Britain faces Argentina in Davis Cup semis; France advances

Serbia's Dusan Lajovic returns a ball to Britain's Kyle Edmund during their Davis Cup quarterfinal tennis match in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, July 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Marko Drobnjakovic/AP

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray joined in the celebrations – if not the matches – as defending Davis Cup champion Britain beat Serbia 3-2 Sunday to set up a semifinal against Argentina, which handed Italy its first home loss in the tournament in seven years.

Kyle Edmund's 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5) win against Dusan Lajovic in the reverse singles on a wet and windy day at the outdoor Tasmajdan clay-court stadium gave Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five World Group quarterfinals.

The 21-year-old Edmund also won his opening singles on Friday against Janko Tipsarevic as he assumed the role of leader of the team because Murray was on the sidelines.

Murray decided not to play in the quarterfinals a few days after his second Wimbledon title but traveled to Belgrade to support the team.

In the last and meaningless match, Tipsarevic beat James Ward 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

Edmund was the highest-ranked player in the two teams at No. 67. Serbia played without top-ranked Novak Djokovic and the country's No. 2 Viktor Troicki.

Federico Delbonis avenged his first-round defeat at Wimbledon when he beat Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in an entertaining 3 1/2 hours, helping Argentina to win its quarterfinal 3-1 and advance to its 11th semifinal in 14 years. The last reverse singles match was scrapped.

The first two sets took a similar pattern: Delbonis broke early, Fognini rallied to level and Delbonis broke back to clinch each set at Circolo Tennis Baratof in Pesaro, Italy.

They swapped places in the third set. Fognini went up early, Delbonis came back to even terms, and Fognini, despite some racket throwing, broke back and held on.

In a dramatic fourth, Delbonis' errors had him down 5-3 before breaking serve at love for 5-4. Fognini had four set points on Delbonis' serve in the next game, but the Argentine saved them all and made it 5-5. Fognini conceded a third straight game, and gave Delbonis a chance to serve it out, which he took on his third match point.

The Argentines celebrated on the outdoor clay court, and will take a 3-1 record against Britain into their Sept. 16-18 semifinal.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame an early scare to win the opening reverse singles to give France a 3-1 victory over host Czech Republic at Werk Arena in Trinec.

Amid increased security following the deadly attack in the French city of Nice, Tsonga rallied to beat Jiri Vesely 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-5 and earn a spot in the Davis Cup semifinals for France for the second time in three years. The last reverse singles did not take place.

The 10th-ranked Tonga hit a big passing forehand to gain two break points in the 11th game of the fourth set and closed out the best-of-five series on his first match point.

Wimbledon doubles champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert had beaten Lukas Rosol and Radek Stepanek 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Saturday to give France a 2-1 lead. On Friday, Rosol beat Tsonga in a five-setter, and Lucas Pouille made a victorious Davis Cup debut by beating Vesely in straight sets.

France has nine Davis Cup titles, but it last won in 2001. It faces the United States or Croatia in the semifinals.

Marin Cilic set up a deciding fifth match in Croatia's Davis Cup quarterfinal against the U.S., beating John Isner 7-6 (11-9), 6-3, 6-4 in the first reverse singles match Sunday to level the tie at 2-2.

Jack Sock faced Croatia's Borna Coric in the final match on the Tualatin Hills hard courts in Portland, Oregon.

The U.S.-Croatia winner will host the semifinal against France.