Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2014 Contents A63
Thursday, September 11, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Having coming up short in his bid for an 18th
Grand Slam title, Roger Federer is quickly turning
his focus to the Davis Cup---a trophy still missing
from his collection.
The former top-ranked player leads Switzerland
against Italy in Geneva this weekend as his country
bids to reach the final for the first time since 1992.
France hosts two-time defending champion Czech
Republic in the other semifinal at Roland Garros, home
of the French Open.
The best-of-five series begin tomorrow with two
singles matches, followed by doubles on Saturday and
Federer leads Switzerland's
Davis Cup challenge
A CORUNA---John Degenkolb of Germany sprint-
ed to win the Spanish Vuelta s 17th stage yesterday,
while Alberto Contador kept the leader s red
jersey with four days to go.
Degenkolb edged fellow sprinting experts Michael
Matthews and Fabian Cancellara to claim the flat
191-kilometre (118.5-mile) ride from Ortigueira to
It was the fourth stage win at this Vuelta for the
"We went all in today, and in the end I was
happy to get the win," Degenkolb said. "Today,
everyone saw that the spirit is very good on our
Contador finished with his nearest challengers,
protecting his comfortable lead over Alejandro
Valverde and Chris Froome. Contador leads Valverde
by 1 minute, 36 seconds, with Froome a further
three seconds behind.
"It s certainly going to be very difficult to beat
Alberto," Froome said.
Today s stage is a 157-kilometre (97.5-mile) ride
from A Estrada to the second-category Monte Cas-
trove summit. Riders have another flat course on
Friday before Saturday s last mountain stage. The
21-stage race ends with an individual time trial in
Santiago de Compostela on Sunday. (AP)
Vuelta's 17th stage,
reverse singles on Sunday.
After his straight-set loss to eventual winner Marin
Cilic in the US Open semifinals, seven-time Wimbledon
champion Federer showed his commitment to the
Swiss team, heading back home to prepare for the
Davis Cup tie on an indoor hard court.
For years, the 33-year-old Federer did not regard
the Davis Cup as a main priority, preferring to dedicate
himself to Grand Slam events and big tournaments.
But the emergence of teammate and Australian Open
champion Stan Wawrinka as a top player has convinced
him they have a good chance of winning the prestigious
Along with Federer and Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli
and Michael Lammer complete the Swiss team, which
has never lost to Italy at home. The Italian team
includes Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi.
Swiss captain Severin Luthi said the presence of
both Federer and Wawrinka in Switzerland since the
beginning of the week helped the team to prepare.
If Switzerland wins, it will travel to France or the
Czech Republic for the final.
The French will be counting on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
and Gael Monfils to extend their good run of form
to prevent the Czech Republic from becoming the
first nation to reach three consecutive Davis Cup finals
since Australia in 1999-2001.
Tsonga lost in the fourth round at the US Open but
produced good wins over Novak Djokovic and Federer
in Toronto to win the title. Monfils advanced to the
quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows, losing to Federer
in five sets after going up two sets to one and failing
to convert two match points.
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek lead the Czech
team, which also features Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely.
Looking to extend their winning streak to 12 straight
ties, the Czechs are finding extra motivation in the
setting of their semifinal. "It s special when you come
here for a Grand Slam tournament and it s definitely
even more special for us to play here and play for our
country," Stepanek said after finding out that Roland
Garros was originally built to host Davis Cup matches.
"It s even more special to play here in the semifinals."
Roger Federer, of
Switzerland, returns a
ball, during a training
session of the Swiss
Davis Cup Team prior
to the Davis Cup World
Group Semifinal match
and Italy, at Palexpo, in
Tuesday. AP PHOTO
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