Tue, Nov 25, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Vintage Federer seals Davis Cup for Switzerland

Reuters, LILLE, France

Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates after beating France’s Richard Gasquet in their Davis Cup reverse singles rubber in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Roger Federer produced a vintage performance to crush Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 and seal Switzerland’s first Davis Cup title with a 3-1 win over hosts France on Sunday.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion shook off back problems during the weekend and recovered from Friday’s defeat by Gael Monfils to hand France their third loss in their past three finals.

With Federer imperious on serve, there was a sense of inevitability in the air at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France, despite the raucous support of a record 27,448-strong crowd and Gasquet’s decent level of play.

The Swiss legend made more unforced errors than the gifted Frenchman — 24 to 21 — but hit an astonishing 62 winners, kneeling down before lying on his chest after wrapping up the match with a cunning drop shot.

Having stolen the limelight from Davis Cup stalwart Stanislas Wawrinka, the world No. 2 quickly turned attention toward his teammates.

“I’m really happy for all the guys in the team,” he said. “Stan put so much effort over the years and he played an unbelievable weekend, that’s what gave me the opportunity today. I’m very much aware of that, this one is for the boys.”

“I can’t thank Stan enough for the effort he’s put in this weekend to build me back up. Same for [captain] Severin [Luthi]. Just keeping me alive really,” Federer said.

Wawrinka has played more Davis Cup ties than Federer recently, notably last year’s World Group playoff against Ecuador that helped Switzerland stay in the elite and have a shot at this year’s title.

Federer skipped that tie, which the Swiss side won 4-1.

Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer did not play at the weekend, but have done their share of work over the years to keep Switzerland afloat.

Gasquet said he was “very disappointed” to lose in straight sets against Federer.

“It’s the first time Roger plays at this level against me,” he said.

Yet France captain Arnaud Clement had no complaints, saying: “Right now I think we did everything right, me and the players, but Switzerland were better than us.”

Federer dropped only four points on serve in the opening set, which he sealed with a whipping forehand winner after breaking the world No. 26 in the third game.

Varying his shots to devastating effect, Federer toyed with his opponent, who dropped serve in the first and seventh games as the Swiss bagged the second set with a drop shot without having conceded a single break point.

With Sunday’s victory, the only major title missing from Federer’s collection now is an Olympic singles gold medal.

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