Berdych leads Czechs into quarters

Hampshire Chronicle: Tomas Berdych Tomas Berdych

Tomas Berdych ensured the Czech Republic continued their winning run in Davis Cup.

The Czechs have won the title the last two years and Berdych's 6-1 6-4 6-3 victory over Holland's Thiemo De Bakker put them into the quarter-finals once more.

Robin Haase gave the Dutch hope on day one by beating Radek Stepanek but Berdych won both his singles matches in straight sets and teamed up with Stepanek to take the doubles.

Haase had been expected to face Berdych in singles but captain Jan Siemerink made the decision to replace him with De Bakker because of the former's workload during the first two days of the tie.

It did not pay off, and Berdych said on daviscup.com: "We really wanted to win this one.

"Always the first round is the cutting edge of success - (losing) means playing off to stay in the World Group, which could be extremely difficult. But we passed that."

Next up for the Czechs is a trip to Japan, who defeated last year's semi-finalists Canada 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Canada were without leading players Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil through injury and a miserable weekend was complete when Frank Dancevic was forced to retire trailing Kei Nishikori 6-2 1-0.

And Japan should have a good chance of reaching the semi-finals if Berdych sticks to his plan only to play in home ties this year.

Fabio Fognini was Italy's hero as he defeated Carlos Berlocq 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 6-1 6-4 to secure victory over Argentina in Mar del Plata.

Fognini was involved in all three winning rubbers and condemned Argentina to a first-round defeat for the first time in 12 years.

The Italians will be at home next against Great Britain after Andy Murray beat Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (3/7) 6-1 6-3 to complete victory over the USA in San Diego.

Britain will play in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1986.

The tie between Kazakhstan and Belgium was the only one to go to a decisive fifth rubber, and it was the hosts who came out on top in Astana.

Belgium had been 2-0 down and, although David Goffin drew them level with a five-set win over Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Golubev was a straightforward 6-2 6-3 6-1 winner over Ruben Bemelmans.

The Kazakhs next play Switzerland, who clinched victory on Saturday.

That was also the case for Germany and France, who meet each other in the last eight in April.

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