Three notable players who had been nominated (Janko Tipsarevic, Nicolas Almagro, Radek Stepanek), skipped the weekend (injuries). Serbian fans should be happy Novak Djokovic didn’t follow suit despite his effort in Melbourne, last year he’d pulled out of the Davis Cup first round because of tiredness after winning Australian Open (finished the event with two five-hour matches). Former players (Arnaud Clement, Carsten Arriens) made their debuts as team captains… In the most interesting tie of Group I, Poland eliminated Slovenia (all singles players ranked in the Top 100) in Wroclaw. Jerzy Janowicz notched two straight sets wins taking advantage of his powerful serves on fast indoor surface (became eight man to serve 240 kph or more) # Blazs Kavcic, who won fifth set in Australia 10-8 in singles two weeks ago, this time (alongside Grega Zemlja) survived a 13-11 fifth set in doubles.
World Group – first round
Vancouver (indoor-hard):Canada – Spain 3:2
Although Spanish Armada arrived in Canada with its weakest team this Century, deprived of all heroes (Nadal, Ferrer, F.Lopez, Verdasco), still could be considered as a favorite having Top 5 doubles players and three singles players ranked higher than second best Canadian (Pospisil). However, the Davis Cup spirit elevates nations and Spaniards were almost eliminated after two days! On Friday, Raonic got the first point as expected, dispatching Ramos (DC debut, replaced Alamgro) with 26 aces not being forced to hear ‘deuce’ in 21 service games. In the second rubber, third Canadian, but more experienced than Pospisil, Dancevic delivered one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. He was pumped up from first to last point producing all shots in the book, and needed just 1:48 hrs to upset Granollers, who was playing his standard, solid tennis, which guaranteed him a short period in the Top 20. Dancevic saved all 13 break points, including six in the last, and most entertaining game of the match (seven deuces). Canadian doubles team, inspired by Dancevic’s show-time, came within four games (a lot in tennis!) from clinching the tie, Nestor/Pospisil had a break point at 2-all in the 4th set, Lopez threw his racquet then the only time on Saturday and the momentum shifted onto Spanish side; the 40-year-old Nestor, who actually alone won 3rd set tie-break, unfortunately faded in the middle of the 4th set and couldn’t recover, more than 3-hour matches not for him anymore. Alex Corretja surprised me giving a chance in the fourth rubber to Garcia-Lopez, who came to Vancouver having lost nine tour matches in a row! GGL had a break point at 2-all in the 1st set, but since then Raonic was doing on court what he wanted serving 2nd serve aces, hitting backhand down the line better than ever, and wrapped up a straight sets victory with a rally consisted of two spectacular overheads. Spain is eliminated in the first round for the first time since 2006 whilst Canadians go through to the quarterfinals for the first time ever (they were one game away 21 years ago, when a player who failed to serve it out is named… Nestor… against Sweden; he lost that rubber to Magnus Gustafsson 4-6 6-2 6-3 5-7 4-6).
Milos Raonic – Albert Ramos 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 6-4 Frank Dancevic – Marcel Granollers 6-1 6-2 6-2 Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil – Marcel Granollers/Mark Lopez 6-4 4-6 7-6(4) 3-6 2-6 Milos Raonic – Guillermo Garcia-Lopez6-3 6-4 6-2 Frank Dancevic – Albert Ramos 5-7 4-6
Turin (indoor-clay):Italy – Croatia 3:2
Corrado Barazzutti made a smart move to save Fognini’s energy and designed Lorenzi to the opening rubber despite the 31-year-old journeyman hadn’t played “best of five” match in Davis Cup. Admittedly Lorenzi lost to Cilic, but made his task wearing the Croat thanks to extending him to five sets, which might have influenced on his form during doubles. Fognini and Bolelli withstood two set points in the 4th set tie-break on Saturday, and ‘Fog’ finished the job on Sunday outplaying Dodig in four sets. Italians celebrated enthusiastically their first advancement to the Davis Cup quarterfinals since 1998 (that year they reached the final). Fognini has improved his Davis Cup record to 11-2 (2-0 doubles).
