Argentina advanced to the World Team Cup final by beating the US on Thursday.
The other finalist was to be decided yesterday between Germany, Serbia, Russia and Spain.
Juan Monaco started off Argentina by defeating Mardy Fish 7-6 (4), 7-5, then Juan Ignacio Chela beat John Isner 6-1, 7-6 (1) for an unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three tie.
Fish held opportunities in each set, but Monaco was able to hold off the challenge.
In the opening set, Fish immediately recovered a break to level at 3-3 and then held four set points at 5-4. In the second set and following four successive breaks of serve, Fish held two break points to lead 4-3 and another to lead 6-5, before Monaco broke for the match and claimed victory on his third match point.
“I had set points in the first set and obviously a lot of chances in the second so it’s just a match that didn’t go my way,” Fish said. “Playing someone like Monaco on clay is always going to be a tough test, but I’ve played two singles matches, two doubles matches, and it’s great preparation for the French [Open, which starts on Sunday].”
Isner never looked comfortable against Chela in the opening set and he faced an uphill task after dropping his serve as early as the third game. Further breaks for 4-1 and 6-1 followed.
Isner offered greater resistance in the second set and he held break point at 3-3 and 4-4, but managed to salvage just one point in the tiebreaker.
The winner of the Blue Group was to be decided yesterday, with four teams still in contention.
With a singles and a doubles to be played by each team, Germany and Serbia enter the final day of the round-robin with 1-0 leads.
Philipp Petzschner put Germany ahead with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Russia’s Igor Andreev, and Serbia held an advantage over Spain after Viktor Troicki beat Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-4.
China’s Peng Shuai has shrugged off her first-round defeats in Madrid and Rome to reach the Brussels Open semi-finals where she was to tackle world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva yesterday for a place in the final.
Peng, the eighth seed, enjoyed a 6-2, 6-4 win over Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson in Thursday’s quarter-finals, winning the first set in 28 minutes then rallying from 1-3 to close out her opponent.
“I’m happy,” Peng said. “I won and lost against Sofia before, so I knew how she played and knew she was very tough. She hits the ball hard so I had to handle her power and try to control the rallies when I could, and make her move too. I was a little bit tight when she broke me in the second set, but I’m happy I won.”
Second seed Zvonareva took just 47 minutes to cruise to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Romanian seventh seed Alexandra Dulgheru.
Zvonareva dominates Peng in their head-to-head series, 7-0.
The other semi-final was to be an all-star match-up between the world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and French Open -champion Francesca Schiavone. Top seed Wozniacki reached the last four when Belgian opponent Yanina Wickmayer retired after two games with a low back injury, while Schiavone saw off Japan’s Ayumi Morita 6-2, 6-3.
“To see Yanina hurting on the other side with Roland Garros coming up next week, it’s not fun to win that way,” Wozniacki said. “But I’m looking forward to the semi-finals now. Francesca will be a good challenge for me.”
AFP, STRASBOURG, FRANCE