WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., January 9, 2019 – The USTA today announced that former world No. 7 and Davis Cup veteran Mardy Fish has been named the new captain of the U.S. Davis Cup Team. He succeeds Jim Courier to become the 41st captain in the team’s 120-year history and will make his debut at the newly transformed Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals November 18-24 in Madrid, Spain.
“Ever since I started playing professionally and started understanding what the Davis Cup was and how special it was, even as a player, I wanted to be the Davis Cup Captain,” Fish said. “I just thought that position was so special – leading the guys and leading the team, building relationships and the team aspect around it. I’m a team-sport athlete stuck in an individual sport, and I love the team aspect of Davis Cup. To even be considered, let alone named the Captain, is incredibly humbling.”
In this new era of Davis Cup, the role of Captain will be expanded, with the position working more closely with USTA Player Development throughout the year, as well as traveling to multiple tournaments and camps to support American players, serving as a mentor for American pros and juniors. He will also ensure the U.S. Davis Cup team remains a strong platform to grow the game through the USTA’s Net Generation youth initiative.
“Mardy Fish embodies all of the qualities of a successful Davis Cup Captain and will be an invaluable asset to Team USA,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Patrick Galbraith. “His achievements as a player both on tour and in Davis Cup are renowned, and his acumen for the game is as strong as his relationships with our American players. There are few people in tennis as qualified to lead the U.S. Davis Cup Team into the next decade, and we cannot wait to see what that future has in store under Mardy’s leadership.”
Fish, 37, reached the singles quarterfinals at three of the four Grand Slams and won a combined 14 ATP titles (six singles, eight doubles) before retiring from playing at the 2015 US Open. He also produced a number of signature performances while representing his country, earning the singles silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and writing his name in the U.S. Davis Cup record book.
Fish played in 11 Davis Cup ties for the U.S. from 2002-12 and is still the last U.S. Davis Cup player to win three live matches in a single tie, in a 3-1 World Group Playoff win in Colombia in 2010 that kept alive the U.S.’s now-record uninterrupted streak in the World Group. Fish’s two singles victories in that tie were five-setters, and he and Courier are the only U.S. Davis Cup players to win two five-set matches in the same tie. In his last Davis Cup playing appearance, Fish beat Stan Wawrinka in five sets and teamed with Mike Bryan to beat Wawrinka and Roger Federer in a 5-0 sweep of Switzerland in the 2012 First Round.
After retiring in 2015, Fish worked part-time as a coach with USTA Player Development, helping to guide young Americans on tour, including Taylor Fritz and Jared Donaldson, through 2017.
Despite having to play on the road France came away the victor in all but one singles rubber to win 3-1. Lucas Pouille was the national hero with wins over Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini to win the tie. His win against Seppi came in 5 sets, while against Fognini he needed 4 sets. Fognini beat Jeremy Chardy in the lone singles win for Italy, while Fognini and Simone Bolelli were trounced by Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the doubles rubber.
Rafael Nadal featured in a big way but David Ferrer emerged the hero as Spain triumphed over Germany 3-2. Nadal didn’t drop a set against Philipp Kohlschreiber and Alexander Zverev, but Germany kept the tie alive thanks to wins by Zverev against Ferrer and Tim Puetz/J.L, Struff over the Lopez brothers in doubles. After Nadal won the stage was set for Kohlschreiber vs. Ferrer to decide the tie. Despite his decline at the ATP level Ferrer grinded away for multiple hours to emerge the victor 7-5 in the 5th set. Neither veteran was poor, but Spain’s hopes remain alive for perhaps a final Davis Cup title for their golden generation.
Marin Cilic won twice without dropping a set (d. Dmitry Popko and Mikhail Kukushkin), and even though Kukushkin upset Borna Coric on Friday, the doubles win for Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic all but sealed the tie for Croatia as they outmatched Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Strong play from John Isner and Sam Querrey against Joris De Loore and Ruben Bemelmans setup Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock to close out the tie with a doubles win against Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen. Belgium came into the tie outgunned, and the end result was no surprise as team USA remains a great contender for the 2018 Davis Cup title.
