Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Britain, Belgium to face off in final of Davis Cup

‘WIN IT ONCE’:Switzerland’s Roger Federer hinted that he might be rethinking his future participation in the tournament, citing a long summer of events next year

AFP, PARIS

Britain’s Andy Murray celebrates defeating Australia’s Bernard Tomic in their Davis Cup semi-final match at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Britain and Belgium on Sunday secured shock places in November’s Davis Cup final, while 17-time major winner Roger Federer cast doubt over his future in the competition.

Britain made their first final since 1978 with victory over Australia in Glasgow, Scotland, thanks to world No. 3 Andy Murray’s 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 win over Bernard Tomic in the first reverse singles.

With two-time Grand Slam winner Murray in their ranks, they are to start as favorites to win a first Davis Cup since 1936 when they go to Belgium for the Nov. 27-29 final.

Belgium reached their first title match since 1904 with a tense 3-2 win over Argentina in Brussels, with Steve Darcis, the world No. 64, needing a fourth match point to defeat Federico Delbonis 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3).

When Belgium last made the final in 1904 their opponents were also Britain, who swept to a 5-0 triumph.

Murray, 28, celebrated his 25th win from 27 Davis Cup singles matches as Britain secured their first victory over old rivals Australia since 1978.

Nine-time winners Britain last won the Davis Cup in 1936, when Fred Perry and Bunny Austin sealed a 3-2 victory over Australia at Wimbledon.

“Winning for your country and your teammates means a lot. The crowd were unbelievable from the first ball to the last,” Murray told the BBC. “I didn’t feel great the whole weekend to be honest, I’ve been struggling with my back, but I just tried to disguise it.”

It is a remarkable turnaround for a British team that have risen from being on the verge of relegation to Europe/Africa Group III in 2010 to being finalists this year.

In Brussels, world No. 15 David Goffin kept Belgium afloat against Argentina with a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over Diego Schwartzman to level their semi-final at 2-2.

Darcis, 31, then sealed victory for a Belgian side that had knocked out defending champions Switzerland in the first round.

“It’s one of the biggest moments of my career. The atmosphere was unbelievable. Inside it was so hard to stay calm,” said Darcis, who famously dumped Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon in 2013.

In the playoffs, where the winners are to feature in the elite World Group next year, Federer defeated Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 as Switzerland wrapped up victory over the Netherlands in Geneva.

However, Federer, 34, who led Switzerland to a first Davis Cup title last year, then hinted that he was rethinking his future in the tournament after a 16-year career.

“My idea was never to win it twice, the idea was always to win it once,” Federer told www.daviscup.com.

“I see this tie in isolation. Next year is an Olympic year. The summer will be very long and packed with highlights. It’s all a question of priorities. I can’t play everything and of course if I do play Davis Cup, other things have to drop out,” he said

In Tashkent, Jack Sock defeated Denis Istomin 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to give 32-time champions the US victory over Uzbekistan.

The Czech Republic, champions in 2012 and 2013, saw off India in sweltering New Delhi, with Jiri Vesely thrashing Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.

Italy also preserved their World Group status when world No. 28 Fabio Fognini defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) to secure victory against hosts Russia in Irkutsk.

In Gdynia, hosts Poland clinched a World Group spot for the first time when Michal Przysiezny defeated Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos in the deciding fifth rubber 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

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