Paolo Lorenzi – Marin Cilic 1-6 7-6(6) 6-4 3-6 2-6 Andreas Seppi – Ivan Dodig 6-2 6-7(2) 6-4 6-4 Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini – Marin Cilic/Ivan Dodig 3-6 6-1 6-3 7-6(11) Andreas Seppi – Marin Cilic 3-6 3-6 5-7 Fabio Fognini – Ivan Dodig4-6 6-4 6-4 6–4
Charleroi (indoor-clay): Belgium – Serbia 2:3
Belgians grew mustaches (except Goffin, too weak facial hair?), but it didn’t help. They had some outlook for an upset there, because Serbs were weakened by the lack of Tipsarevic. Nevertheless representing of his country gets the best out of Troicki (16-9 DC record, 14-8 WTC – singles & doubles). He somehow turned around an opening rubber against Goffin being two points away from a straight sets loss. On the following day he massively contributed in doubles, all set points were won when he was returning (Belgians saved a match point in the 3rd set on his return as well – Zimonjic almost finished them with a stretch-volley). “I thought we were in control the whole match,” said Troicki on doubles. “I think we both played great today. It’s a great feeling to win after the second day. I couldn’t be happier.” Djokovic came back to the team after missing both ties in 2012, and has leveled H2H against Rochus at 3-all.
David Goffin – Viktor Troicki 6-1 6-3 6-7(5) 4-6 4-6 Olivier Rochus – Novak Djokovic 3-6 2-6 2-6 Ruben Bemelmans/Steve Darcis – Viktor Troicki/Nenad Zimonjic 4-6 4-6 7-5 4-6 David Goffin – Boris Pashanski 6-4 2-6 6-2 Steve Darcis – Nenad Zimonjic 6-2 6-4
Jacksonville (indoor-hard):USA – Brazil 3:2
It was a tie that seemed a cakewalk for the United States. Two easy wins on Friday and the most reliable part of the team – the Bryans, who often clinch ties, led 5:1 in the 1st set tie-break against the good Brazilian duo. The twins blew a triple set point and things got complicated. They lost in five sets (their first Davis Cup five-setter!) worsening a bit their marvelous DC record to 20-3, and Sunday delivered unexpected emotions in rather empty venue – it was a day of the championship NHL Super Bowl game. Isner lost to Bellucci despite leading two-sets-to-one (the Brazilian got the decisive break in the 8th game of the final set after 7 deuces) and “American Saviour” Querrey found himself in a position of a set deficit (!) against a broadly unknown Alves, who sensed his lifetime opportunity and was playing with exceptional commitment emphasized by noisy grunting. At 2:3 (deuce) in the 2nd set he missed a volley that he shouldn’t have played (the ball was going outside the sideline) and lost the momentum. Querrey’s superiority paid off after two and a half hours, but he choked badly serving to win the tie at 5:4 (40/30) in the 4th set. USA and Brazil met 16 years ago and the current US captain Jim Courier secured decisive win (over an unexperienced Gustavo Kuerten).
