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TENNIS > US to play Spain in Davis Cup semifinals

PARIS - Agence France-Presse

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Spain’s David Ferrer plays a shot to Austria’s Jurgen Melzer during the fourth match of the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal round in Oropesa, Spain. AP photo

Spain’s David Ferrer plays a shot to Austria’s Jurgen Melzer during the fourth match of the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal round in Oropesa, Spain. AP photo

The United States will face holder Spain in the last four of the Davis Cup later this year, after they both took unassailable 3-1 leads over France and Austria in their quarterfinal matches yesterday.

In Monte Carlo, John Isner beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-3 while in Oropesa del Mar, David Ferrer won in straight sets against Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.

The semifinal tie will take place in Spain in September.

France’s defeat robbed Guy Forget of taking his team to the finals for the fifth and final time since he was appointed in 1999. He now steps down after contesting 14 Davis Cups.

Speaking to the crowd at the Monte Carlo Country Club afterwards, an emotional Forget said of his time in the job: “It’s been long but it’s been fantastic. Thanks to you and because of my friends, it’s been the best time of my life.

“Thanks to you I’ve dreamed and I’m still dreaming,” Forget said, with tears in his eyes, vowing to keep backing the team in the future.

Under his watch, France has made it to four Davis Cup finals and won once, in 2001.

In Spain, Ferrer, ranked five in the world, upped the ante after a fiercely contested first set and broke Melzer in his first service game of the second set as he produced several sizzling returns of serve.

However, Melzer showed his mettle in breaking back to trail 4-3 but Ferrer replied brilliantly to break the Austrian’s serve immediately and then serve out for the set.

The duo shared the first six games of the third set before Ferrer wore down his opponent to break him and then held serve before sealing the match on the Austrian’s serve, after Melzer had saved two match points.

April/09/2012

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