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Federer fires Switzerland into Davis Cup final

Roger Federer secured Switzerland's place in the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1992 by comfortably beating Italy's Fabio Fognini in Geneva.

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Federer: "I hope to get another chance to lift a Grand Slam"

Federer says that falling just short of claiming an elusive 18th Grand Slam title for the second major in a row won't haunt him, but he would be more than happy to add to his record haul in 2015.

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Federer returns to ATP World Tour Finals for record 13th straight year

Roger Federer has punched his ticket to the ATP World Tour Finals for a record 13th year in a row after clinching a 6th title at the Western and Southern Open.

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Federer holds off Ferrer for 80th title, sixth in Cincinnati

Roger Federer defeated David Ferrer 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 for his sixth Western and Southern Open title and 80th singles title of his career.

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Upbeat Federer believes he has more to offer

“I'm very happy to see that with feeling normal I can produce a performance like I did at Wimbledon. That clearly makes me believe that this was just a stepping stone to many more great things in the future.”

France to host Switzerland on clay in Davis Cup final

France will play the Davis Cup final against Switzerland on indoor clay in a bid to thwart Roger Federer's quest for a first win in the team competition.

The final will be held at the 27,000-capacity Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille from November 21-23, under a retractable roof.

France is third on the list of all-time winners and bidding for a 10th Davis Cup title. Switzerland is looking for its first.

With the best-of-five series scheduled five days after the ATP finals, France's decision Monday looks like a strategic move because Stan Wawrinka and Federer, who are expected to play at the hardcourt tournaments till the year-end, could struggle to adapt to clay.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion and Wawrinka, who won Olympic gold together in doubles, are favorites to win the trophy. But they will face a strong France team including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet.

''It won't have a big impact on the result,'' the 12th-ranked Tsonga said of the surface. ''All the players that will be involved are capable of playing well on all surfaces.''

Switzerland reached the final only once before, losing in 1992 against a United States team of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.

Date: 22nd September 2014, Source: AP

Federer replaces injured Nadal in IPTL

Rafa Nadal has withdrawn from the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) but the organizers pulled off a coup on Monday by naming Swiss maestro Roger Federer as replacement for the injured Spaniard.

Fourteen times grand slam winner Nadal dealt a big blow to the fledgling tournament by pulling out of the Indian franchise citing 'health problems'.

"When you are talking of profile as high as Rafa Nadal, there was probably only one name that could have helped ease the pain and for us fortunately Roger was available and we made it happen," IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi told reporters.

"Rafa has been hurt since Wimbledon, he has not played any tennis. So obviously there was a risk there, in the format we have neither party wanted to take a chance.

Nadal, who has a 23-10 head-to-head lead against Federer, missed the U.S. Open last month after failing to recover from a right wrist injury he sustained in practice.

"I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be part of the first edition of the IPTL," Nadal, 28, said in a statement from the organizers.

"I was looking forward to representing Indian Aces and playing in front of fans in New Delhi in the exciting new League.

"I wish the team the very best and hope to be back next year."

Getting Federer on board was all the more satisfying for the organizers as the Swiss great, the winner of a record 17 grand slam titles, had initially appeared apprehensive of the league.

"Earlier on, when I was talking to the players a year and half ago, Roger was expecting his set of twins. I don't think he could be making too many commitments at that point," Bhupathi, the Indian doubles specialist, added.

"Obviously now he is very sure about his schedule and we are very happy to have him play for India."

Federer joins retired American Pete Sampras, winner of 14 grand slam titles, in the Indian franchise of the four-team event, scheduled to be played from Nov. 28 to Dec. 13.

"I'm really looking forward to making my first trip to New Delhi and playing for the Micromax Indian aces," Federer said in a recorded message.

Philippines, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates are home to the other teams and will each host a leg of the competition, styled on cricket's Indian Premier League and offering $1 million prize money.

Men's world number one Novak Djokovic, his women's counterpart Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and former women's top-ranked players Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki have also confirmed their participation.

The teams will compete in men's and women's singles, men's and mixed doubles and a men's legends singles with one set per match, and no advantage scoring.

Speaking on the tournament's viability, Bhupathi said he expected the franchisees in India and Philippines to break even earlier, maybe in the next two or three years.