Sam Querrey – Thomaz Bellucci 6-3 6-4 6-4 John Isner – Thiago Alves 6-3 7-6(4) 6-3 Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan – Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares 6-7(6) 7-6(7) 4-6 6-3 3-6 John Isner – Thomaz Bellucci 6-2 4-6 7-6(7) 4-6 3-6 Sam Querrey – Thiago Alves 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3)
Rouen (indoor-hard):France – Israel 5:0
Quick whitewashing. Well, three initial rubbers of Arnaud Clement‘s debut in a new role lasted shorter than the last two sets of a doubles marathon between Czechs and Switzerland! Frenchmen confirmed that are very tough to beat at home. “It was a nice match,” said Llodra after clinching doubles. “We had a couple of chances at the beginning of the first set and after that it was equal until the end of the set. Afterwards, it was easier for us. We played unbelievable in the last two sets. It was a nice atmosphere today on the court and we are very proud to win this match.” It’s a pity France will meet Argentina in the quarterfinals because both teams deserve at least semifinals each year. On the other hand such a draw opens an opportunity for an unheralded team in the semifinals (Canada vs. Italy) which is good as well.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Amir Weintraub 6-3 6-3 4-6 7-5 Richard Gasquet – Dudi Sela 6-3 6-2 6-2 Julien Benneteau/Michael Llodra – Jonathan Erlich/Dudi Sela 7-6(3) 6-1 6-0 Michael Llodra – Noam Okun 6-3 7-6(5) Richard Gasquet – Amir Weintraub 6-4 6-3
Buenos Aires (clay):Argentina – Germany 5:0
Germans had a good chance on paper to make a revenge for a bitter loss to Argentina on home soil last year. They appeared with the strongest possible team at the moment, while Argentinians deprived of Del Potro, with uncertain Monaco (1-5 record against Flo Mayer prior to the tie) and Nalbandian (he was supposed to play his first match of the year). In the opening rubber bad luck hit the German team though – Kohlschreiber being 4:3* ahead pulled a hamstring in left leg chasing Berlocq’s awful dropshot. After a medical time-out he had three mini-match points, but every time Berlocq got points with service winners. The German, who is a specialist of tight 5th sets (he had a 7-0 record when scoreline reached 5-all in the 5th set), admittedly held his serve easily standing on one leg, but when he found himself at 0/40 leading 5:4, being without any chance of running due to injury, decided to retire. Credit to Berlocq for hanging in there for four hours, but his reaction after winning in these circumstances (ripped off his T-shirt) may be considered as rather tasteless. He said this victory is the most important one in his career and a “dream come true”, celebrated his 30th birthday adding another win to his resume on Sunday.
Carlos Berlocq – Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-4 4-5 ret. Juan Monaco – Florian Mayer 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 6-4 David Nalbandian/Horacio Zeballos – Tobias Kamke/Christian Kas 6-1 6-4 5-7 6-2 Juan Monaco – Tobias Kamke6-4 7-6(2) Carlos Berlocq – Christian Kas 6-2 6-4
Astana (indoor-clay):Kazakhstan – Austria 3:1
Three years ago Golubev  unexpectedly won his maiden title in Hamburg beating Melzer in the final, this time he stunned the Austrian in the opening reverse singles after 2 hours 25 minutes and those two wins (only matches between them) are actually the most important in his career. In the pivotal 3rd set, Golubev twice came from a 0/30 deficit on serve before got the decisive break at 3-all, since then he never looked back. Kazakhs go through to the quarterfinals for the second time, two years ago they ousted Czech Republic, deprived of Stepanek. Golubev is a Davis Cup beast: 17-5 record (4-1 in doubles). “I just really wanted to win this match and I was putting a lot of effort into my serve and my returns,” said Golubev. “This certainly wasn’t a simple game. I played all three days but I still feel pretty fresh. I think it was tougher for me mentally.”
The host team without Federer, the cup defenders without Stepanek, so pretty open tie from general perspective. Who could expect that substitutes (Chiudinelli and Rosol) would be strong enough to be part of the longest doubles match in history (7 hours 1 minute, the longest one overall as far as one day of play is concerned)? ## Actually they were holding serves easier than much more experienced partners, especially Rosol (the only man playing on back of the court on serve), who was amazingly fresh in the 5th set which lasted 3 hours 36 minutes! Wawrinka, recently involved in a marathon against Djokovic at Aussie Open, was making miracles to save match points – he saved 11 in four different games (one at 7:8, two at 15:16, five at 19:20 and a triple match point at 21:22)! Most of those match points he fought off with very good serves, but there was a reflex volley and a backhand down the line (passing-shot) too. There were 60 (!) consecutive holds since the late stage of the 3rd set, eventually Chiudinelli didn’t maintain the pressure. He saved first match point on his serve (12th in total), but at 30/40 committed a double fault. The Swiss guys lost the epic battle despite winning more points (284-279), but they didn’t create too many opportunities in the 5th set, actually had chances for a break just twice: at 7:7 (double break point on Berdych’s serve) and a break point at 8:8… Chiudinelli saved a double break point in his opening service game of the deciding set and was 0/30 serving at 14:15. “I have never played tennis that long,” said Berdych, who lost 22-24 deciding 3rd set at the Olympics last year alongside Stepanek. “I like it because I now have a new experience but we still need one more point, so let’s go again Sunday.” Wawrinka & Berdych almost played another 5-setter on Sunday, the Swiss led 5:2* in the 4th set tie-break, but Berdych rallied to win five points in a row. They spent together on court 10 hours 16 minutes (eight minutes longer than Cilic and Nalbandian last year in Buenos Aires)!
