy began with a loss in the first singles tie against Argentina. Federico Delbonis defeated Andreas Seppi 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 but Fabio Fognini brought them at 1-1 with a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Juan Monaco. The doubles tie on Saturday was closely fought and went to five sets before Guido Pella/Juan Martin del Potro outlasted Fabio Fognini/Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 7-6, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4. With a 2-1 lead, Argentina look better placed in Sunday’s reverse singles.
At Trinec, Lukas Rosol stunned Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the marathon first singles match. Rosol took the first set at 6-4 but Tsonga bounced back to take the next two. The fourth went to tiebreak and Rosol edged out Tsonga before also taking the final set for a 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 win. In the next singles tie, France leveled the scores, when Lucas Pouille defeated Jiri Vesely 7-6, 6-4, 7-5. However, in a tightly contested doubles tie on Saturday, Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut defeated Lukas Rosol/Radek Stepanek 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. With Tsonga playing in one of the reverse singles on Sunday, France look the favorites for the semifinal spot.
At Portland, Jack Sock and John Isner won the two singles matches on Friday to take USA 2-0 ahead. Sock lost the first two sets but improved later against Marin Cilic. In the match between two big servers, Sock came through with a 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Later another big-server, John Isner ensured a 2-0 lead for USA by beating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. However, Croatia took the crucial doubles tie on Saturday, when the pair of Ivan Dodig/Marin Cilic defeated the Bryan Brothers; Mike & Bob 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. Though Croatia tails USA 1-2, they have the capability of causing a surprise on Sunday since Marin Cilic and Borna Cilic will not be easy to beat.
In a Group I Asia/Oceania second round match against South Korea at Chandigarh, India took an assailable 3-0 lead on Saturday after Rohan Bopanna/Leander Paes won the doubles tie by defeating South Korea’s Hong Chung/Seong Chan Hong 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. On Friday, India led 2-0 by winning both singles. World no.150 Saketh Myneni had reached the score of 5-2 against Yong-Kyu Lim in the fifth set, when the Korean retired. The final score was 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 5-2 in the Indian’s favor. In the next singles match, Davis Cup debutant world no.217 Ramkumar Ramanathan also won when his Korean counterpart Seong Chan Hong retired in the fourth set with scores reading 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-5. With this victory, India have reached the world group play-off stage and their next match in September 2016 will be either against China or Uzbekistan.
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