Friday morning marked the start of the Davis Cup semi-finals as well as eight World Group play-off ties to determine the tournament’s landscape over the coming months. While many expected close, competitive ties all-round, the semi-finals produced surprisingly definitive results for the home teams.
Up first at Roland Garros, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga helped put their team in a dominant lead over defending champion Czech Republic. Both players scored straight sets victories, Gasquet over Tomas Berdych and Tsonga over Lukas Rosol.
“It was an incredible match for me and I’m very happy to win this match,” he said. “It was important to start well. I have a lot of pressure to play on that court. The crowd was unbelievable and I’m very happy.”
Gaquet closed out his match 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 with relative ease, while Tsonga won a similar 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
“It was my worst Davis Cup match but also Richard played well,” said Berdych. “The truth is I was not a competitive enough opponent for him, that’s why the score looks like how it is. This is the toughest conditions for me, coming from fast hard courts to the clay. I definitely need more time but it was a good choice for France. I need to move on and get over it.”
The Swiss combination of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrina proved too much for Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli, who both lost in straight sets to their higher ranked opponents.
Federer had the tougher of the two contests (surprisingly) as he took on Bolelli in what proved to be a competitive and razor-thin 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4 victory for the Swiss. Wawrinka, however, needed just 90 minutes to defeat Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Day 2 action will feature the doubles rubbers for both ties.