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.