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Tennis France and the USA secure places for the Davis Cup final

ATP Cup
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP Cup – Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia – January 2, 2022 France’s Arthur Rinderknech in action during his group stage match against Russia’s Roman Safiullin REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

March 6, 2022

(Reuters) – France and the United States advanced to the Davis Cup final on Saturday with dominant victories, while Spain survived a comeback attempt from Romania to win their qualifier.

France, 2-0 up thanks to Arthur Rinderknech and Adrian Mannarino, faced little resistance from Ecuador as Benjamin Bonzi and doubles Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicholas Mahut secured the 10-time champions victory.

“It’s never easy to play against a team where you’re the favourite, but we respected our opponents a lot and that’s why we managed to win,” said Herbert.

At their home game in Reno, Nevada, Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram defeated Colombians Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Nicolas Barrientos 6-3, 6-4 in their doubles game to give the USA a 3-0 win in their best-of- Five qualification.

“I thought we came out with a lot of energy, thought we worked really well,” Sock said at a news conference. “We got up early in every set, which definitely helps a lot. The 4-all, 5-all games would have been stressful.”

Roberto Bautista Agut won his second singles rubber to help Spain, who are without 21-time Major winner Rafa Nadal, win their tie against Romania and secure a place in the final.

Romania, 2-0 down after two defeats on the opening day, felt a glimmer of hope as the doubles won 2-1 by Marius Copil and Horia Tecau.

However, Copil, ranked at No. 261 in the world, failed to repeat his double in his singles match against Bautista Agut, losing 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 28 minutes to give up the tie.

“I think it was a great day. Marius played some really good points, he shook up the game, he played aggressively, he served well,” said Bautista Agut.

World No. 3 Alexander Zverev edged out Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 6-1, 7-5 to secure qualification for Germany, while 163rd-ranked Zizou Bergs defeated Finland’s Otto Virtanen in straight sets to give Belgium a hard-fought 3rd place : 2 win bestowed.

The Netherlands and Argentina also secured their places in the finals with comfortable 4-0 wins against Canada and the Czech Republic respectively in their home games.

Elsewhere, Italy defeated Slovakia 3-2, Sweden beat Japan and Kazakhstan prevailed over Norway as Alexander Bublik defeated world No. 8 Casper Ruud 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Earlier on Saturday, Thanasi Kokkinakis won a crucial singles rubber as Australia edged past Hungary while South Korea beat Austria with some impressive performances from Kwon Soon-woo.

The 12 winning teams are joined by Croatia, who qualified automatically for the 2022 finals as last year’s finalists, as well as Serbia and Great Britain with wildcards.

Russia’s title defense is uncertain after the governing body, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), suspended Russia and Belarus’ memberships and withdrew their entries from team competitions following the invasion of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and Christopher Cushing)

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Ashley

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