Davis Cup – play-offs

A tie between Australia and Switzerland required playing one game on Monday to conclude a Hewitt-Wawrinka rubber, which was suspended due to darkness at 5:3 for the Swiss in the 5th set. After the resumption, Lleyton Hewitt [199] led in that game 30-0 on serve, but lost four points in a row and the match 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7), 4-6, 3-6… Stan Wawrinka [19] squandered four set points in the 3rd set tie-break.
Also amazingly dramatic tie occurred in Kazan where Russians took on Brazilians. Mikhail Youzhny [32] leveled at 2-2 winning the longest match of his career – overcame Thomaz Bellucci 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 14-12 exactly after 5 hours (the longest match of the season). I thought that Youzhny was boiled as he lost the 17th game of the final set because Bellucci [38] forced him to running from side to side. However, the Russian showed great stamina and fought off a double match point at 8:9 (15-40) with a service winner (Bellucci risked a hard forehand return) and a consistent combination of inside-outside forehands. The Russian “joker” Dmitry Tursunov, finished the job outplaying in four sets Ricardo Mello.
Milos Raonic came back after a hip injury, and played his first match since Wimbledon in Ramat Hasharon (Israel vs. Canada), but it was Vasek Pospisil [124], who secured the Canadian advancement to the World Group. First, the 21-year-old Canadian made an upset prevailing in an almost 5-hour battle against Dudi Sela, then in the final rubber hit 27 aces to win as a favorite in straight sets against Amir Wintraub. The other hero of the weekend, Kei Nishikori won two singles rubbers against the Indians to give Japan the first participation in the World Group since 1985.
All top 4 players defended their countries during the weekend, Andy Murray on much more lower level (Group II, Euro-African Zone). Great Britain beat Hungary 5-0 in Glasgow, Murray took the opportunity to improve his excellent tie-break record this year (14-4), in matches against completely unknown opponents: Kiss [unranked] & Balazs [262]. “The mandatory events is the worst thing. All you had to do originally was play in nine Masters Series and four slams, that was 13 events” complained Murray on a principle that every player must also enter four other tournaments, beside four majors and eight Masters 1000 events [Monte Carlo is no longer mandatory]. The Brit is going to play in Bangkok next week…

Results of the WG play-offs: Romania – Czech Republik 0-5; Russia – Brazil 3-2; Israel – Canada 2-3; South Africa – Croatia 1-4; Chile – Italy 1-4; Japan – India 4-1; Belgium – Austria 1-4; Australia – Switzerland 2-3
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