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ODENSE --- Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer
gave Spain a 2-0 lead over Denmark in their
Davis Cup relegation playoff yesterday.
Both Spaniards beat their rivals in three
sets, with Nadal overcoming Mikael Toregaard
6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to put Spain ahead while Ferrer
defeated Frederik Nielsen 6-1, 7-5, 6-2.
Nadal returned to Davis Cup tennis after
a two-year absence for the Group 1 match
and secured his 22nd consecutive win in the
"It's important to have the first point for
our country," Nadal said after the match.
The 909th-ranked Toregaard failed to con-
vert any of his three break points in the first
set, which he then surrendered to the
Spaniard with a double-fault on the indoor
Nadal slowly improved the accuracy of his
serve, even though the Dane hit some precise
backhand shots to push the Spaniard.
"I was improving during the match and
it's a straight-sets win," said Nadal. "This
surface is fast and it's difficult to have control
of the point."
Under the Davis Cup format, the winner
will remain in Group 1 for the Europe/Africa
Zone, while the loser faces Sweden in a sec-
ond round relegation playoff.
Britain 1-1 with Australia
after wins for Murray, Tomic
GLASGOW --- Bernard Tomic defeated Dan
Evans in four sets to draw Australia level
with Britain at 1-1 in their Davis Cup semi-
final yesterday, after Andy Murray had put
the hosts in front.
Murray brushed aside Thanasi Kokkinakis
with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 win, but a surprise deci-
sion to pick the 300th-ranked Evans for the
second match failed to deliver as Tomic came
through for a 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-4 vic-
Defeat for Evans means that Murray might
now line up alongside his brother Jamie for
the doubles today against Samuel Groth and
Lleyton Hewitt at Glasgow's Emirates Arena.
Originally, the third-ranked Murray was
not expected to play again until tomorrow's
reverse singles. Jamie Murray is down to play
with Dominic Ingot today.
Evans looked to have turned the tables after
taking a hard-fought third set, but Tomic
accelerated into a 4-2 lead in the final set
before sealing victory and leveling the best-
British captain Leon Smith said: "I feel for
Dan. He repaid the faith we had to select him
in the first place. He showed the level he's
"He can hold his head up very high."
Argentina plays Belgium in the other semi-
final, with the final being held November 27-
Federer, Wawrinka guide
Swiss to 2-0 lead
GENEVA --- Roger Federer cruised and Stan
Wawrinka labored in lifting Switzerland to
a 2-0 lead over the Netherlands in a Davis
Cup relegation playoff yesterday.
Facing an opponent ranked 434 places
below him, No 2 Federer eased to a 6-3, 6-
4, 6-3 victory over Jesse Huta Galung in the
second singles rubber.
Fourth-ranked Wawrinka earlier trailed by
two sets to one before overcoming No. 144
Thiemo De Bakker 2-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
in more than three hours.
Federer and Wawrinka, the 2008 Olympic
doubles champions, are scheduled to face the
Dutch pairing of Matwe Middelkoop and Tim
van Rijthoven today.
The best-of-five series on hard court at
Palexpo arena in Geneva will decide which
team stays in the 16-nation World Group next
Belgium 1-1 with
Argentina in semis
BRUSSELS --- Leonardo Mayer defeated
Steve Darcis in four sets and almost four
hours to draw Argentina level with Belgium
at 1-1 in their Davis Cup semifinal yesterday,
after David Goffin had put the hosts ahead.
Goffin defeated Federico Delbonis 7-5, 7-
6 (3), 6-3 in the first singles match before
Mayer used his big serve to come out on top
against Darcis 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-3.
The 39th-ranked Mayer hit 24 aces to Dar-
cis' 1 and took all risks as he converted 2 of
13 breakpoints after hitting 81 winners and
77 unforced errors in 3 hours, 52 minutes.
The 15th-ranked Goffin failed to convert
three match points on Delbonis' serve but
sealed the match with an ace in the next game
to improve his Davis Cup record to 10-3.
Goffin prevailed on key points on the indoor
hard court at Forest National while Delbonis
was punished for his inconsistent display,
which featured 48 unforced errors.
Belgium's last appearance in the semifinals
ended with a 4-1 loss against France in 1999.
The hosts last qualified for the final as far
back as 1904.
Argentina is also looking for a first victory
in the competition, having finished runner-
up four times.
In today's doubles, Rubens Bemelmans and
Kimmer Coppejans are set to team up against
Carlos Berlocq and Diego Schwartzman.
