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Thrilling finishes to Davis Cup ties

By Chris Pike
4 February 2013 04:58PM EST

CANADA's Milos Raonic, American Sam Querrey, Italian Fabio Fognini, Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev and Czech Tomas Berdych all won tie snatching Davis Cup singles matches on Sunday.

With Serbia already having secured its tie against Belgium on the opening two days as did France over Israel and Argentina against Germany, the other five World Group first round ties all went into the reverse singles rubbers on Sunday.

Coming off a seven-hour doubles encounter on Saturday, Czech world No. 6 Berdych and Swiss world No. 17 Stanislas Wawrinka hit the court to start off the final day's action in Geneva with Wawrinka needing to win to keep Switzerland alive.

He couldn’t do so, though, with Berdych winning 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in a tight four-set encounter that sees the defending champion Czechs advance to the Davis Cup quarter finals. The dead rubber clash then saw Swiss Henri Laaksonen beat Jiri Vesely 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 for the Czechs to win the tie 3-2.

Canada needed to win just one of its reverse singles clashes against a Spanish team missing Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Nicolas Almagro, and Raonic had no trouble securing the tie for the Canadians beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Albert Ramos then beat Frank Dancevic in a dead rubber 7-5, 6-4 but Canada won the tie in Vancouver three rubbers to two.

Italy and Croatia had two tough singles battles on Friday with Andreas Seppi and Marin Cilic victorious, and those two were pitted against one another on Sunday. The big-hitting Croat Cilic prevailed 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 to level the tie at 2-2 leading into the decider between Fognini and Ivan Dodig.

The Italian won a tight four-set battle with Fognini downing Dodig 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to send Italy into the quarter finals. It is the first time Italy will appear in the Davis Cup quarter finals since 1998.

USA pair John Isner and Querrey won their singles matches on Friday, but Brazil hit back to win the doubles on Saturday to mean the Americans still needed one reverse doubles win in Florida to wrap up the tie.

It ended up coming down to the deciding fifth rubber as well when Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci upset giant American Isner in five sets, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-3.

That left it up to Querrey and Thiago Alves to decide the tie and it was the big American who prevailed, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Kazakhstan won both its singles matches in Astana on Friday but led just 2-1 after the doubles on Saturday when Austria's Julian Knowles and Alexander Peya won in straight sets.

However, the Kazaks needed just one of the reverse singles rubbers on Sunday wrap up the tie with Andrey Golubev beating Jurgen Melzer 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

In the ties already decided going into the final day, Serbia lost both its singles matches to Belgium with David Goffin beating Boris Pasanski 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, and Steve Darcis beating Nenad Zimonjic 6-2, 6-4 as Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki sat out for the Serbs.

France continued its dominance over Israel in Rouen winning the tie 5-0 after Michael Llodra beat Noak Okum 6-3, 7-5 (5) and Richard Gasquet downed Amir Weintraub 6-4, 6-3.

Argentina also routed Germany 5-0 in Buenos Aires with Juan Monaco downing Tobias Kamke 6-4, 7-6 (2) and Carlos Berlocq beating Christopher Kas 6-2, 6-4 in the reverse singles on Sunday.

The quarter finals of the Davis Cup for 2013 will take place from April 5-7 with Canada hosting Italy, Serbia travelling to the USA, Argentina welcoming France and Kazakhstan hosting the defending champion Czech Republic.

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