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Federer powers Swiss to Davis Cup final

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Federer powers Swiss to Davis Cup final

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Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka each have Grand Slam singles titles, and Olympic gold together in doubles.

Now they’ve got the chance to win Switzerland’s first Davis Cup.

Federer carried Switzerland to their first final in 22 years, beating Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the opening reverse singles yesterday for a winning 3-1 lead over Italy and into a November 21-23 decider against France, which beat the defending champion Czech Republic 4-1.

“It’s fabulous to share in this moment,” said Federer, who was hoisted on the shoulders of Wawrinka and captain Severin Luethi for a lap of honour around the court to the delighted of a noisy 18 000-plus crowd at Palexpo indoor arena.

Switzerland reached the final only once before, losing in 1992 against a United States team of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.

“It’s nice that we are going to have the opportunity to do something very special at the end of the year,” Federer said.

Federer, who has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, was intrigued to see if the French will use home-team advantage to opt for clay or hard courts, potentially in Lille.

The French are setting their sights on a first Davis Cup title since 2001, and know Federer presents a big obstacle to that.

“Federer is a monument of tennis, this is a dream final,” Richard Gasquet said.

Gael Monfils wrapped up the contest a 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 defeat of Lukas Rosol yesterday after Jiri Vesely salvaged some pride for the two-time defending champion Czechs by beating Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-3 in a consolation win in the first reverse singles.

“There is no need for motivation when you are in the final, but hosting Federer adds an extra something to a sumptuous final,” Benneteau said.

France booked their place in the final on Saturday when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gasquet won the doubles to give the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Also on the weekend, the United States, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada and Croatia won playoffs to qualify for the 2015 World Group. The World Group play-off losers – Colombia, Israel, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and Uzbekistan – will be relegated to zone group competitions in 2015.

The World Group playoff between Serbia and India will be decided today after the fifth and decisive singles match was suspended because of rain on the weekend.