BRINDISI --- More than a thousand fans have
lined the streets of Flavia Pennetta s hometown
of Brindisi, in southern Italy, to welcome back
the US Open champion.
Pennetta arrived yesterday at a seafront stage
on an open-top bus, accompanied by 50 children
from the local tennis club where she learned to
Waiting for her on stage for the brief celebration
was the mayor of Brindisi, Mimmo Consales.
Pennetta beat fellow Italian Roberta Vinci in
New York last Saturday to claim her first Grand
Slam title and immediately announced her retire-
The 33-year-old was also the first Italian to tri-
umph at Flushing Meadows. (AP)
SINGAPORE --- Red Bull
youngster Daniil Kvyat
recorded the fastest time
in yesterday s practice for
the Singapore Grand Prix,
and Ferrari s Kimi
Raikkonen was second,
indicating those teams are
set to provide a challenge
US Open champion
Flavia Pennetta waves to the audience during a
ceremony to celebrate her win in the US Open, in
Brindisi, Italy, yesterday. Pennetta beat fellow
Italian Roberta Vinci in New York last Saturday to
claim her first Grand Slam title and immediately
announced she was retiring from tennis. AP Photo
Nadal, Ferrer give Spain 2-0 advantage vs Denmark
Red Bull's Kvyat sets fastest time in Singapore GP practice
to previously dominant
Mercedes this weekend.
Red Bull had not topped
the timesheets for any For-
mula One session this sea-
son but the performance
level was confirmed by
Kvyat's teammate Daniel
Ricciardo, who was third
leader Lewis Hamilton,
who has taken pole posi-
tion in 11 of 12 races this
season, was in an unfa-
miliar fourth place ---
though only three tenths
of a second off Kvyat's
time --- and his Mercedes
teammate Nico Rosberg
Conditions at the Mari-
na Bay street circuit aid
with Ferrari operating well
in hot track conditions as
evidenced by its wins in
Malaysia and Hungary, and
the nimble Red Bull thriv-
ing through the many low-
The 21-year-old Kvyat
has not qualified higher
than fifth in his two sea-
sons in F1 while Ricciardo
has never taken pole posi-
tion in his career despite
boasting three grand prix
wins, so a breakthrough
could beckon in Saturday's
Their strong practice
performance came against
the background of more
off-track drama for the
team, which is in the midst
of a messy divorce from
its engine supplier Renault.
With Mercedes refusing
to step in as Red Bull's
provider, it seems that Fer-
rari is the only supply
option left, and Helmut
Marko --- trackside point-
man of company owner
Dietrich Mateschitz --- reit-
erated yesterday that Red
Bull could quit the sport
if the Ferrari negotiations
do not bear fruit.
"The decision is done,"
Marko said to Sky Sports.
"If we don't have a com-
petitive engine we will
leave Formula One.
"As long as you don't
have a power unit which
can compete, it doesn't
The drivers, though,
were less concerned with
the off-track politics than
with the on-track per-
"We expect the silver
cars (Mercedes) and the
red ones (Ferrari) to turn
it up tomorrow, but hope-
fully we can keep the pace
we showed to get up as far
the grid as possible," Ric-
Mercedes team principal
Toto Wolff was not as con-
fident of an improved per-
formance in Saturday's
qualifying and was gen-
uinely concerned about the
disappearance of his team's
season-long speed advan-
"We are not happy with
the performance today,"
Wolff said. "We have not
made the tire work the
way we should on the
one-lap performance, and
on the long runs we have
seen some spectacular
performances by Red Bull.
"We need to get our
heads together and assess
formed his Ferrari team-
mate Sebastian Vettel ---
who was fifth fastest ---
and continued the strong
one-lap performance that
saw him qualifying second
in the previous race in Italy.
Alonso also put in an eye-
clocking the eighth-best
time, less than a second
off the top of the charts.
That was a marked
improvement for the team,
which has had a frustrating
year as new engine sup-
plier Honda plays catch-
up in its return to the
Alexander Rossi, who will
make his F1 race debut on
Sunday for the Manor
team, provided the major
incident of the two 90-
minute sessions, colliding
heavily with a barrier at
the left-hand turn under
a grandstand, and snap-
ping off both right-side
Rossi climbed out of the
car unaided and appeared
unhurt. The subsequent
red flag ended the first ses-
sion three minutes short.
The crash required a
gearbox change, which
meant Rossi missed most
of the second session, as
did his teammate Will
Stevens, who also collided
with a barrier. (AP)
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