"Each team is going to be different. I think India and Manila will probably break even before Dubai and Singapore because these are the markets where these kind of stars have not been seen before.

"Singapore and Dubai are mature markets. Singapore has WTA Championship there and Dubai has Dubai Open."

IPTL chief operating officer Eric Gottschalk said the league might feature a fifth Asian franchise next year.

"We are trying to add one more team next year and possibly the maximum we can have is eight teams by maybe 2017-18," he added.

The Delhi leg of the IPTL is scheduled from Dec 6-8.

Date: 22nd September 2014, Source: Reuters

Lille to host France vs Switzerland Davis Cup final

The Davis Cup final between France and Roger Federer's Switzerland will be held at the 27,000-capacity Pierre Mauroy stadium in the northern French city of Lille.

Inaugurated in 2012, the stadium has a retractable roof which will be closed throughout the Nov. 21-23 final.

The surface for the final will be announced by Monday, the FFT said in a statement Friday.

The Stade Pierre-Mauroy is a multi-use stadium that is currently the home of French Ligue 1 football club Lille. The stadium has a capacity of over 50,000, but for the final a court will be set up at one end to make use of the permanent seating in conjunction with temporary stands. The expected capacity will be a minimum of 27,000 spectators.

The highest capacity for a Davis Cup final was in 2004, when 27,200 spectators watched Spain defeat USA at the Olympic Stadium in Seville. This remains the largest ever crowd at an officially sanctioned tennis match.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "Lille will be a spectacular setting for one of the most eagerly anticipated Davis Cup Finals in years. It will be a fitting climax to a successful year for the competition that has seen strong player participation, sell-out crowds and excellent TV and media coverage."

France is third on the list of all-time winners behind Australia and the United States, and bidding for a 10th Davis Cup title. Switzerland is looking for its first.

''All of France waits with impatience for this final,'' FFT president FFT President Jean Gachassin said. ''I am particularly happy that it will be played before a record attendance in the beautiful city of Lille.''

France lost the 2010 final 3-2 against Novak Djokovic's Serbia and the 2002 final at home to Marat Safin's Russia by the same score.

The Swiss lost 3-1 in the 1992 final against the U.S.

Led by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, France beat two-time defending champion the Czech Republic 4-1 in the semifinals, while Federer and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka helped Switzerland beat Italy 3-2.

Date: 19th September 2014, Source: AP and Davis Cup

Roger Federer Foundation: The Match for Africa 2

The tennis highlight to finish the season: Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka will play on December 21, 2014 at Zurich's Hallenstadion to benefit the Roger Federer Foundation.

Zurich, September 18, 2014 - Shortly before Christmas 2010, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal put on an exciting show for their fans in Zurich's fully-booked Hallenstadion with the first Match for Africa. The new edition of the popular Exhibition Night will feature Switzerland's two best tennis players of all time meeting for the ultimate showdown - all in aid of the Roger Federer Foundation. 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer will face the 2014 Australian Open Champion and current world number 4 Stan Wawrinka in Zurich on the evening of Sunday, December 21, 2014. Tickets for the Exhibition Night, along with its attractive entertainment program, will be available from Ticketcorner as of October 1, 2014.

The Roger Federer Foundation supports children living in poverty and helps them to realize their potential. The foundation supports education projects in six countries in southern Africa and in Switzerland. This year it is already reaching out to 146,000 children.

For further information, please visit:



Media office for Match for Africa 2:
Cornelia Schmid, c/o Lemongrass Communications, mobile +41 79 693 06 23,

Information regarding the event:
Adrian Sonderegger, Big Plus Sports and Entertainment AG, mobile: +41 76 420 15 05,
Mike Hoffmann, Big Plus Sports and Entertainment AG, mobile: +41 79 820 13 55,

"The Match for Africa 2" is presented by Rolex and supported by other partners.
Net proceeds from the Exhibition Night will be donated to the Roger Federer Foundation.

Date: 18th September 2014, Source: RF Official

Federer fires Switzerland into Davis Cup final

Roger Federer secured Switzerland's place in the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1992 by comfortably beating Italy's Fabio Fognini in Geneva on Sunday.

