Switzerland beats Italy 3-1 in Davis Cup semifinal
GENEVA (AP) — Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka each have Grand Slam singles titles, and Olympic gold together in doubles. Now they can win Switzerland’s first Davis Cup trophy in the competition’s 114-year history.
Federer carried the Swiss to a first final in 22 years, beating Fabio Fognini of Italy in the opening reverse singles Sunday for a winning 3-1 lead in their semifinal. France will host the final on Nov. 21-23.
Federer celebrated with skipping jumps across the court on completing a 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (4) win against the 17th-ranked Fognini.
“It’s fabulous to share in this moment,” Federer said in an on-court interview after being hoisted on the shoulders of Wawrinka and captain Severin Luethi for a lap of honor round the court.
Their celebrations delighted a noisy 18,000-plus crowd at Palexpo indoor arena.
Switzerland reached the final only once before, in 1992 against a United States team of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.
“It’s nice that we are going to have the opportunity to do something very special at the end of the year,” Federer said at the winning team’s news conference.
In Federer’s only previous Davis Cup semifinal 11 years ago, he lost a decisive reverse singles match against Lleyton Hewitt in Australia.
At age 33, Federer now has his best chance to add one of the few titles to elude him.
Third-ranked Federer and No. 4 Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, should face a strong France team, injuries permitting.
France’s 4-1 victory over two-time defending champion Czech Republic this weekend featured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ranked No. 12, Gael Monfils the No. 18, and No. 21 Richard Gasquet. All three officially live in Switzerland.
“For sure it can be amazing if we get that trophy, but it will be tough,” said Wawrinka, who has had a career year at age 29.
Federer is intrigued if the French will use its home-team advantage to opt for clay or hard courts, potentially in Lille.
“We are eager to find out what surface they are going to choose,” Federer said. “I think it’s difficult for them as it is.”
On Sunday, Federer was rarely troubled to improve to 3-0 against Fognini, who again failed to win a set off his opponent.
The key point in the tiebreaker was Federer’s forehand crosscourt return of serve for a winner to lead 5-4. He followed with an ace, and then won a rally on Fognini’s serve when the Italian netted a forehand.
Federer was rarely troubled in the first set after firing an ace to save a break-point chance in his second service game.
He broke Fognini’s service to lead 4-2 and clinched when the Italian was frustrated by more service trouble with double faults and a foot fault.
A rare failure of Federer’s forehand saw three break-point chances slip in Fognini’s opening service of the second set.
Federer forced a 5-3 lead when Fognini netted a forehand and slammed his racket to the floor.
The Italian right-hander played his best tennis yet in a dynamic rally to save Federer’s first set-point chance, before failing to handle the next service.
Fognini raised his play in the third set, forcing four break-point chances which Federer saved, and punching the air when good defense won a key point on his own serve.
In a series of longer rallies, Fognini’s varied play moved Federer around the court but could not create a decisive break.
With Federer falling just short in the Grand Slams this season, the Davis Cup could yet cap his season.
“It’s true it’s a great year so far,” Federer said.