Roger Federer has won just about everything during his distinguished career, with a record 17 Grand Slam titles, but one competition that eluded the star so far is the Davis Cup. This year, however, the 33-year-old has the opportunity to add the World Cup of Tennis to his vast trophy cabinet after Switzerland secured a spot in the final against France.
The former World number one put his disappointing US Open semi-final exit behind him by helping his side reach their first final since 1992 with a 3-2 victory over Italy. The French, meanwhile, were comprehensive 4-1 winners against reigning champion Czech Republic.
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Federer was knocked out of the US Open by Croatian Marin Cilic in September as he chased a record breaking 18th Grand Slam title but returned to form in the Davis Cup, defeating Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in straight sets. Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka also enjoyed a comfortable 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Fognini.
Czech Republic headed into the semi-finals unbeaten in the competition since 2011 and in search of a third consecutive title. France were too strong, however, with Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils defeating Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol while Gasquet and Tsonga defeated Berdych and Radek Stepanek 3-1 in the doubles match.
Federer has a good record against France’s three stars, holding a 12-2 record over Gasquet, 8-2 record against Monfils and 11-5 record in his favour against Tsonga. After years of putting his own career first and neglecting his Davis Cup duty the 33-year-old made himself available for selection against Serbia in the first round clash this year. The Serbians were missing the exhausted Novak Djokovic and Federer played his part, defeating Ilija Bozoljac in straight sets while Wawrinka battled past Dusan Lajovic.
A 3-2 win over Kazakhstan followed in the quarter-finals while the French recovered from two games down against Germany to reach the semi-finals with a 3-2 win. The European’s were also emphatic 5-0 winners against Australia in the 1st round. It it France’s first final appearance since 2010, with Monfils part of the side who lost to Serbia while Tsonga appeared in the earlier rounds.
If you are looking for an omen, meanwhile, Switzerland defeated the French during their impressive performances in 1992 and 2003.
Hopes are high that Switzerland can claim the title for the first time. At 33, the clock is ticking on Federer’s career and the stars singles career slowly in decline. His last Grand Slam title came back in 2012 and may go some way to explaining his increased interest in the competition this year. France were impressive winners over the Czech Republic, however, and the final will be played in Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy in front a potential crowd of 30,000. The Czech’s were blown away at Roland Garros in front of a partisan French crowd. The French have a great strength in depth, meanwhile, with their four semi-final competitors all part of the top-30 of the World Rankings. In contrast, Switzerland’s Michael Lammer and Marco Chiudinelli sitting 163rd and 495th in the world respectively.
The performances of Wawrinka and Federer will be crucial, with the pair needing to be at their best against the likes Tsonga, Gasquet and Monfils. It would be great to see Federer finally land the title but France’s impressive performances so far, along with their added depth should be enough to see them through.