Action outside the World Group
Argentina, Columbia, India, Uzbekistan, Czech Republican, Sweden, Bosnia, and Austria advanced to the World Group Playoffs for 2018. Austria being the biggest surprise of that bunch as Andrey Rublev and Evgeny Donskoy disappointed in a big way at home.
An experienced Italian side will battle on clay against the title favorites France. Lucas Pouille takes on Andreas Seppi, while Fabio Fognini is slated to face Jeremy Chardy in the opening ties. Those early ties should decide things, while the French have an edge in doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut opposite Simone Bolelli/Paolo Lorenzi. Italy at home has a chance, but I’ll back a strong French side.
On clay in Spain, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer lead the Armada against a strong German side in the tie of the weekend. Alexander Zverev will look to strengthen his credentials as the top player for his country. Philipp Kohlschreiber is also on hand, while the Lopez brothers is set to face Tim Puetz/J.L. Struff in doubles. On clay Nadal and Ferrer should be too tough and Spain looks positioned to advance.
Marin Cilic and Borna Coric make the home Croatian side favorites on clay against Kazakhstan. The Kazakh’s play strong as a team led by Mikhail Kukushkin, but Dmitry Popko, Timur Khabibulin, and Aleksandr Nedovyesov are simply not strong enough against Cilic and Coric. Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic are on hand for doubles. Croatia should win easily.
John Isner and Sam Querrey are on home soil in Nashville on hard courts against a weak Belgian side. Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock are also on hand, while Joris De Loore, Ruben Bemelmans, and Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen counter for Belgium. Anything but a USA sweep would be a shock.
In Europe/Africa Group 1 Jiri Vesely and the Czech Republic takes on Dudi Sela in Israel, the Ymer brothers lead Sweden against Joao Sousa and Portugal, Martin Klizan and Damir Dzumhur feature in the Slovakia vs. Bosnia tie, and a strong Russian side looks to close out Austria with Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev leading the charge.
Colombia vs. Brazil, Indian vs. China, and Argentina vs. Chile also feature, with Diego Schwartzman and Nicolas Jarry squaring off in Argentina on clay.
Alexander Zverev’s Germany and Team USA Surge into Davis Cup Quarterfinals Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Davis Cup action concluded on Sunday with one major upset and some otherwise interesting action on the weekend, highlighted by Germany upsetting Australia on the road, and Team USA dealing with a tricky road test against Serbia. Here is your full recap.
Despite Thiemo De Bakker’s opening rubber upset of Adrian Mannarino, the French team staved off the upset minded Dutch thanks to a big win from Mannarino against Robin Haase in five sets on Sunday. Richard Gasquet had beaten Haase on Friday, and Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer fell in doubles against Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Saturday. The defending champions remain alive and face Italy on the road next.
Fabio Fognini won a pair of five set matches, the first over Taro Daniel, and the second over Yuichi Sugita to push Italy through to the quarters. Fognini also won the doubles rubber paired with Simone Bolelli, and Sugita’s win over Andreas Seppi was the only joy for the home Japanese side. The weekend of Davis Cup was likely tiring for Fognini, but perhaps will inspire him on the ATP tour in coming weeks.
Cam Norrie came back from 2 sets down on clay to stun Roberto Bautista Agut, despite having practically no professional experience on the surface. He temporarily gave the underdog Brits hope. Spain didn’t let that hope go much further though, Albert Ramos beat Norrie on Sunday, and Liam Broady on Friday, and Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez beat Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray in doubles. Spain hosts Germany next.
Alexander Zverev pulled off consecutive gutsy wins against Alex De Minaur (in five sets) and Nick Kyrgios to propel Germany into the quarterfinals. Kyrgios beat J.L. Struff in his other singles match, but a massive result for Struff and his partner Tim Puetz in doubles against Matthew Ebden and John Peers was perhaps what swung the entire tie.