Roared on by a capacity crowd in the Palexpo Arena, Federer dismantled world number 17 Fognini 6-2 6-3 7-6 (4) in just under two hours to give the Swiss an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Italy's Andreas Seppi beat Michael Lammer 6-4 1-6 6-4 in the fifth rubber but Switzerland, who lost to the United States in their only other Davis Cup final appearance, progressed 3-2 and will play France in the final.

The French beat holders Czech Republic at Roland Garros.

"It's really nice to share it with my team members," Federer said in an on-court interview after being hoisted on the shoulders of Wawrinka and captain Severin Luethi for a lap of honor round the court.

"I think I really struggled today. I think Fabio struggled all weekend. It's tough conditions, pretty quick court, so it's always going to happen especially if you are not serving so well. I thought today wasn't the best performance from both of us, but then again you've got to fight with what you've got and in the end I'm happy to make the difference."

Federer gave the Swiss the first point on Friday by easing past Simone Bolelli before Stanislas Wawrinka doubled their advantage with a straight-sets victory over Fognini.

But Fognini and Bolelli combined brilliantly in Saturday's doubles match to beat Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli in five sets and put the pressure back on the Swiss. Having been rested for the doubles match, a refreshed Federer broke Fognini in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead before snatching another break to claim the first set.

Federer, who has now won all five of his Davis Cup singles rubbers this year, continued to trouble the Italian with his precision hitting and broke Fognini in the eighth game of the second set to take control of the match.

Fognini rallied in the third set and took Federer to a tie break but the 17-times grand slam champion held his nerve, claiming it 7-4 to reach the first Davis Cup final of his illustrious career.

''It's nice that we are going to have the opportunity to do something very special at the end of the year,'' Federer said at the winning team's news conference.

In Federer's only previous Davis Cup semifinal 11 years ago, he lost a decisive reverse singles match against Lleyton Hewitt in Australia.

At age 33, Federer now has his best chance to add one of the few titles to elude him.

World No. 3 Federer and No. 4 Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, should face a strong France team. France's 4-1 victory over two-time defending champion Czech Republic this weekend featured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ranked No. 12, Gael Monfils the No. 18, and No. 21 Richard Gasquet. All three officially live in Switzerland.

''For sure it can be amazing if we get that trophy, but it will be tough,'' said Wawrinka, who has had a career year at age 29.

Federer is intrigued if the French will use its home-team advantage to opt for clay or hard courts, potentially in Lille.

''The most classical matchups I’ve had in my career came against France. We are eager to find out what surface they are going to choose,'' Federer said. ''I think it's difficult for them as it is.''

"For the whole of Switzerland it's great we're in the finals now," Switzerland captain Severin Luthi said. "We couldn't be happier.

"Roger didn't have that much time to get used to the court and conditions and there is a lot of pressure involved. For me he played fantastic tennis."

The final will be played in France from November 21-23.

Date: 14th September 2014, Source: Reuters and AP

Swiss hopes in Roger Federer's hands

There isn’t much Roger Federer hasn’t achieved after more than 16 years on tour, but there remains an important item of business on the Swiss maestro’s radar as the 2014 season nears its conclusion.

Federer is seeking to send Switzerland into its first Davis Cup final since 1992 and bring the nation one step closer to its maiden title. The 33 year old will have destiny in his hands on Sunday, with the opportunity to seal Swiss hopes with victory over World No. 17 Fabio Fognini and Italy. The Italians were spared elimination after the five-set heroics of Fognini and Simone Bolelli in Saturday’s doubles rubber.

"With the season that Stan and me and everybody has had, we're ready for the big occasion and we're not going to shy away from it,” said Federer. “We're going to embrace it.”

Federer could potentially find himself with a jam-packed conclusion to his 2014 campaign, having clinched a berth in a record 13th straight Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, followed by the Davis Cup Final a week later. The Basel native has amassed a 35-7 singles record in Davis Cup play and is riding a five-match win streak, since falling to John Isner in a first round defeat to the United States in 2012.

Contesting his 25th tie, Federer is looking to equal the Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset-led 1992 squad that reached Switzerland’s lone final. The Swiss fell 3-1 to the U.S., despite a five-set win by Rosset over Courier in the second rubber. John McEnroe and Pete Sampras came back from two-sets down to clinch the subsequent doubles rubber, before Courier topped Hlasek in four sets for the title.

