February 3, 2013 / 4:30 AM / 7 years ago

Ironman Berdych books Czech spot in quarter-finals

LONDON (Reuters) - Holders Czech Republic moved into the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup on Sunday with Tomas Berdych outlasting Swiss opponent Stanislas Wawrinka a day after the pair emerged from a marathon doubles encounter.

Tomas Berdych (L) of the Czech Republic celebrates with his team mate Lukas Rosol after winning his Davis Cup world group round 1 tennis doubles match against Stanislas Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland at Palexpo in Geneva February 2, 2013. With a duration of seven hours and one minute, the match was the longest in Davis Cup history. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

Berdych enjoyed a comparatively easy 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 victory over Wawrinka, to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-1 lead, a day after he and Lukas Rosol edged a punishing seven-hour clash with Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli 24-22 in the final set.

The Czechs will now travel to Kazakhstan in April after the former Soviet nation wrapped up a 3-1 victory over Austria on Sunday.

Italy also booked their place in the quarter-finals after Fabio Fognini beat Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in a decisive fifth rubber.

The Czechs came into the final day with a 2-1 advantage and Berdych took three hours and 15 minutes to wrap up a four-set win over an equally weary Wawrinka, who had defeated Rosol in the singles on Friday.

“This is a team event and the people we have in the team have magic hands. They did a really great job and they told me I would be ready,” Berdych, who did not get to bed until 2am on Sunday after Saturday’s exploits, told reporters.

“I was feeling good from the first point and was quite ready for a fifth set.”

The match ended 3-2 after Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen won the dead fifth rubber 0-6 6-3 6-1 against Jiri Vesely.

Andrey Golubev gave a bloody nose to a player ranked 157 places above him with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Austria’s Juergen Melzer to give Kazakhstan a place in the quarter-finals for only their second time.

It was Melzer’s second singles defeat in three days and it proved decisive.

Fognini overcame Croatia’s Dodig 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 to ensure Italy reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 1998.

The tie had gone to a fifth rubber after Croatia’s Marin Cilic had beaten Andreas Seppi earlier in the day to level the encounter at 2-2.

France completed a 5-0 whitewash over Israel having already booked their place in the next round on Saturday along with Serbia and Argentina, who also won all five rubbers against Germany.

Five-times winners Spain are currently 2-1 down to Canada and the United States are tied 2-2 with Brazil.

Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Sonia Oxley

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