Online Games and Tech Editor Rosie Howard looks back at the quarter-final stage of the Davis Cup, which saw Great Britain knocked out by a strong Italian outfit:
With the quarter finals of the 2014 Davis Cup recently drawing to a close, it was unfortunate to see Great Britain knocked out from the tournament by a strong Italian team. This destroyed any hope of Britain reaching their first Davis Cup semi-final since 1981. Over the five rounds it was closely fought battle between the two nations, with Italy just inching out in front to win 3-2.
Andy Murray had a strong start, winning both his single and doubles matches on the first day of play. However, he could not maintain his form in his final match against Fabio Fognini, and missed multiple opportunities to regain any control over the match. James Ward, after his shock win against Sam Queerey of the USA in the first-round, was unable to keep up against his final opponent Andreas Seppi, who finally ended Great Britain’s hopes by winning in straight sets.
Even with Great Britain now out of the running for the title, the semi finals, to be played in mid September, should be worth the wait. Team Italy will now face a strong Swiss team, who will be playing in their first Davis Cup semi-final since 2003. Switzerland performed well in their quarter-final match, making a stunning comeback against Kazakhstan. The Swiss were 2-1 down going into the second day of play. Both Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer played exceptionally well to win their matches comfortably, with Wawrinka, in particular, coming back fiercely from a set down against Mikhail Kukushkin. The Swiss team, after such a persuasive performance, look up for a fight.
It was also a very decisive victory for the Czech Republic against Japan, winning 5-0. The Japanese team were simply overwhelmed by the performance of the Czechs, who are hoping to claim the title for a third year running. They will face France in the semi-finals, and it will be interesting to see how France hold up against the favourites.
France did well to rally and come back from 2-0 down against Germany in their quarter final. Germany, the much less experienced and lower ranked team, shocked many by taking the early lead. Frenchman Julian Benneteau suffered a surprise straight set defeat to Tobias Kamke. However, the experience of the French team soon showed, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils hitting back hard to comfortably win their singles matches, and secure victory for France. How they will hold themselves against the Czech team is under question, but their perseverance and mental strength was in evidence. Expect a closely fought contest between France and the Czech – Republic.
At this stage of the competition, it is hard to call the winner. Whilst the Czech Republic may be favourites after brushing away their opponents in the quarter-finals, both France and Switzerland performed well, and showed great determination to come back from the brink of defeat. If the Czech Republic become complacent, the French may just have the edge. Italy vs Switzerland will be a close fight, and a hard one to call, but I feel the home advantage the Swiss will have, as they did in the quarters, may just help them to pull out in front.