Despite lacking in big name talent, Kazakhstan continues to produce results in the Davis Cup. It was a live rubber sweep for the Kazakh’s, Dmitry Popko and team leader Mikhail Kukushkin beat Henri Laaksonen and Adrian Bodmer in singles, and then Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov sealed the tie with a doubles win against Marc-Andrea Huesler/Luca Margaroli. The dead rubbers were split.
Croatia’s Borna Coric scored wins against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov in singles to send his country into the quarters opposite Kazakhstan. Shapovalov’s victory over Viktor Galovic ended up being of no importance, as Pospisil and Daniel Nestor fell in doubles from 2 sets to love up against Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig. Playing on the road, and on clay, was too much for Canada.
USA d. Serbia 3-1
Team USA will host Belgium after Sam Querrey, John Isner, and Ryan Harrison/Steve Johnson dominated a weak Serbian side on the road, and on clay. Laslo Djere, Dusan Lajovic, and Miljan Zekic/Nikola Milojevic all went down in defeat. Johnson lost a dead rubber.
The defending finalists were tested by Hungary, but prevailed, Ruben Bemelmans and David Goffin gave the Belgians a 2-0 lead after defeating Marton Fucsovics and Attila Balazs. The Hungarian pair defeated Bemelmans and Joris De Loore in doubles, but Goffin sealed the tie with a win against the rising Fucsovics.
Action outside the world group
Ties in America’s group 1 were set for round 2, Argentina will face Chile, and Brazil will travel to Colombia. In Asia, India faces China and Uzbekistan will take on Pakistan. In Europe it will be Israel traveling to the Czech Republic, Sweden hosting Portugal, Slovakia against Bosnia, and Austria facing Russia.
With a strong doubles team of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, along with Richard Gasquet and Lucas Pouille for singles, defending champions France are a heavy favorite at home on hard courts against Holland. Their pairing of Thiemo De Bakker and Robin Haase, with Matwe Middelkoop and Jean-Julien Rojer for doubles has plenty of peak talent but they have frequently failed to reach their ceiling. France should be the strong favorite.
Despite being on the road, the pairing of Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi has an edge against Taro Daniel and Yuichi Sugita for Japan. Simone Bolelli and Paolo Lorenzi should win the doubles rubber over Ben Mclachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama, giving Italy the advantage on hard courts.
On clay in Spain, the home team will be a heavy favorite against team GB. Missing their top singles players, Liam Broady and Cam Norrie will carry the Union Jack against Albert Ramos and Roberto Bautista Agut. Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez should play doubles against Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray, but outside of the doubles rubber Spain should win big, dominating singles.
In the biggest tie of the weekend Nick Kyrgios and Alex De Minaur go up against Alexander Zverev and Germany. J.L. Struff is also on hand for singles, while the doubles pairings are John Peers/Matt Ebden vs. Peter Gojowczyk/Tim Puetz. With both De Minaur and Kyrgios playing well, and the Aussies having a great doubles pairing, team Australia should win at home on hard courts.
Mikhail Kukushkin and Henri Laaksonen are the only players with notable ATP experience in thsi tie. Kazakhstan rounds out their team with Dmitry Popko, and Timur Khabibulin/Alexander Nedovyesov for doubles. The Swiss have Adrian Bodmer, Marc-Andrea Huesler and Luca Margaroli. A young Swiss team should struggle on the road on indoor hard.
Croatia’s Borna Coric takes to the clay courts of his homeland opposite fellow young gun Denis Shapovalov in this Davis Cup contest. Viktor Galovic and the veteran doubles pairing of Ivan Dodig/Franko Skugor round out Croatia’s team. Canada has veteran journeyman Peter Polansky, plus Vasek Pospisil and the ageless Daniel Nestor. Presuming Shapovalov can defeat Coric, Canada should be slight favorites on the road.
Sam Querrey and John Isner will have to play well on clay in Serbia in order to get the USA into the next round. Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson are also on a balanced American team. Serbia is missing their best, as they have Laslo Djere, Dusan Lajovic, Nikola Milojevic, and Miljan Zekic on their team. Even on clay, Djere and Lajovic aren’t as good as the American singles options, and team USA should win.
