Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 13th 2014 Contents A69
Saturday, September 13, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
GENEVA---Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka took
Switzerland close to its first Davis Cup final in 22
years after cruising to straight-sets wins in the
opening singles against Italy yesterday.
First, Federer beat 76th-ranked Simone Bolelli 7-
6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 without dropping serve to delight a
crowd of more than 18,000 at Palexpo indoor arena.
Wawrinka, the Australia Open champion, followed
up by beating Italian No 1 Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3,
6-2 in just 90 minutes.
Italy 2-0 in Davis Cup
Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a ball to Simone Bolelli, of Italy, during the first
single match of the tennis Davis Cup World Group semifinal between Switzerland and Italy
in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday. Federer won 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4. AP PHOTO
"A very good match---for once," Wawrinka joked
in an on-court interview after a rare easy win for
him in Davis Cup. "It's the ideal start but there
remains a match to win."
Federer and Wawrinka have a chance today to give
the hosts an unassailable 3-0 series lead and send
Switzerland to its first final since losing to a superstar
United States line-up in 1992. The Swiss have never
won the title.
The 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists are
scheduled to face Italian pair Andreas Seppi and
Paolo Lorenzi, though both teams suggested plans
could change. Pairings must be confirmed by 1000
Wawrinka said he and Federer---who played at the
US Open last week into the quarterfinals and semi-
finals, respectively---would discuss options with team
captain Severin Luethi.
If needed, Federer would play Fognini in the first
reverse singles match tomorrow.
In the other semifinal series, France closed in on
its first Davis Cup final since 2010 after Richard Gas-
quet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gave the hosts a 2-0
lead over two-time defending champion Czech
Opening on Roland Garros centre court, Gasquet
stormed to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over Tomas Berdych,
then France's No. 1 player, Tsonga, proved too strong
for Lukas Rosol, dispatching him 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in
Serving impeccably and limiting his mistakes to
12 unforced errors on the red clay, Gasquet justified
his selection over Gael Monfils.
"This is one of my best wins ever," said Gasquet,
who kneeled on the court after Berdych double-
faulted on match point. "The atmosphere was great,
this is the Davis Cup, at Roland Garros, and I beat
a top player."
Spurred on by the vocal French fans on a sunny
morning, Gasquet quickly found a good rhythm and
lost only five points on his serve in the first set,
breaking in the fourth game after the sixth-ranked
Berdych missed three consecutive shots.
Struggling with his forehand and moving slowly
on court, Berdych had 38 unforced errors. The former
Wimbledon runner-up was never a threat and admit-
ted he played his worst Davis Cup match.
"My body is not ready for this. I needed more time
to be fit. I need more time to be better prepared,"
said Berdych, who reached the US Open quarterfinals
"This is the toughest conditions for me, coming
from fast hard courts to the clay. I definitely need
more time but it was a good choice for France. I need
to move on and get over it."
Gasquet, who has been hampered by injuries this
season, won the first set with a backhand down the
line then jumped to 3-0 in the second as Berdych
continued to hit erratic shots.
The hard-hitting Czech managed to break Gasquet
in the next game but his recovery was short-lived.
The French No. 2 broke again early in the third
set, and Berdych gifted the match with his second
Tsonga made light work of Rosol and thanked his
teammate for putting him in an ideal position with
his impressive win over Berdych.
Following Monfils' good run at the US Open, Gas-
quet was not expected to play in the singles. But
Monfils told France captain Arnaud Clement he was
still jet-lagged and struggling to adapt to clay after
losing in the quarterfinals at Flushing Measdows.
With their 12-tie winning streak at risk, the Czechs
should win today's doubles to keep alive the chance
of reaching a third straight final.
The doubles pits French duo Julien Benneteau and
Monfils against Radek Stepanek and Jiri Vesely but
both captains are expected to amend their line-ups,
with Berdych likely to play with Stepanek. (AP)
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