Stanislas Wawrinka – Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-3 6-4 Henri Laaksonen – Tomas Berdych 3-6 2-6 7-6(5) 1-6 Marco Chiudinelli/Stanislas Wawrinka – Lukas Rosol/Tomas Berdych 4-6 7-5 4-6 7-6(3) 22-24 Stanislas Wawrinka – Tomas Berdych 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-7(5) Henri Laaksonen – Jiri Vesely 0-6 6-3 6-1
Group I: Uruguay d. Dominikana 3:1, Australia d. Taipei 5:0, Uzbekistan d. China 4:1, Korea d. India 4:1, Japan d. Indonesia 5:0, Poland d. Slovenia 3:2, Romania d. Denmark 5:0, Ukraine d. Slovakia 3:2
# Five fastest serves:
1. Ivo Karlovic – 251 kph (156 mph)Zagreb 2011, Davis Cup
2. Andy Roddick – 155 mph (249 kph) Charleston 2004, Davis Cup
2. Milos Raonic – 250 kph (155 mph)Toronto 2012
4. Joachim Johansson – 245 kph (152 mph)Adelaide 2004, Davis Cup
5. Feliciano Lopez – 242 kph (150 mph)Toronto 2008
6. Taylor Dent – 241 kph (149 mph)Rotterdam 2006
6. John Isner – 149 mph (241 kph)Cincinnati 2011
6. Jerzy Janowicz – 240 kph (149 mph)Wroclaw 2013, Davis Cup
## Five longest doubles matches in history:
7 hours 1 minute: 2013 Davis Cup T.Berdych / L.Rosol d. M.Chiudinelli / S.Wawrinka
6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(3), 24-22 * 6 hours 20 minutes: 1973 Davis Cup
S.Smith / E.Van Dillen d. J.Fillol / P.Cornejo
7-9, 37-39, 8-6, 6-1, 6-3 6 hours 20 minutes: 2002 Davis Cup
L.Arnold / D.Nalbandian d. Y.Kafelnikov / M.Safin
6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 19-17 6 hours 9 minutes: 2006 Wimbledon, QF
M.Knowles / D.Nestor d. S.Aspelin / T.Perry
5-7, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 23-21 5 hours 58 minutes: 2007 Wimbledon, 2R
R.Melo / A.Sa d. P.Hanley / K.Ullyett 5-7, 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(7), 28-26
Blue: longest Open era sets in doubles in terms of games (overall and fifth set respectively)
* Previous longest Davis Cup 5th set in doubles (in terms of games) occurred in 1957 as C.Fernades/A.Vieira d. A.Avidan-Weiss/E.Davidman 1-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 23-21 (Brazil d. Israel 5-0, year 1957)
5 set barometer: 16-7 Marin Cilic, 14-6 Philipp Kohlschreiber, 10-9 Viktor Troicki, 8-4 Denis Istomin, 5-7 Thomaz Bellucci, 4-11 John Isner 3-1 Di Wu, 2-0 Adrian Ungur, 2-1 Farrukh Dustov, 2-2 David Goffin, 1-1 Carlos Berlocq, Ze Zhang, 0-2 Paolo Lorenzi, 0-3 Martin Pedersen