Defending finalists Belgium have their core pairing of David Goffin and Ruben Bemelmans to go up against the rising Marton Fucsovics, and Attila Balazs for Hungary. At home on hard courts in Belgium, Goffin should lead his team to a win. Julien Cagnina/Joris De Loore will be playing in the doubles tie, perhaps to clinch a win.
Goffin, Dimitrov, and French Stars Finish the 2017 ATP Season Strong Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Goffin Makes a Big Run
Despite falling short in the Davis Cup final as a team, David Goffin had a great finish to 2017, as he won titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo, reached the semifinals in Basel, and then the final in the ATP World Tour Finals in London. After the US Open he scored wins over Richard Gasquet, Adrian Mannarino, Jack Sock, Dominic Thiem, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. In the Davis Cup final he defeated Lucas Pouille and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but it still wasn’t enough.
France Captures Davis Cup
France finally won the Davis Cup, after losing a multitude of finals Tsonga and Pouille defeated Steve Darcis twice, and Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore in what turned out to be the critical doubles rubber. Pouille defeated his teammate Tsonga in the Vienna 500 final, while Tsonga won Antwerp.
Breakthrough for Sock
Jack Sock won the biggest title of his career at the Paris Masters, he won over a weakened field with wins over Kyle Edmund, Pouille, Fernando Verdasco, Julien Benneteau, and Filip Krajinovic. He qualified for the World Tour Finals by virtue of that victory and reached the semifinals after going 2-1 with wins over Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic.
Dimitrov and Del Potro Looking Strong Heading Into 2018
Grigor Dimitrov finished the year with 49 wins and 4 titles as he reached the final in Stockholm, and the final at the World Tour Finals in London, beating Pablo Carreno Busta, Goffin twice, Dominic Thiem, and Sock.
Juan Martin Del Potro reached the semis in Shanghai, the final in Basel, took a title in Stockholm, and finished the year with a quarterfinal in Paris.
Nadal and Federer Finish 1-2
Damir Dzumhur has 2 ATP titles to end the year as he won in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, while Hyeon Chung won the Next-Gen finals over Andrey Rublev. Nadal won Beijing and lost the final in Shanghai, shutting down his season at the World Tour Finals due to injury concerns but still finishing year end world #1. Federer won Shanghai and Basel to finish year end #2.
France and Belgium to Meet in 2017 Davis Cup Final Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
European neighbors France and Belgium will face off in the 2017 Davis Cup final, as the depth of France will contrast with the team spirit of Belgium. The French saw off an outmatched Serbian side in the semifinals 3-1. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut combined to take the doubles rubber, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won both his singles rubbers against Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic, making Lajovic’s win against Lucas Pouille in the opening rubber a moot point. Belgium had a great Sunday against Australia, winning the final 2 rubbers for a 3-2 victory in the tie. David Goffin and Steve Darcis combined to defeat Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson in the Sunday rubbers, dropping just one set between them. John Peers and Jordan Thompson won the doubles rubber for Australia, Kyrgios beat Darcis on Friday, and Goffin defeated Millman in the opening rubber, as Goffin was the hero of the tie.
In the World Group Playoffs, young gun Denis Shapovalov led Canada to a 3-2 win over India, Marton Fucsovics led Hungary to a 3-1 upset of Russia, Yuichi Sugita got a pair of wins to help Japan beat Brazil 3-1, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and Jan-Lennard Struff led a depleted Germany to a 3-2 win over Portugal, veteran Marco Chiudinelli starred for Switzerland as they defeated Belarus 3-2, Marin Cilic won two singles rubbers and the doubles rubber to help Croatia defeat Colombia 4-1. Holland and Kazahkstan were the upset victors in the playoffs. The Dutch led by Robin Haase won the doubles rubber and the last two singles rubbers for a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic. Thiemo De Bakker defeated Lukas Rosol in the decisive 5th rubber. Mikhail Kukushkin was a double victor for the Kazakh’s against Argentina in a 3-2 win.
