Ferrer fires Spain into semi-finals
Originally published on 08/04/18 00:00
The 36-year-old, in the city he calls home, edged an engrossing decider with Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(1) 3-6 7-6(4) 4-6 7-5 to fire the hosts into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.
It was a fitting climax to an intoxicating tie, and the full three days of unscripted drama encapsulated everything that’s good about the much-maligned knockout competition.
If the radical proposals mooted for the Davis Cup are implemented, home and away contests will soon become a distant memory. If the excitement of this weekend had occurred on a more frequent basis though, big changes would not be afoot.
Ferrer’s victory followed Rafael Nadal’s 6-1 6-4 6-4 demolition of Alexander Zverev. It was an ominous display from the world No.1, and if he can replicate that type of performance throughout the clay-court season, then it promises to be another trophy-laden spring for the 31-year-old.
“It was never going to be easy so I’m very happy to get an important victory for me and the team,” Nadal told DavisCup.com. “I’m very happy with my level, the first set was fantastic in such an important match.
“It’s a great feeling and very unique to play here in front of my people. It was a great match for me in an unbelievable atmosphere.”
Lucas Pouille was the star performer as he propelled France into the last four by defeating Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-1 7-6(3) 6-3 to secure an unassailable 3-1 advantage for the defending champions in Genoa.
“We knew that before coming here it would be a tough tie but we gave our best and now we are going to try and defend our title,” said Pouille.
“The fans were incredible. They were fair and they were just noisy for us and it was a great feeling.”
Marin Cilic ensured Croatia would also be in the semi-finals. The former US Open champion thrashed Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1 6-1 6-1 to end the title hopes of Kazakhstan.
Croatia will take on the United States for a spot in the final. The hosts ensured qualification to the last four with a day to spare after winning all three rubbers played against Belgium.