Monday February 4, 2013
Davis Cup: Czech ironmen win seven-hour epic as Spain hang on
PARIS: Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol won a Davis Cup doubles epic on Saturday to give defending champions Czech Republic the edge over Switzerland as 2012 finalists Spain stayed alive in Canada.
Berdych and Rosol beat Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 24-22 in the longest ever Davis Cup match, an exhausting clash which took seven hours and one minute.
The Geneva epic surpassed the previous record of six hours 22 minutes which John McEnroe needed to beat Mats Wilander 9-7, 6-2, 15-17, 3-6, 8-6 in a tie between the United States and Sweden in 1982.
Chiudinelli double-faulted on match point in a fifth set which lasted three hours 35 minutes, after he and his partner had saved 12 match points. The win gave the Czechs a 2-1 lead in the World Group clash ahead of the reverse singles with the winners to play either Kazakhstan or Austria in the quarter-finals in April.
Wawrinka, the world No. 17, is due to face Berdych, the sixth-ranked player, in the first reverse singles match.
“I have never experienced such a long tennis match. Victory tastes sweet but we still need a point,” said Berdych. “It was extremely long, but we have quite a time to recover.”
“I’m tired physically and mentally, but I’ll be ready,” said Wawrinka, his country’s top player in the absence of Roger Federer.
In Vancouver, five-time champions Spain went into doubles down 2-0 to Canada, who have never won a World Group clash. Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez kept the injury-depleted Spaniards’ hopes alive as they battled to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.
Missing Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco, Spain still faced an uphill task in the reverse games. — AFP
In stark contrast, Serbia and France cruised into the quarter-finals.
Serbia, the 2010 winners, reached the last eight for the fourth successive season when Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic, playing his 18th Davis Cup season, defeated Steve Darcis and Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to secure a 3-0 win over Belgium.
Serbia will face either the United States or Brazil for a semi-final place. — AFP