Three Lead Davis Cup Qualifying
Sweden, France and Switzerland took 2-0 leads in Davis Cup World Group qualifying play Friday while Italy and Belarus split their first two matches.
Davis Cup rookie Andreas Vinciguerra and Mikael Tillstrom won opening singles matches in straight sets for Sweden against India in a bid to stay in the elite 16-nation World Group.
Vinciguerra put the heavily favored Swedes ahead with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 win over Harsh Mankad in Bastad. Then Tillstrom lost only three games in a 6-2, 6-0, 6-1 victory against Prahlad Srinath.
Tillstrom and Nicklas Kulti can clinch the best-of-five series for Sweden if they win Saturday’s doubles against Mahesh Bhupathi and Syed Fazaluddin.
Nicolas Escude and Sebastien Grosjean scored straight-set wins for the French against Austria in Rennes, France. Escude beat 19-year-old Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 before Grosjean defeated Stefan Koubek 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
On Saturday, Escude and Olivier Delaitre will face Austrians Julian Knowle and Thomas Strenberger in doubles.
Roger Federer defeated Vladimir Voltchkov 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-2 and George Bastl beat Max Mirnyi 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 as the Swiss took a 2-0 lead over Belarus in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
If Belarus can dislodge Switzerland, the two teams will trade places, with the Swiss moving down to the Euro/African zonal group, the Davis Cup’s second-rate division.
In doubles Saturday, Federer and Lorenzo Manta take on Mirnyi and Voltchkov.
Italy and Belgium split their opening singles. Davide Sanguinetti came back from a set down to defeat Filip Dewulf, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-0 after Olivier Rochus downed Andrea Gaudenzi 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 to put Belgium up 1-0.