"We haven't had that much success as a team over the last 50 years, so we still talk about 20 years ago when they made the final in 1992 against Sampras, Agassi, Courier and McEnroe in Ft. Worth, Texas. We also have that opportunity to write history this time around. I hope they will talk about this team 20 years from now. It would be a dream for us, the players."

Date: 14th September 2014, Source: ATP

Bolelli/Fognini keep Italian hopes alive

Maybe the gods are just setting Roger Federer up for a massively emotional moment on Sunday, but Switzerland’s passage into the 2014 Davis Cup final is not yet assured. Italy threw itself a lifeline by winning a four-hour doubles to take this fascinating semifinal into a third day, and keep the Swiss biting their nails.

The bare facts will record that Italy’s Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini beat the home pair of Marco Chiudinelli and Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, but perhaps the most important statistic is the time. The match ended three minutes short of the four-hour mark, and while Italy has the momentum going into the final day, a fresh Roger Federer is likely to face a slightly jaded Fognini in the first reverse singles.

“I’m a bit tired,” admitted Fognini after his efforts. His captain Corrado Barrazzutti chose to see the uplifting effect of Fognini’s doubles win, but there’s no doubt Federer will start as a strong favourite to beat whoever the Italians place before him - and see him and his team-mates into their first-ever Davis Cup final.

Federer was rested for the doubles, in a low-risk move by the Swiss to try and seal victory in two days but not at all costs. Chiudinelli and Wawrinka had played three times before, and while they had never won a match, they had combined effectively, and lost the longest match in Davis Cup history when Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol beat them in just over seven hours.

Switzerland's captain had no regrets about his decision to leave Federer out of the doubles. "We talked yesterday after both matches," he said, "and Roger told me he'd rather not play the doubles - he's had a lot of matches this year - so we took the decision prety quickly and I didn't try to persuade him to change his mind. We wanted to keep Roger fresh in case we didn't win the doubles.

Both pairs traded breaks early in the first set, but it was the break of Chiudinelli’s serve in the 11th game that enabled the Italians - in their matching backwards-facing caps - to take the first set. Chiudinelli struggled on serve late in the second set too, but came through two tight games to level the match after the Swiss had broken early.

The third set was decided in a couple of significant minutes. Chiudinelli was still struggling to be the equal of the other three players - he was missing a lot of first serves, he was late on some volleys, and he was having difficulty directing his returns. It made the Swiss look vulnerable.

But then at 4-5, Wawrinka let his partner take two smashes that Wawrinka could have taken, Chiudinelli put them away, and his confidence rose. When he then hit a backhand winner down Fognini’s line on the first point of the 5-5 game, the stadium sensed the Swiss were on to something. They broke to 15, and Chiudinelli then served out the set to 15 without Wawrinka having to play a single stroke. On such tiny boosts of confidence can entire matches turn.

Only the match turned back Italy's way. The Swiss looked the stronger pair early in the fourth, but Wawrinka was broken in the sixth game. Suddenly the momentum was back with the Italians, and the set was over in a mere 36 minutes.

A long third game ended with Chiudinelli hitting a forehand long to concede his serve, and as Wawrinka’s volleys started to unravel, the Italians broke a second time, and served out victory in the easiest of the five sets, Bolelli putting away a smash on match point. After an opening day with not a single set won, the Italians had three sets in one match and had kept their hopes of a first final since 1998 alive.

“This point was very important for us, even if Roger wasn’t playing,” said Fognini. “I am much happier with my performance today, I served much better than yesterday, I returned much better. It’s still going to be very difficult for us but it’s a little less difficult than before. It depends if I play tomorrow, we have to decide. I’m a bit tired, but Simone and I always played long matches, we played four hours in Argentina, we played a long match in Naples, so we’re going to try until the end.”

Whether we play with Roger and Stan or Marco and Stan, the chances of winning the doubles are not much higher, so I think it was a good decision to take."

The nominated players for Sunday are Federer against Fognini in the first reverse singles, followed by Wawrinka facing Bolelli, but both captains can field any player as long as he didn’t face the same opponent on Friday.

Date: 13th September 2014, Source: Davis Cup

Switzerland leads Italy 2-0 in Davis Cup semifinals

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka took Switzerland close to its first Davis Cup final in 22 years after cruising to straight-sets wins in the opening singles against Italy on Friday.

