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France advances to Davis Group QFs, Spain to host Germany

  • Alexander Zverev of Germany, center, celebrates with his team after he won his match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Davis Cup World Group first round in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard) Tertius Pickard

  • Nick Kyrgios of Australia smashes his racquet to the ground in his match against Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Davis Cup World Group first round in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard) Tertius Pickard

  • German team celebrate after compatriot Alexander Zverev, second from left, won over Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Davis Cup World Group first round in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard) Tertius Pickard

  • Alexander Zverev of Germany reacts after winning the second set in his match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Davis Cup World Group first round in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard) Tertius Pickard


Associated Press
Sunday, February 04, 2018

Defending champion France advanced to the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup after beating the Netherlands, 3-1, Sunday for its eighth win in nine matches at home.

Adrian Mannarino won the first reverse singles in Albertville, France, after 4 hours, 20 minutes of an arduous contest against Robin Haase which featured 34 break-point chances.

Mannarino won, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-7 (2), 7-5, and punched the air as the French team celebrated wildly and poured water over Mannarino’s head.

The last first-round singles wasn’t played as France clinched its World Group quarterfinal spot against host Italy in April.

Fabio Fognini powered Italy to a 3-1 victory over Japan, beating Yuichi Sugita, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5, in the first reverse singles.

At 40-15 in the final game, Sugita saved the first match point before hitting long on the second.

Italy advanced to its fifth quarterfinals in the past six years.

Spain beat Britain 3-1 and hosts Germany in the quarterfinals.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated Cameron Norrie, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, Sunday to put Spain through.

“It was a long match, a great match, we both fought a lot. To finish like this is amazing,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “This is the Davis Cup, it’s not easy to play like a normal tournament, but I think I did a great job.”

The hosts had to do without Rafael Nadal while Britain was without Andy Murray.

Alexander Zverev powered Germany through to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over Australia, beating Nick Kyrgios, 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

“It’s an amazing feeling, hopefully this is just the beginning for us,” the fifth-ranked Zverev said.

No. 14-ranked Kyrgios looked frustrated from the start of the match on hard courts at Brisbane’s Pat Rafter Arena, and required a second-set medical timeout to receive treatment on his right arm.

Kyrgios was clearly restricted ahead of the second-set tiebreaker, earning a point penalty to trail 4-0 after slamming his racket into the ground following another unforced error – he made 34 in the match.

“My biggest weapon (serve) was not really there and that affects the rest of my game,” he said.

The United States had already secured its quarterfinal place on Saturday with an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Serbia in Nis. It ended 3-1 after Serbia’s Pedja Krstin beat Steve Johnson, 6-1, 7-5, in the only match on Sunday.

The Americans will have a home quarterfinal against Belgium, which beat Hungary, 3-2.

Belgium, the 2017 finalist, clinched its place after David Goffin, now 23-3 in cup singles, won the first reverse singles against Marton Fucsovics, who was playing his third match in three days. Goffin won in four sets, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Croatia hosts Kazakhstan in the remaining quarterfinal.

Kazakhstan won 4-1 at home against Switzerland, which was without Roger Federer. Marc-Andrea Huesler got Switzerland’s only point with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Roman Khassanov on Sunday before Dmitry Popko beat Adrian Bodmer, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 10-6.

The Swiss, since winning the title in 2014, have lost in the first round each year since.

Croatia prevailed 3-1 over Canada as Borna Coric defeated Denis Shapovalov, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

The quarterfinals take place April 6-8.

Australia, Britain, Canada, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Serbia and Switzerland are in the World Group playoffs in September.