Mon, Sep 15, 2014 - Page 20 News List

France makes Davis Cup final, Taiwan lose

AP, PARIS

France captain Arnaud Clement, left, reacts with his team after their victory over the Czech Republic in their Davis Cup semi-final at Roland Garros in Paris on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet put France back in the Davis Cup final by winning the doubles and ending the two-year reign of the Czech Republic on Saturday.

Tsonga and Gasquet, who won their singles on Friday, gave Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek a rare doubles defeat in Davis Cup, 6-7 (7/4), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 at Roland Garros.

France, with an unassailable 3-0 lead, made the final for the first time since 2010. They won the last of their nine cups in 2001.

The Czech Republic needed to win the doubles to keep alive their chances of reaching a third straight final, but Stepanek played with an apparent right hip injury that required frequent treatment, and Berdych, who lost his singles to Gasquet, struggled with consistency.

“In the beginning of the second set I felt something in my lower back, I did not pay much attention to it, but with the time spent on the court it was getting worse and worse, and at the end of the second set I was very limited in my movements,” said Stepanek, who was unable to sit during the news conference. “In normal circumstances I would have retired, but I believed I had to somehow finish the match.”

Both captains amended their pairings before the match, but Berdych and Stepanek could not extend their winning partnership, as they were handed only their second loss in 17 doubles matches in the competition, the other being to Spain in the 2009 final.

France are to either play the final away to Italy or at home against Switzerland.

SWITZERLAND, ITALY

AP, GENEVA, Switzerland

Roger Federer had the day off on Saturday, but was called up yesterday in a bid to help Switzerland advance to their first Davis Cup final in 22 years.

Without Federer, who was rested, Switzerland lost in doubles to Italy and had their lead in the semi-final cut to 2-1.

The Swiss paired Stanislas Wawrinka with Marco Chiudinelli, who lost 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 against Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli at the Palexpo indoor arena.

“Roger suggested that he should not play just because he had a lot of matches this year,” Swiss captain Severin Luethi said.

Federer, who played in the US Open semi-finals, won his team’s first point on Friday by beating Bolelli in straight sets.

The Swiss No. 1 was to play Fognini in yesterday’s opening reverse singles.

“He’s going to be fresh, and it’s an advantage for us,” Luethi said.

France awaits in the final on Nov. 21-23.

“It is great for the Swiss fans and I am happy for them,” said Wawrinka, who is to play Bolelli in a decider if Federer loses. “The positive thing is we are up 2-1. We are not worried.”

Federer’s absence did not surprise the Italians.

“For us, it was still very tough today,” Bolelli said. “It’s still complicated, but anything can happen.”

TAIWAN, SOUTH KOREA

AFP, TAIPEI

Exhaustion took its toll on Taiwan veteran Chen Ti in the first-round Davis Cup playoff yesterday, giving South Korea a 3-1 victory and sustaining their Asia/Oceania Group I status.

Chen, ranked 244th, and his partner Peng Hsien-yin beat South Korea’s Chung Hyeon and Lim Yong-kyu on Saturday.

That gave Taiwan a fighting chance in yesterday’s reverse singles, despite a 0-2 loss in the opening singles.

Taiwan bet on Chen, replacing Hung Jui-chen who was representing the nation in the Davis Cup for the first time, but was routed by Lim in the singles 6-2, 6-2, 6-0.

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