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Davis Cup World Group Summary





Was it Kei Nishikori, or was it the Tennis Gods?

Consider this: Canada's three top singles players all went down in the Davis Cup tie with Japan. Milos Raonic wasn't even with the team due to an ankle injury. Vasek Pospisil had to pull out of the doubles with a back injury. That left singles duty to Frank Dancevic -- and he hurt himself and had to retire trailing Kei Nishikori 6-2 1-0. Technically, Nishikori won all three points needed to secure a quarterfinal spot for Japan -- but he had a lot of help....

In the final match, Go Soeda beat Peter Polansky 6-1 6-4. That made the official score 4-1 for Japan. But the unofficial score might be listed as Injuries 1, Canada 0.

Japan reaches the quarterfinal for the first time. Too bad for them that they have to face the defending champions next.

The official score in the contest between Germany and Spain was 4-1. But Spain didn't actually win anything. Feliciano Lopez was supposed to face Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth match, but Kohlschreiber had played singles and doubles and is supposed to play again next week; he bailed out (which caused the fans to boo the team; in the absence of a meaningful match, they at least wanted two dead matches). That left it to Daniel Brands to play out the dead rubber; he beat Roberto Bautista Agut (who admitted to "zero motivation") 7-6 6-4.

The tie between Kazakhstan and Belgium at least featured some drama, even though it seems likely that winner Kazakhstan will get stomped in the next round. The Kazakhs started Sunday with a 2-1 lead, but David Goffin, who had lost 12-10 in the fifth on Friday, made up for it by winning another marathon on Sunday, 4-6 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-0 over Mikhail Kukushkin. Unfortunately for Belgium, Andrei Golubev (who of course had won that monster match over Goffin) again showed what he can do on the rare days that he is on. He crushed Ruben Bemelmans 6-2 6-3 6-1, and the Kazakhs were in the quarterfinal.

The Japanese perhaps weren't the only ones helped by injury. Robin Haase of the Netherlands, who was supposed to face Tomas Berdych, didn't come out; Thiemo de Bakker took his place. And got stomped 6-1 6-4 6-3. That put the Czechs in the quarterfinal, and let Radek Stepanek have a day off; Lukas Rosol took on Igor Sijsling -- but, having no motivation, lost 6-3 6-3. So the official final score was 3-2.

France had already beaten Australia, so Sunday's action was a formality -- and the first match, at least, wasn't even much of that. Substitute Julien Benneteau beat substitute Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-1. The second match was a little more interesting, but substitute Gael Monfils completed the 5-0 sweep (the only sweep of this round) by beating Nick Kyrgios 7-6 6-4.

Once Serbia was out of it, they really got into it. Of course, it helped that they played their first-string players (at least, the first string of those they had), while Switzerland played their bench. Dushan Lajovic started Sunday's action by beating Michael Lammer 6-3 3-6 6-4. Then Filip Krajinovic beat Marco Chiudinelli 6-4 6-4. That made the final score 3-2 for the Swiss -- but it was a lot less close than that scoreline.

Fabio Fognini had had a very long doubles match the day before, but he clearly wanted to win for Italy. It took him another three and a half hours on the court, but he beat Carlos Berlocq 7-6 4-6 6-1 6-4 to clinch for the Italians. They didn't bother with the fifth match. Fognini earned all three of Italy's points; Argentina is out of the World Group for the first time in thirteen years. One suspects there will be a lot of charges flying between Juan Martin del Potro and the rest of the Argentine tennis establishment after this.

The last tie of the week was of course that between the Americans and the British, which opened with Sam Querrey needing to beat Andy Murray to keep the Americans alive. He did a surprisingly good job -- if he had done this well in the first singles, the Americans might have been in better shape. It took Murray two sets to really get into the match -- but once he did, it went fast. Murray won 7-6 6-7 6-1 6-3, and Britain was in the quarterfinal. They didn't bother playing out the dead rubber.

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