NOVI SAD, SERBIA: Switzerland carved out an unassailable 3-0 lead over Serbia in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie in Novi Sad after Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer beat Nenad Zimonjic and Filip Krajinovic 76(3) 36 76(2) 62 in Saturday’s doubles.
The Swiss will move on to play either Belgium or Kazakhstan in the last eight while 2010 winners and last season’s runners-up Serbia have dropped into the World Group playoffs.
The Serbs, who had hoped to get back into the tie after losing both opening singles on Friday, will rue the opportunities they missed to swing the knife-edged contest their way as they squandered several vital break points when they could have gained the upper hand.
The visitors, in contrast, took their chances with some aplomb to turn Sunday’s reverse singles into dead rubbers.
Zimonjic and Davis Cup debutant Krajinovic, who enjoyed a fine afternoon, wasted three break points in the third game of the opening set but still looked the more likely pair to nose ahead after grinding out a 3-1 lead in the tie-break.
Chiudinelli and Lammer, watched by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka from the Swiss bench, turned it on its head and silenced the home fans by winning the next six points.
Serbia finally broke Lammer’s serve in the second set and drew level after Krajinovic’s fine volleys and passing shots complemented Zimonjic’s vast all-round experience.
Games went with serve smoothly in a finely balanced third set until the hosts engineered a double break point on Lammer’s serve in the 11th game, but the 31-year old journeyman ranked 1008th in the doubles and 441st in the singles on the men’s ATP Tour once again held firm.
There was to be no comeback of any sort in the ensuing tie-break as the visitors raced into a 5-0 lead and had their vociferous fans, some of whom donned cowbells and traditional Swiss kits, in raptures sensing victory.
With their spirits clearly dented by the setback, Zimonjic and Krajinovic found themselves on the back foot throughout a one-sided fourth set, as Chiudinelli and Lammer, roared on by the colourful away fans, earned a pair of breaks to race into a 5-1 lead.
Zimonjic then held his serve but it only delayed the inevitable as Lammer replied to close out the match in 3 hours and 13 minutes after Chiudinelli steered yet another superb volley down the middle.
Switzerland thus took full advantage of Serbia having to field a second-string side missing their top three players, including world No.2 Novak Djokovic. For Federer, the victory marked yet another attempt to win the Davis Cup, a rare piece of silverware missing from his trophy cabinet.
Swiss team captain Severin Luthi was delighted with the fact that his team secured a quarterfinal berth with two rubbers to spare: “It has been the perfect weekend for us and to win 3-0 on Saturday evening is what we had hoped for. It was a great team effort and I couldn’t be happier.”
“We were confident ahead of today’s doubles because Marco and Michael have played some great Davis Cup doubles matches in the past. We will most probably let Roger Federer and Stanislaw Wawrinka rest tomorrow in the dead rubbers, while we are hoping to play against Kazakhstan at home in the next round.”
His Serbian counterpart Bogdan Obradovic congratulated the Swiss team and rued poor luck which played a part in his team’s defeat on Saturday.
“The Swiss deserved it but today the net worked in their favour and they hit the line so many times,” he said.
“It was a tough weekend for us because we missed our best players and I hope to have them back for the September playoff, because we will need our strongest team to stay in the top tier.”
Follow this tie as it happens: Live Scores or Watch Live
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) - 02/02/14
Captain Severin Luthi (SUI) - 01/02/2014
Captain - Bogdan Obradovic (SRB) - 01/02/2014
Michael Lammer (SUI) - 01/02/2014