South Africa, Sweden, Barbados, and Pakistan reached Group 1 for 2018 in their respective regions.
Djokovic and Kyrgios Lead Push for Davis Cup Semifinals Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
An exciting weekend of Davis Cup action is in the books, and semifinals await in Belgium and France, while a host of nations have a shot at reaching the World Group in 2018 via the World Group playoffs.
Belgium d. Italy 3-2 (3-1 on live rubbers)
The leadership of David Goffin and Steve Darcis continued to shine for Belgium as they both won matches on Friday over Paolo Lorenzi and Andreas Seppi respectively to setup Belgium to capture the tie and reach the semifinals. Despite Seppi and Simone Bolelli winning the doubles over Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore to extend the tie, Goffin eased past Lorenzi in the decider. In the dead rubber, Alessandro Giannessi beat De Loore, perhaps showing he should have been the choice over Lorenzi in the decisive rubber.
Australia d. USA 3-2 (3-1 on live rubbers)
It was a huge week for Nick Kyrgios, who has had a fantastic last month or so. Kyrgios beat John Isner and Sam Querrey without so much as dropping a set to push Australia through to the semifinals at home in Brisbane. Jordan Thompson was also huge, as Thompson upset Jack Sock on Friday. The USA was able to keep the tie alive with a doubles rubber win by Steve Johnson and Sock over John Peers and Sam Groth, but Kyrgios was simply unbreakable in his matches. John Isner would go on to win a dead rubber, but it will be Australia taking on Belgium for a spot in the DC final.
France d. Great Britain 4-1 (3-0 on live rubbers)
Clay was kryptonite for team GB as Lucas Pouille, Jeremy Chardy, and Julien Benneteau/Nicolas Mahut dominated Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans, and Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray to rule their DC tie 3-0, dropping just one set in the decisive doubles rubber. The British side never looked comfortable on the slower surface, with Evans claiming a dead rubber win, while Chardy also did so. The French side may not have a “star” player, but it remains the deepest in the DC field.
Serbia d. Spain 4-1 (3-0 on live rubbers)
A healthy and motivated Novak Djokovic helped Serbia take care of business against a weaker Spanish side, Djokovic and Viktor Troicki won in straights over Albert Ramos and Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday, then Troicki and “old man” Nenad Zimonjic beat PCB and Marc Lopez to clinch the tie in the doubles rubber. Dusan Lajovic and Ramos would split results in the dead rubbers, but Djokovic now heads into a semifinal against France as the undisputed best player left in the competition this year. He looks ready to do damage in the semis and hopefully the final, and if Serbia is going to win the Davis Cup he’ll most likely need to sweep the matches in which he plays.
Results outside of the World Group
India and Kazakhstan dominated China and Uzbekistan respectively to reach the World Group playoffs, despite India dealing with a row between captain Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, they still played well. Brazil and Colombia are both heading to the World Group playoffs as well, with Thomaz Bellucci and Santiago Giraldo leading the way past Ecuador and Chile respectively.
Robin Haase went 3-0 in his matches as Holland beat Bosnia to reach the WG playoffs, Belarus beat Austria’s Melzer brothers to do the same, while Joao Sousa’s Portugal were efficient and decisive over Ukraine winning 4-1. Sweden, Lithuania, Denmark, and South Africa will be competing for promotion to Europe/Africa group 1 in 2018.
2017 Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The World Group quarterfinals of the 2017 Davis Cup will take place over the weekend, as a host of global tennis powers will battle it out to advance further in this legendary team competition. Here is your preview, with predictions, for all the action.
On indoor hard, in Belgium, the pairing of Steve Darcis and David Goffin that leads Belgum should have an edge against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi and Andreas Seppi. Rounding out the teams are Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore for Belgium, and Simone Bolelli and Alessandro Giannessi for Italy. Italy may be able to win a rubber or two, but they are at a clear disadvantage against the best team Belgium can field.