First, Federer beat Simone Bolelli 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 without dropping serve to delight a crowd of more than 18,000 at Palexpo indoor arena.

Victory marked Federer’s 36th Davis Cup singles win; his last defeat came in the 2012 first round against the United States’ John Isner. It was also his 600th hard-court win and an ATP World Tour-best 55th tour-level win of the season.

Wawrinka, the Australia Open champion, followed up by beating Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in just 90 minutes. Wawrinka improved to a 4-1 lead in his ATP Head to Head series with Fognini.

''A very good match - for once,'' Wawrinka joked in an on-court interview after a rare easy win for him in Davis Cup. ''It's the ideal start but there remains a match to win.''

Federer and Wawrinka have a chance Saturday to give the hosts an unassailable 3-0 series lead and send Switzerland to its first final since losing to a superstar United States lineup in 1992. The Swiss have never won the title.

The 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists are scheduled to face Italian pair Andreas Seppi and Paolo Lorenzi, though both teams suggested plans could change. Pairings must be confirmed by 1000 GMT Saturday.

Wawrinka said he and Federer - who played at the US Open last week into the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively - would discuss options with team captain Severin Luethi.

If needed, Federer would play Fognini in the first reverse singles match Sunday.

In the other semifinal series, France leads the two-time defending champion Czech Republic 2-0.

Federer talked this week of his anticipation to play in front of so many home fans - the second biggest attendance in world tennis, he said. The Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows holds more than 23,000.

He was rarely under pressure and took the only break-point chances he needed midway through the second set and early in the third.

''I had to wait for a while to get my first break,'' Federer said. ''After that it was easy to play with the lead but it was a tough match, as the score suggests.''

Bolelli hit more winners than Federer - 33 to 30 - but failed to convert any of his three break chances.

''Not being broken on serve is always a great thing. That's what most pleased me,'' said Federer, who improved to 36-7 in Davis Cup singles, including 15-1 on hard courts.

The first set went with serve to the tiebreaker, and Federer took his third set point with a flat backhand across the court which Bolelli could not handle.

The Swiss No. 1 took his first chance to break for a 4-3 lead in the second. He raced in behind a strong return and pressured Bolelli into netting a forehand.

Serving for the set, Federer saved two break chances before taking his fifth chance to clinch with a high volley winner.

A fortunate net cord for Federer, barely creeping on to the Italian's side of the court, clinched an early and decisive break in the third.

Federer double-faulted on his first match point, then clinched with a forehand winner at the net.

Fourth-ranked Wawrinka simply out-hit Fognini, winning the aces count 16-0 and 37-14 in total winners.

The 17th-ranked Italian also had eight double faults, including on Wawrinka's first set point in the opener.

''I've played good matches in Davis Cup this year,'' said Fognini, who beat Britain's Andy Murray in straight sets in the previous round, ''but today, no.''

Wawrinka raced through the final game, clinching on a service winner.

Date: 12th September 2014, Source: AP and ATP

Federer, Wawrinka lead Swiss bid for Davis Cup final

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka unite in Geneva this weekend as Switzerland bids for its first appearance in a Davis Cup final in 22 years.

Federer and Wawrinka, who are slated to play the singles and doubles rubbers for their country, are joined by Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer as they face Italians Fabio Fognini, Andreas Seppi, Paolo Lorenzi and Simone Bolelli in the tie hosted on a hard court constructed in Geneva’s Palexpo.

In the opening rubber, Roger Federer faces No. 3 Italian Simone Bolleli for the first time since meeting in a Davis Cup World Group play-off in 2009. Federer claimed that and one other encounter - contested the year prior, in Basel - for a perfect ATP Head to Head record against Bolelli.

Wawrinka battles top Italian Fabio Fognini, the World No. 17, in the second singles rubber. Wawrinka is 2-1 in Davis Cup singles ties this year - all contested on hard courts - while Fognini is 4-0, all on clay. Wawrinka has won three of his four matches against Fognini.

In doubles, Federer/Wawrinka will face Lorenzi/Seppi on Saturday, and reverse singles are scheduled for Sunday.

"The season that Stan and me have had, I think we are ready for the big occasion," said Federer, after Thursday's draw.

''This tie obviously is the focus right now. But after that I still have some big tournaments coming up.''

Federer did acknowledge his anticipation at playing in front of daily, 18,500 sold-out crowds of typically noisy home fans.

