Paris: Former champions Australia, Germany and Italy punched tickets to the Davis Cup finals on Saturday, while Japan rallied from a 2-1 deficit as Taro Daniel won the decisive rubber to overcome China.
Australia romped to a 4-0 rout of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Adelaide, as John Peers and Jordan Thompson clinched the tie with a 7-5, 6-1 defeat of Mirza Basic and Tomislav Brkic in the doubles.
Teenager Alexei Popyrin, in his Davis Cup debut, followed up with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) win over Nerman Fatic, while the fifth match was not played.
Germany, who won the last of three titles in 1993, eased to a 3-0 victory over Hungary as Jan-Lennard Struff and Tim Puetz strolled to a 6-2, 6-3 doubles triumph. World number three Alexander Zverev had crushed Peter Nagy on Friday to put the Germans within touching distance of the finals after Philipp Kohlschreiber opened the tie in Frankfurt by outlasting Zsombor Piros 6-7 (8/6), 7-5, 6-4.
Andreas Seppi guided Italy into the finals of the revamped competition after the 1976 champions dispatched India 3-1.
Seppi brushed aside India’s number one Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-1, 6-4 in the first reverse singles tie on Kolkata’s grass court after India avoided a whitewash by taking the doubles.
Italy, who had led 2-0, overnight were forced to extend the encounter after Simone Bolelli and Matteo Berrettini lost to Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan 6-4, 3-6, 4-6.
Daniel rescues Japan
Japan fought back after dropping the doubles to sweep the reverse singles in Guangzhou as Daniel clinched the final point with a tense 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 victory over Li Zhe.
Yoshihito Nishioka thrashed Wu Yibing 6-2, 6-0 to level the tie after Gong Mao-Xin and Zhang Ze edged Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.
Kazakhstan are also through as Mikhail Kukushkin completed a 3-1 victory over Portugal by swatting Joao Sousa aside 6-4, 6-1.
Canada will need Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime to both win in singles after they lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to Slovakia’s Martin Klizan and Filip Polasek. Uzbekistan roared back from 2-0 down to send their clash against Serbia, playing without Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, to a fifth rubber in Tashkent.
Denis Istomin partnered Sanjar Fayziev to a 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over Nikola Milojevic and Viktor Troicki in the doubles before he downed Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 in the singles.
Under the new format adopted by the International Tennis Federation, the Davis Cup will be decided at a season-ending 18-team event between the week of November 18-24.
Rubbers are now played in a best-of-three-set format, replacing the long-used best-of-five, with the reverse singles matches played on Saturday after the doubles, shortening the ties by one day to two.
The 12 winners in qualifying this weekend will join automatic qualifiers Croatia, France, United States, Spain, Argentina and Britain in November’s finals in Madrid. — AFP