Nick Kyrgios, fresh off a great run of form in the Spring hard court Masters returns down under to Brisbane to lead Australia on hard courts against team USA. Joining him will be fellow young gun Jordan Thompson, and a doubles pairing of Sam Groth and John Peers. Team USA has it’s #1 and #2 Jack Sock and John Isner, with Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson once again returning for at least doubles action, and possibly singles play if Jim Courier opts to bring them on. With both Sock and Kyrgios playing well, the winner of their match, likely taking place on Sunday, could decide the tie. Australia will need to win the doubles and Kyrgios will need to run the table, as Thompson is at a disadvantage in singles. Despite being at a disadvantage with travel, team USA should be a slight favorite.
On clay in France, Lucas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy will be slight favorites in the singles against Team GB’s pairing of Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans. The doubles tie will feature prominently in this cross-channel contest, with Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut slated to face Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray. Despite team GB’s edge in doubles, the French team should be able to win three of four singles ties on clay, securing a victory for this strong squad.
On indoor hard courts in Serbia, the home squad looks to have an advantage with Novak Djokovic returning from an elbow injury to lead his country. The legendary Djokovic is joined by fellow Davis Cup veteran Viktor Troicki, and doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic, with Dusan Lajovic in reserve for team Serbia. Spain has Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the young Jaume Munar, and doubles specialist Marc Lopez. Spain may be able to pull off an upset or two, but Serbia has the stronger squad, home advantage, and should prevail with relative ease.
Action outside of the World Group
in Americas Group 1 Brazil, led by ATP regulars Thomaz Bellucci and Thiago Monteiro, travels to Ecuador as favorites, in large part thanks to their top 10 doubles team pairing of Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo. In Asia’s group 1, Mikhail Kukushkin and Kahazhkstan play host to China, India, which features the steadying presence of Rohan Bopanna hosts Uzbekistan.
In Europe/Africa group 2, Marsel Ilhan vs. Elias Ymer will be a key matchup as Turkey hosts Sweden, Nikolosz Basilasvhili’s Georgia faces off with Lithuania, Casper Ruud leads Norway at home against Denmark, while South Africa hosts Slovenia. In Europe/Africa Group 1, a weakened Ukrainian team should get rolled by Joao Sousa’s Portugal, Austria’s Melzer brothers will look to knock off Belarus and Damir Dzumhur’s Bosnia will face off with Robin Haase’s Netherlands.
2017 Davis Cup Round 1 Recap: Stunning wins for Belgium and Italy Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
An exciting Davis Cup weekend saw three ties go the distance as nations booked their spots in the World Group quarterfinals for 2017. Here is your recap of all of the happenings at venues across the world.
A rowdy Buenos Aires crowd went home on Monday disappointed, in a tie that went an extra day after rainstorms prevented it from finishing on Sunday. The Italians strong 2-0 start put defending champions Argentina into a hole that they couldn’t recover from by the end of the tie. Paolo Lorenzi defeated Guido Pella to open the tie, and Andreas Seppi needed four sets to put away Carlos Berlocq. Argentina staved off defeat by winning the doubles, as Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer combined to defeat Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in five sets. Berlocq then defeated Lorenzi to force a decisive fifth rubber that was played on Monday.
From two sets to love down, Fabio Fognini upset Pella in five sets. The Italian started in pedestrian form, sleepwalking through two sets, but Pella ran out of steam, and was unable to finish the match out, Pella went down a break against Fognini in the fifth, and despite having chances, he was unable to get it back.
Belgium d. Germany 4-1
Steve Darcis played nine sets of tennis in this tie, winning six of those sets, as the serve and volleying veteran led Belgium to an upset of neighboring Germany in Frankfurt. Darcis defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber in five sets on Friday, clinching the tie with an upset of Alexander Zverev in four sets on Sunday. Darcis pivotal leadership also helped Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore defeat the Zverev brothers in the doubles rubber. The only German victory came for Alexander Zverev on Friday over Arthur De Greef. Bemelmans beat Mischa Zverev in a dead rubber. Presuming David Goffin returns to play for Belgium, the recent DC finalists have the makings of a great team that can make a deep run.
