France, Spain, USA and Argentina advance to Davis Cup final
France, Spain, the United States and Argentina qualified for the Davis Cup final while Belgium beat hosts Finland 3-2 in the qualifiers on Saturday.
Australia came from behind to beat Hungary 3-2 in Sydney, as did Italy against Slovakia in Bratislava.
France ticked all their boxes by beating Ecuador 4-0 in Pau, their first home game since the 2018 final. Arthur Rinderknech picked up his first singles victory, Benjamin Bonzi won on his debut and the team doubles of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut remained undefeated in six years.
Spain beat Romania 3-1 in Marbella. After Roberto Bautista Agut and 19th-ranked Carlos Alcaraz won the opening singles on Friday, Romania caught up to them in the doubles on Saturday when Marius Copil and Horia Tecau – playing Davis Cup for 13 years – won. But Bautista Agut clinched the tie by beating Copil, playing his third match in two days, 6-2, 6-3.
The USA doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock built on the singles victories of Sebastian Korda and Taylor Fritz on Friday by winning the draw against Colombia 3-0 in Reno, Nevada, after defeating Nicolas Barrientos and Juan-Sebastian Cabal 6-3, 6-4.
A strong Argentinian side led by Diego Schwartzman and Horacio Zeballos beat the Czech Republic 4-0 in Buenos Aires for a set loss.
The unknown Zizou Bergs, ranked 163rd, won for Belgium, vice-champion of the Davis Cup in 2015 and 2017, against Finland in Espoo.
Finland led 2-1 after the double but David Goffin beat Emil Ruusuvuori for his second point and Bergs, who lost to Ruusuvuori on Friday, won the decisive point for Belgium by eliminating Otto Virtanen 6-4, 6-0.
Australia also trailed 2-1 after the doubles against Hungary, but won the reverse singles in straight sets when Alex de Minaur beat Marton Fucsovics – both rated in the 30s – and Thanasi Kokkinakis beat Zsombor Piros in the clincher.
Alexander Zverev, the only top-five player in action this weekend, sealed Germany’s 3-1 victory over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian Thiago Monteiro upset Jan-Lennard Struff on Friday but No. 3-ranked Zverev put him out 6-1, 7-5 on the first reverse single. Germany haven’t won the Davis Cup for almost 30 years.
Italy beat Slovakia 3-2. Slovakia led 2-1 after the double, but Jannik Sinner made it 2-2 and Lorenzo Musetti, two days after his 20th birthday, won his first Davis Cup singles beating Norbert Gombos 6-7(3), 6- 2, 6- 4.
Norway lost in Oslo to Kazakhstan 3-1 when No. 8-ranked Casper Ruud fell to No. 32 Alexander Bublik 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. The loss ended Ruud’s 10-game Davis Cup singles winning streak since 2017.
Elias Ymer, ranked 133 in singles and 390 in doubles, played for Sweden after his younger brother Mikael was injured before facing Japan in Helsingborg. Elias won his Friday singles and his first Davis Cup doubles on Saturday. Taro Daniel tied the tie at 2-2 and Elias won it after beating Yosuke Watanuki 6-3, 6-3.
Only two draws did not go as seeded: under-scored Canada lost to the Netherlands for the first time in 18 years, and Austria lost to South Korea in Seoul.
Canada were without No. 9-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 13-ranked Denis Shapovalov, and Alexis Galarneau made his debut. The 2019 runners-up lost to the Netherlands 4-0 and didn’t win a set in The Hague.
South Korea reached the World Group for the first time in 14 years. Dennis Novak won the first point for Austria but Soonwoo Kwon won his two singles, and Jisung Nam and Minkyu Song won the double for a 3-1 win without dropping a set.
The 12 winners on Saturday advanced to World Group I of the Davis Cup final in mid-September, joining 2021 runners-up Croatia and wildcards Great Britain and Serbia. It remains to be determined the replacement of the 2021 champion, Russia, excluded this week after the invasion of Ukraine by this country. The first eight will go to the final at the end of November.
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