Taiwan advanced to the final of Davis Cup Asia/Ocenia Group II yesterday after Chen Ti rallied from a set down to win the first reverse singles rubber and complete a 3-1 victory over the Philippines in Manila.
World No. 227 Chen fell a set down to Jeson Patrombon at the Philippine Columbian Association, but rallied to complete a 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0, 6-1 victory in 2 hours, 50 minutes.
The Taiwanese saved nine of 17 break points and converted nine of 12, winning 119 of the 214 points contested against an opponent who served up seven double faults.
The victory handed Taiwan a 3-1 victory in the tie after Chen defeated Ruben Gonzales 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in Friday’s first singles rubber and Francis Casey Alcantara retired with world No. 529 Huang Liang-chi leading the second singles rubber 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 1-0.
The Philippines cut the deficit on Saturday when Gonzales and doubles specialist Treat Huey rallied from a set down to defeat Hung Jui-chen and Wang Chieh-fu 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
Yesterday’s dead second reverse singles rubber was not played.
Taiwan face Thailand in the final on Sept. 16 to Sept. 18 after the hosts completed a 5-0 semi-final whitewash of Vietnam at the National Tennis Development Center in Nonthaburi yesterday.
Defending champions Britain, Argentina and France gatecrashed their hosts’ Davis Cup parties to edge closer to the semi-finals on Saturday.
Britain, playing without Wimbledon champion and world No. 2 Andy Murray, took a 2-1 lead over 2010 winners Serbia in Belgrade.
In the second singles rubber, rescheduled from Friday due to heavy rain, Dusan Lajovic defeated James Ward 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to pull the hosts, who are missing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, level, but Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot then beat Filip Krajinovic and Nenad Zimonjic 6-1, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles to move Britain to within one win of the last four.
Krajinovic had replaced Janko Tipsarevic, who was easily defeated by Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in the first singles rubber on Friday.
Ward could win the tie in yesterday’s first reverse singles rubber against Tipsarevic, but if the Serb veteran won then it would come down to a deciding match between world No. 67 Edmund and Lajovic, the two teams’ highest-ranked players.
“Constant pressure is what makes the Davis Cup a great competition and I dealt with it pretty well,” world No. 81 Lajovic said. “If I reproduce this kind of performance against Edmund, I think I have a good chance of winning.”
The winners will face either Argentina or Italy in the semi-finals. Argentina are currently 2-1 in front in their last-eight tie in Pesaro, Italy.
Fabio Fognini had pulled Italy level by beating Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 in a singles rubber held over from Friday because of rain.
“I played my worst two sets of the year,” said Monaco, back in the team after a two-and-a-half-year absence.
However, Juan Martin del Potro marked his first Davis Cup tie in four years by teaming up with Guido Pella to beat Fognini and Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4.
France were also enjoying their hosts’ hospitality by taking a 2-1 lead over 2012 and 2013 champions the Czech Republic in steel town Trinec.
Wimbledon champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, ranked first and second in the world, beat Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in just over three hours.
“We have been getting ready for this rubber for a week,” Mahut said. “We left nothing to chance, we have been together all the time. We know each other by heart and that helps us.”
The winners of that match face either 32-time champions the US or Croatia for a place in the final.
In Portland, Oregon, Croatia fended off elimination as Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig teamed up to beat the formidable US doubles duo of Bob and Mike Bryan 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The hosts were 2-0 up after Friday’s singles rubbers.
Jack Sock stormed back from two sets down to defeat former US Open champion Cilic 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, before world No. 12 John Isner cruised to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Borna Coric.
The Bryans, owners of 16 Grand Slam doubles titles, were a good bet to finish off the tie, but with Cilic stepping in to partner Dodig in place of Marin Draganja the brothers could not get the job done.
With Croatia still one match away from elimination at 2-1, Cilic would try to level the score when he faced Isner in yesterday’s first reverse singles rubber.
Cilic has won five prior encounters against Isner, and was aiming to take advantage of the window he and Dodig had opened.
“Whatever happened the last two days it’s behind us,” Cilic said. “It’s going to be definitely a tough match against John, especially on this kind of court. I’m hoping I am going to be 100 percent and I can pull out a great match.”
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
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