x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Federer win, Wawrinka loss has Swiss locked up with Kazakhstan entering Day 2

Stanislas Wawrinka suffered a shock defeat to Kazakh Andrey Golubev on Friday, but Roger Federer brought the Swiss even by handling Mikhail Kukushkin. The two will pair up for doubles on Saturday.

Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts after wining against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on Friday. Salvatore Di Nofli / EPA / April 4, 2014
Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts after wining against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on Friday. Salvatore Di Nofli / EPA / April 4, 2014

Roger Federer saved Stanislas Wawrinka’s blushes after the Australian Open champion suffered a shock defeat to unheralded Kazakh Andrey Golubev in the Davis Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

The world number three was stunned 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) by 64th ranked Golubev as Kazakhstan took an early 1-0 lead over the Swiss in Geneva.

But 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer then stormed to a straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Mikhail Kukushkin to level the tie.

Golubev’s victory, achieved in just under three and a quarter hours, revived bad memories for Wawrinka who lost both his matches -- a singles and a doubles rubber -- in a 5-0 whitewash victory for Kazakhstan over Switzerland in Astana in 2010.

“I know you’re going to consult all the sports psychologists to find out why I lost to Golubev,” said Wawrinka wryly.

“It came down to a few points that made the difference, which he was able to play freely.”

An understated Golubev said after one of his biggest career wins: “It was a great match I think for me.

“The key was to try and be aggressive and not to give him too much time. I think I did good.”

Federer, the world number four, kept his cool to record a second stright-sets win over 56th-ranked Kukushkin in as many meetings, having beaten the Kazakh in the first round of Wimbledon in 2011.

“It was important to stay calm. I was well concentrated, felt good in my legs and served well,” said Federer.

Title-holders Czech Republic took a 2-0 lead over Japan in Tokyo.

Despite missing world number five Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol claimed battling victories over a weakened Japan team, who are without talisman Kei Nishikori due to injury while Go Soeda has a virus.

Stepanek beat Tatsuma Ito 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-1, 7-5 in the opening rubber while Rosol then overcame Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2.

“I’m very happy to be at 2-0,” Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil told reporters. “They had nothing to lose and in the end of both matches we were a little bit lucky.”

Stepanek was in trouble early on against Ito and needed to make a diving volley to avoid going down two sets to love.

But having won the second set tie-break, the world 47 took control against an opponent ranked almost 100 places lower than him.

Rosol blew a two-set lead against a player ranked 150 places below him before pulling it together to win his first ever five-set match.

Italy took a 1-0 lead over Great Britain in Naples as clay-court specialist Fabio Fognini overcame a disjointed start to beat James Ward 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

After a two-hour rain delay, Fognini took his time to get into his stride before eventually running away with it.

Andy Murray looked on course to bring Britain level, though, when bad light stopped play as he led Andreas Seppi 6-4, 5-5.

However, the world number eight had to battle back from a break down in the second set and then save four break points at 5-4 to ensure the 34th-ranked Seppi didn’t level the match at a set-all.

In the other quarter-final, France had a disastrous start against a weak Germany, losing both the opening rubbers in Nancy.

Despite missing their top six ranked players, Germany saw the world number 96 Tobias Kamke beat Julien Benneteau, the 50th-ranked player, 7-6 (10/8), 6-3, 6-2.

Worse was to follow for the hosts when 12th ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 7-6 (10/8), 8-6 to the world nbumber 119, Peter Gojowczyk -- only ranked 10 in Germany.

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