x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Davis Cup equals long matches, longer faces

The five-set doubles match between Czech Republic and Switzerland would have tested the patience of spectators.

Tomas Berdych, right, and Lukas Rosol took a tournament record seven hours to beat their Swiss opponents. Valentin Flauraud / Reuters
Tomas Berdych, right, and Lukas Rosol took a tournament record seven hours to beat their Swiss opponents. Valentin Flauraud / Reuters

As many have pointed out, the Davis Cup competition sometimes seems to last forever. Some years, it is hard to tell the beginning from the end, since it feels practically perpetual.

Then there is the match that took place over the weekend, wherein new standards of longevity – laced with a dollop of tedium – were established.

As though the Davis duels do not already make a busy season even more taxing for the top players who can be bothered to play, the world No 6 Tomas Berdych participated in a marathon as he led the Czech Republic, who won the 2012 championship in December, into the quarter-finals.

Berdych teamed with his doubles partner Lukas Rosol in a Davis Cup-record seven-hour match before coming back a day later to win in singles, sending the Czech team past Switzerland and to the next stage. OK, nobody attacks the net these days, but this is getting ridiculous.

The score alone is enough to make the heartiest of fans bleary-eyed: 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 24-22. That's correct, the fifth set lasted a numbing 46 games.

The singles match was downright crisp and economical, by comparison; Berdych needed only three hours and four sets to knock off Stanislas Wawrinka.

Berdych said he had been ready, willing and able to battle for as long as was required.

"I was feeling good from the first point and was quite ready for a fifth set," he said.

As for the spectators, well, perhaps not so much.

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