Murray Bros. Put Brits On Brink, Italy Advances
GREAT BRITAIN 2, JAPAN 1
Venue: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, GBR (hard - indoor)
Andy Murray and Jamie Murray are quickly becoming a doubles powerhouse. The brothers gave Great Britain a 2-1 lead with a dominant 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama in Saturday's doubles rubber.
The Murrays improved to 6-0 together in Davis Cup doubles play, firing 12 aces and not facing a break point throughout the one-hour and 53-minute affair. Defending champion Great Britain is bidding to record its 150th tie win this weekend. They turn to Murray to achieve the milestone on Sunday, as the World No. 2 clashes with fellow Top 10 star Kei Nishikori in a blockbuster fourth rubber.
Murray did not drop a set in two meetings with Nishikori last year, prevailing on the clay of the Mutua Madrid Open and on the hard courts of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
ITALY 3, SWITZERLAND 0
Venue: Adriatic Arena, Pesaro, ITA (clay - indoor)
Italy is the first nation to punch its ticket to the quarter-finals, following a ruthless 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 doubles victory by Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi over Marco Chiudinelli and Henri Laaksonen.
The Italian duo eliminated the Swiss side, who were without the services of Top 5 stalwarts Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, in just one hour and 45 minutes. Switzerland has dropped consecutive World Group first round ties since lifting the trophy in 2014.
Italy extended its home winning streak to six straight ties, successfully advancing to the quarter-finals for the third time in four years. The nation will either host Argentina or travel to Poland in July. Argentina currently leads 2-1 on the road in Gdansk.
SERBIA 1, KAZAKHSTAN 2
Venue: Pionir Hall, Belgrade, SRB (hard - indoor)
Novak Djokovic and Serbia finds themselves in an unfamiliar position following a comprehensive 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 doubles defeat to Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov on Saturday. The singles World No. 1 and former doubles No. 1 Nenad Zimonjic fell in two hours and 29 minutes, committing an uncharacteristic 56 unforced errors.
Serbia will look to claw back from 2-1 down when Djokovic faces Mikhail Kukushkin in Sunday's reverse singles. The 28 year old is riding a 22-match win streak in best-of-five set matches and carries a 28-7 record in Davis Cup singles rubbers.
FRANCE 3, CANADA 0
Venue: Vélodrome Amédée Detraux, Guadeloupe, FRA (clay - outdoor)
Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga teamed up to help France gain an unassailable 3-0 lead in their tie against Canada by downing Philip Bester and Vasek Pospisil 7-6(4), 6-1, 7-6(4). The French improved to 3-0 in Davis Cup ties against Canada, having last defeated the Canucks 4-1 in Vancouver four years ago.
The loss of top singles player Milos Raonic and doubles legend Daniel Nestor was too much to overcome for the visitors. Pospisil, the 2014 Wimbledon doubles champion (w/ Sock), is No. 16 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, but had never played a Davis Cup match with Bester. Meanwhile, the Gasquet/Tsonga duo has yet to be defeated when representing France (3-0).
France will face Germany or the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals.