Chile’s Davis Cup team has completed a 4-1 victory over Israel in the final tie to be completed in round one of the World Group action for 2010.
The fairytale story of last year’s Davis Cup, Israel was unable to replicate their success against the Chileans in a tie that was delayed for a day due to the recent earthquake activity in the South American country.
Dudi Sela was last year’s hero for Israel, but it was his loss in the first of the reverse singles matches against Fernando Gonzalez that sealed the win for Chile, and moved them through to the quarter-finals of the competition, where they will again play host, this time to the Czech Republic.
The Czechs completed what was always likely to be a straightforward first-round tie against Belgium, with Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek wrapping up the tie in the first three rubbers where the top-20 players won their respective singles matches before teaming up to take the doubles and a quarter-final berth, with the final scoreline reading 4-1.
Defending champions Spain were also 4-1 winners in their first-round tie. While Switzerland’s No. 1 player for the tie, Stanislas Wawrinka got the Swiss off to a positive start when he took the opening rubber from Nicolas Almagro but the hosts steadied the ship when David Ferrer won the second singles rubber and Spain never looked back from there.
Spain has the potential to substantially bolster their stocks for their quarter-final clash against France, with Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Feliciano Lopez all possible inclusions for that tie. And it’s firepower Albert Costa’s team might need as they seek their third straight Davis Cup title.
France were another to record an easy first-round victory over the weekend, disposing of Germany 4-1 with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils heading one of the more dangerous line-ups in this year’s World Group. They’re not planning on playing hospitable hosts to Spain when the defending champs pay them a visit in July either, and word from the French camp that they are looking for an indoor hard court venue for the quarter-final tie.
It’s a surface that recent results indicate the French will feel comfortable on, and any opportunity to play Spain away from their preferred clay courts is a golden one.
Croatia recorded the most emphatic win in the World Group, a 5-0 rout of Ecuador, and will now play Serbia in the quarters.
The Serbs hosted an Andy Roddick-less USA in the first round, and world No. 2 Novak Djokovic led the way for the home side with singles victories over new kids on the Davis Cup block, John Isner and Sam Querrey, to book a place in the quarter-finals for the first time.
The final quarter-final for 2010 will be between Argentina and Russia, with each winning their opening ties 3-2.
Sweden’s Robin Soderling was always going to lack support from the rest of the team, and so it proved. The top-10 player won both of his singles rubbers to ensure the tie went down to a deciding fifth rubber but Argentina’s David Nalbandian, returning from injury, did the job for the visitors.
Argentina are to potentially welcome back Juan Martin del Potro and Nicolas Almagro for the July quarter-final against a Russian side that will be looking to recall Nikolay Davydenko to its number and also to extend its unbeaten run at home to 19 straight ties.