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Switzerland 2-1 down ahead of reverse singles in Davis Cup quarterfinal at home to Kazakhstan
Andrey Golubev and Kazakh debutant Aleksandr Nedovyesov win Saturday's doubles rubber
Winner of the tie in Geneva will play Great Britain or Italy in the semifinals
Defending champion Czech Republic progresses with 3-0 win in Japan
They are former Olympic doubles champions, but Switzerland’s “dream team” of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka suffered another Davis Cup disaster on Saturday.
Federer, a 17-time grand slam winner, and 2014 Australian Open champion Wawrinka crashed to a fourth successive defeat as a pairing in the international men’s tennis tournament as unfancied Kazakhstan took a 2-1 lead in the quarterfinal tie.
Andrey Golubev, who upset Wawrinka in Friday’s singles, teamed up with debutant Aleksandr Nedovyesov to triumph 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (8-6) in match lasting just under three hours in Geneva.
“It feels special. That was my first match for the Kazakhstan Davis Cup team,” said Nedovyesov, whose only previous appearance in the competition was for his native Ukraine in 2005.
The 27-year-old is ranked 76th in singles and 126th in doubles.
“They are Olympic champions but honestly it doesn’t matter who I beat, I’m just proud of my team and proud of my country,” he added.
Russia-born Golubev, who is ranked 61st, continued his unbeaten run in the competition this season.
“Against those guys you have to play an almost perfect match and I’m happy we did that today,” the 26-year-old said.
Golubev, who won both singles matches in the opening round against Belgium, will play former world No. 1 Federer in what could be the decisive rubber on Sunday.
Third-ranked Wawrinka will try to keep Switzerland’s semifinal hopes alive in the first of the reverse singles when he takes on world No. 56 Mikhail Kukushkin – also born in Russia.
Federer and Wawrinka were playing together for their country for the first time this season, but had lost their previous three matches in 2011 and 2012 following Olympic success at Beijing 2008.
“I’m not overly worried about what happened the last couple of days,” Federer said.
“We are good players and we are the favorites still for each singles reverse match but we have no more margin for error so we are aware of that and, who knows, that’s maybe going to make us play even better, so I’m really excited about tomorrow.”
The winner of this tie will next play either Italy or Great Britain, which took a 2-1 lead in Naples after Andy Murray won his rain-delayed singles match and then returned to the clay court to triumph in the doubles.
The world No. 8 completed a 6-4 7-5 6-3 win over Andreas Seppi before teaming up with Colin Fleming to beat Fabio Bognini and Simone Bolelli 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-5.
Britain has not reached the semifinals since the World Group format was introduced in 1981, while Italy’s last appearance was in 1998.
The defending champion Czech Republic team marched into the last four after sealing an unbeatable 3-0 lead against Japan in Tokyo.
Lukas Rosol and Radek Stepanek won 6-4 6-4 6-4 against Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama to set up a clash with either France or Germany.
Both teams are missing their No. 1 player, with Tomas Berdych absent for the Czechs and the injured Kei Nishikori out for Japan.
France’s hopes of a third semifinal in five years remain alive after Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra beat Tobias Kamke and Andre Begemann 6-1 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-5 in Nancy.
The visitors will seek to come from 2-0 down for the fourth time in the nation’s competition history, having last done so against Italy in 1996.
Meanwhile, Switzerland also suffered a defeat at WTA Tour tournament in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday as highly-rated teenager Belinda Bencic lost in her first top-level semifinal.
The 17-year-old upset Italian third seed Sara Errani at the Family Circle Cup on Friday, but could not repeat that form in another three-set match against Jana Cepelova.
The 21-year-old Slovakian reached her first WTA final by triumphing 6-4 5-7 7-6 (9-7) on the green clay.
Ranked 78th, she followed up shock wins over world No. 1 Serena Williams, Russian Elena Vesnina and compatriot Daniela Hantuchova.
Cepelova will next play German Andrea Petkovic, who beat young Canadian sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard 1-6 6-3 7-5 in Saturday’s opening semifinal.
Bouchard beat former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in her previous match but the 20-year-old – who reached the Australian Open semifinals in January – could not continue that form against Petkovic, a former top-10 player who is rebuilding her career after long-term injury problems.
Read: Wawrinka stunned by Golubev in Davis Cup