Switzerland rolled but record match keeps Argentina alive
Switzerland`s Davis Cup title defence ended with a whimper on Sunday as Leonardo Mayer ground out the longest win in the tournament`s history to keep Argentina`s hopes alive.
Paris: Switzerland`s Davis Cup title defence ended with a whimper on Sunday as Leonardo Mayer ground out the longest win in the tournament`s history to keep Argentina`s hopes alive.
In searing heat in Buenos Aires, Mayer beat Brazil`s Joao Souza 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 5-7, 15-13 in six hours and 42 minutes, the second-longest singles match on record.
Mayer needed 11 match points to close out a first-round epic which surpassed the previous Davis Cup record of six hours 22 minutes for John McEnroe`s 1982 win over Mats Wilander.
Mayer found the energy, somehow, to bounce up and down in celebration, but shortly afterwards he was treated for dehydration.
The only longer recorded singles match was the legendary, 11-hour battle between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010.
But the marathon win only levelled the tie at 2-2, and Argentina`s Federico Delbonis was leading Thomaz Bellucci 6-3 when darkness stopped play in the decisive fifth rubber.
"We both deserved the victory, to me," Souza said. "But one guy had to lose the match. I just want to say congrats to him."
In Liege, Switzerland`s title defence proved short-lived as Belgium won 3-2 against a side missing Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who led them to their first Davis Cup crown last year.
Henri Laaksonen forced a fifth rubber for Switzerland with a hard-fought 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 victory over Steve Darcis.
But David Goffin, the world number 21, easily dispatched 321st-ranked Adrien Bossel 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 in the decisive match.
Belgium next play Canada, who were also pushed to a fifth match in a 3-2 triumph over Japan.
World number four Kei Nishikori did his part with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Canada`s world number six Milos Raonic in the marquee match in Vancouver.
But Vasek Pospisil made short work of Go Soeda 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to put Canada through as they seek to improve on their best previous Davis Cup showing, a run to the semi-finals in 2013.
Elsewhere, Andy Murray sealed a quarter-final berth for Britain, and Australia and Kazakhstan joined already qualified France and Serbia in the last eight.
Murray, the world number five, starred for Britain, claiming victory with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) win over US number one Isner in Glasgow.
It sealed the winning point in an eventual 3-2 triumph and set up a final eight meeting in July against last year`s runners-up France, who lost both meaningless reverse singles as they polished off a 3-2 victory over Germany in Frankfurt.
"It`s a big win," said former Wimbledon champion Murray. "I was very emotional the whole weekend.
"To be in the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year is incredible."
Bob and Mike Bryan had kept the United States in with a chance of a dramatic fightback as they held off a strong challenge from Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot on Saturday.
The tie ended 3-2 after James Ward retired in the final dead rubber while leading Donald Young.
In Ostrava, Bernard Tomic beat Lukas Rosol in straight sets to lead Australia past the Czech Republic and into a quarter-final clash with Kazakhstan.
Tomic, the 22-year-old world number 38, saw off 29-year-old Rosol, ranked 31, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
"I was playing confidently and consistently and that was the key I think," said Tomic. "I`m happy with the way I did it today."
Czech Jan Mertl beat Samuel Groth 6-3, 6-2 in a dead rubber to round off the score.
It was the seventh time in eight Davis Cup encounters that 28-time champions Australia have beaten the Czech Republic.
They`ll take on a Kazakhstan team that squeezed past Italy 3-2 in Astana.
Aleksandr Nedovyesov, 28, gained the winning point, beating Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 after Mikhail Kukushkin earlier beat Andreas Seppi 7-6 (10/8), 6-0, 6-4.
Serbia, who had advanced unbeaten on Saturday, completed a 5-0 rout of Croatia. The Novak Djokovic-led Serbs now await the winner of Argentina-Brazil.