''It's a record crowd for Switzerland I can't wait for that to happen,'' said Federer, who helped the Swiss beat Kazakhstan 3-2 in the previous round in April, when the same venue held 16,000.

Victory would put the Swiss into a November 21-23 final against either France or two-time defending champions the Czech Republic who will contest the other semi-final at Roland Garros in Paris.

Date: 11th September 2014, Source: ATP, AP and Reuters

Moment of destiny awaits the history boys

“We have the opportunity to write history,” said Roger Federer on the eve of Switzerland’s first Davis Cup semifinal in 11 years. And indeed the weight of history seems to hang heavily over Geneva’s Palexpo exhibition centre as it gears up for welcoming 18,500 spectators for one of the greatest weekends in Swiss tennis history.

The opportunity is massive for Switzerland - this is the country’s third semifinal in 86 years of competing in the world cup of tennis - but it’s also massive for Federer. Many speak of him as the greatest player in the history of tennis, but a Davis Cup winner’s medal is the one meaningful and historical title missing from his overflowing trophy cabinet. The closest he came was 11 years ago, when he was beaten from two-sets and 5-3 up by an inspired Lleyton Hewitt, the Swiss leaving the Rod Laver Arena in tears as his country’s Davis Cup dreams drifted into the Southern Ocean.

Since then Federer has felt the expectation of being his country’s only world-class player, and has tended to play Davis Cup only after the Grand Slam season has finished. Yet this year he has committed to the competition from the start, and at 33 has the chance to fill the last gap in his list of achievements. And ironically this weekend’s opportunity has its roots in that disappointment at Melbourne Park 11 years ago.

“We travelled to Melbourne with eight or nine players,” Federer recalled, “and Stan was one of them. He was very young at the time, so I’m very happy he got the experience back then, and has seen it all unfold, the good times and the bad. As a team, we haven’t had much success over the past 50 years, so people in Switzerland still talk about 20 years ago when we made the finals. Hopefully they’ll talk about this tie in 20 years, that would be wonderful - this is the dream for us, the players.”

Switzerland’s passage to the 1992 final happened in this exact same stadium, when the two-man team of Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset beat Jaime Oncins, Luis Mattar and Casio Motta of Brazil in two days. This time the Swiss are again reliant on two players, although its captain Severin Luthi isn’t ruling out using Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer in the doubles, as he did in February when Switzerland beat Serbia with all four players playing live rubbers.

By contrast, the visitors have a greater strength in depth and have used that strength to make a mildly surprising selection. Italy’s captain Corrado Barrazzutti has opted for his third-ranked singles player Simone Bolelli over Andreas Seppi, the hero of Italy’s fifth-rubber win over Great Britain in April’s quarterfinals. That’s probably, because in 10 previous matches, Seppi has won just one set against Federer. Bolelli hasn’t won any but as he has lost just twice to the Swiss, he may be less scarred than Seppi. Bolelli’s last match was a five-set thriller against Tommy Robredo at the US Open when he played some outstanding tennis early in the match, and he is generally playing well on hard courts.

The draw, made by Switzerland’s 1992 hero Marc Rosset, leaves the line-up for the weekend looking like this:

Roger Federer (SUI) v Simone Bolelli (ITA)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Paolo Lorenzi/Andreas Seppi (ITA)
Roger Federer (SUI) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Simone Bolelli (ITA)

Not only is the focus all on Federer, but the Swiss are strong favourites with Federer ranked world No. 3 and Wawrinka at world No. 4. Yet Italy will prove a tough nut to crack. Fognini, ranked world No. 17, is very capable of beating Wawrinka, and Federer and Wawrinka don’t have a great record in doubles in recent years.

And while the Italians were in the final more recently than the Swiss - 1998 to 1992 - the desire burns brightly among Italy’s men to emulate the success of their female contemporaries who have won the Fed Cup four times in the last eight years.

“If we get to the final it’ll be worth more than winning one Fed Cup,” says Fognini with a twinkle in his eye, before quickly admitting he’s joking. It may be a joke - he would have Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta to answer to if it wasn’t! - but it testifies to how the Italians have the ability and the desire to spoil the Swiss’ moment of history in Geneva this weekend.

Date: 11th September 2014, Source: Davis Cup