Australia d. Czech Republic 4-1
Australia showed off a talented and deep squad, dominating the Czech Republic 3-0 in live rubbers as Jordan Thompson, Nick Kyrgios, Sam Groth/John Peers all won their matches without dropping so much of a set. Jiri Vesely lost to Thompson, Jan Satral lost to Kyrgios, and Satral and Vesely together dropped the decisive doubles point against Groth/Peers. Vesely beat Groth in a dead rubber, while Thompson eased past Satral in two sets to conclude the tie.
USA d. Switzerland 5-0
The lone round 1 whitewash came in Birmingham for team USA, as a weak Swiss team was no match for the USA’s best. Jack Sock beat Marco Chiudinelli in straights on Friday, while John Isner needed four sets and one tiebreak against Henri Laaksonen. Sock and Steve Johnson clinched the tie with a routine win over Laaksonen and Adrien Bossel, then Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson were called upon on Sunday to delight home fans with routine victories over Adrien Bossel and Antoine Bellier. Along with having five ATP caliber players, team USA showed off a lot of great team chemistry over the weekend.
France d. Japan 4-1
France swept Japan in live rubbers, as the experience of their squad shone through in two days of competitive action. Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon eased past Taro Daniel and Yoshihito Nishioka on Friday, setting up Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert to pair up and defeat Yasutaka Uchiyama and Yuichi Sugita to clinch the tie. Mahut and Herbert played dead rubbers against Nishioka and Uchiyama, splitting results.
Great Britain d. Canada 3-2
A horrible mistake by teenager Denis Shapovalov doomed Team Canada, as Great Britain had to scratch and claw to survive a tie that was more challenging than expected for the Brits. Dan Evans got the tie started off great for Team GB, easing past Shapovalov in straight sets. Vasek Pospisil had an impressive tie though, as he defeated Kyle Edmund in straights on Friday, and despite dropping the doubles rubber alongside Daniel Nestor to Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray, Pospisil came back to defeat Evans in a close four setter to setup Shapovalov with a chance to clinch the tie at home at a young age.
Down two sets against Edmund, a frustrated Shapovalov launched a ball off his racquet towards the stands that nailed the chair umpire in the eye, sending the umpire to the hospital, and resulting in a mandatory default that handed team GB the tie. It was the talk of the weekend in the tennis world, but GB was likely to win the fifth rubber anyway, and Shapovalov clearly didn’t intend to inflict injury on anyone with his careless actions.
Serbia d. Russia 4-1
The combined strength of Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki was too much for a young Russian squad, as the Serbians won 3-0 on live rubbers. Troicki defeated Karen Khachanov in four sets, while Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev in four on Friday. Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic wasted no time putting away Konstantin Kravchuk and Andrey Kuznetsov in the doubles rubber.
Nearly embarrassed, a higher ranked Spanish team staved off an upset at the hands of Croatia, thanks to Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut winning both Sunday rubbers. RBA was perfect in the tie, posting wins over Ante Pavic and Franko Skugor, dropping just a set against Skugor. Croatia was up 2-1 after Saturday play, as Marin Draganja and Nikola Mektic beat the Lopez brothers in doubles, while Skugor had previously stunned Carreno Busta on Friday. PCB recovered to ease past Mektic in the decisive fifth rubber.
Results outside of the World Group
Americas Group 1 final round ties were set, as Ecuador and Chile won their ties 5-0 to setup matches against Brazil and Chile respectively. India and Uzbekistan advanced to the final round in Asia’s Group 1, as South Korea was upset by Uzbekistan.
In Europe’s Group 1, Hungary upset Slovakia 3-1, Bosnia beat Poland, Belarus defeated Romania, and Portugal swept Israel. Group 2 saw Sweden upset Tunisia, Turkey defeat Cyprus, Georgia come back for a huge result against Finland, and Slovenia slip past Monaco. South Africa, Denmark, Norway, and Lithuania also advanced.