With 16,000 fans teetering on the edge of their seats throughout Switzerland’s thrilling quarterfinal triumph over Kazakhstan, Roger Federer says he can’t wait to face Italy in another home encounter at the Palexpo in Geneva in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas semifinals on 12-14 September.
Two singles victories for Federer and a point for Stanislas Wawrinka saw Switzerland recover from 2-1 down to defeat the Kazakhs and reach its first semifinal since 2003 against Italy, whose comeback win over Great Britain ensured Severin Luthi’s men a second consecutive home tie.
“Clearly we’re excited that Italy won so we get a chance to play at home,” said Federer. “It’s big for the fans and the [Swiss] federation. They’ve paid a lot of money over the years for trips - like [this weekend] they’re playing Fed Cup in Brazil - so it’s good news for them.”
Federer defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in the decisive fifth rubber in April’s quarterfinal clash in Geneva to maintain Switzerland’s bid to win the Davis Cup for the first time – a campaign that has whipped up plenty of interest in Switzerland.
Not only does Luthi have two Grand Slam singles champions to call on in Federer and Australian Open champion Wawrinka, the Swiss are playing consecutive World Group ties on home soil for the first time since 2004-05.
“Having back-to-back ties in Switzerland is going to bring a bit more euphoria around the tie and around the competition,” acknowledged Federer. “We’re happy that we were able to win against Kazakhstan. It was a big relief at the end.
“Playing at home, being able to choose the place and the surface, favours us against Italy now. We’re aware that every tie has to be played and at this point I just hope we are going to be both healthy and give ourselves the best chance to win.”
September’s semifinal will see Federer take on Italy in Davis Cup for a third time – and he’ll be looking for a third straight triumph.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion defeated Davide Sanguinetti in the second rubber in Switzerland’s 3-2 victory in Neuchatel in 1999, before besting Simone Bolelli and Potito Starace as the visitors won by the same scoreline 10 years later on Italian soil in Genoa.
“It’s always an interesting tie,” Federer added. “I’ve played Italy twice before in my career and they’ve always been good ties, friendly ties. I think this one is going to be more special just because there is going to be much more on the line this time around.”