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Switzerland Defeat Kazakhstan in Geneva to Make Davis Cup Semi Finals

Hey all, a rather eventful weekend in the Davis Cup as Team Switzerland fought back from 1-2 down to beat Kazakhstan 3-2 and move into the Semi Finals. A comeback was always likely but there were big question marks over Wawrinka's form and ability to perform on Swiss soil but luckily Stanimal found some form when it mattered to beat Kukushkin and Roger then played a clutch match to beat Golubev in 3 sets. It was another masterful performance from the GOAT who was playing a decisive 5th rubber for the first time ever in his career after making his Davis Cup debut in 1999.

I'm not really a big Davis Cup fan as I think the format needs changing to make it more appealing globally (once every 4 years) but this weekend definitely saw some good tennis in all of the ties. France came from 0-2 down to win 3-2 with Monfils actually playing well under pressure for a change and then the Italians schooled the Brits on clay to win both singles matches on the final day. Fognini defeated Murray in straights and it was an absolute clay court masterclass before Seppi saw off James Ward in 3 sets to setup the tie with Switzerland.

As most of you will know a couple of readers (maybe even more but I don't know for certain;)) of this blog saw the tie live and have kindly put their experiences down on paper for others to enjoy. Thanks and take it away Rita and Simon.

Thoughts on the weekend from Rita

Federer beats Golubev
Chumm jetzt!

Well I'm just slowly descending from Cloud 9 now after being at Palexpo to enjoy this extraordinary weekend. What an atmosphere there was! The Swiss supporters were fantastic. I think on Sunday the reception and the cheering and thunderous foot-stamping for Stan were even more than for Roger – probably because they knew Stan needed the encouragement that little bit more. And he certainly got it. The only two (small) downers for me were that I wish supporters would not clap and cheer when the opponents make an error like double-faulting. I find that unkind and thoughtless. And I was unfortunate enough to have as my neighbours two men (a couple I think) who kept climbing over seats to change their places to better advantage whenever someone left the hall for a while, and also kept standing up and cheering, usually during an important point, and taking photos (of each other). The type of people who are unaware that there is anyone else in the world to consider. I'm sure we've all met them in our lives. I did try to take a few photos myself with my phone but, sadly, when I look at them they might as well be in Disneyland for all you can distinguish.

Stan played badly on Friday. His opponent played very well, it's true, but Stan's form has been worrying lately. It's almost as though his AO win has affected him inasmuch as before he had nothing to lose whereas now he has a reputation to defend and is having trouble doing that. After watching the doubles match on TV on Saturday, I went to Sunday's rubbers with no real expectation of seeing Switzerland win. I was fairly sure of Roger, but thought it highly likely Stan would let the occasion get the better of him again. How wrong I was. It was worrying when he lost the first set as I thought that could only make him even more nervous, but he managed to rally, pull himself together and find his form again. I have to say he played well in the first set – much better than on Friday – and really deserved to win it I thought. Anyway, well done Stan for keeping Switzerland's hopes alive.

And what can you say about Roger. It's not the first time I've seen him play live but it is the first time I've seen a Davis Cup tie with it's extraordinary atmosphere. A few things I noticed about Roger that don't always come across on TV: Sitting by the side, watching Stan's match, Roger was always the first to rise to his feet and applaud when Stan got an important point and the first to do the same in encouragement when he lost. And that even though he appeared to be chatting to his fellow players a lot of the time rather than paying attention to the match. Apparently he was paying attention after all. I also noticed that during his own match Roger was at the net first for the coin toss, not keeping his opponent waiting, and that whenever they changed ends it was nearly always him who stepped aside to let his opponent pass. Good manners seem to come naturally to him. And there is an aura about him as soon as he walks onto the court that seems to cause a hush in the crowd. You can see where the JesusFed comparisons come from. There is something godlike or at least royal about him. He moves around, both playing and between shots with a smoothness that makes it look as though he's gliding instead of walking/running. His opponent on Sunday especially, played really well and Roger had to work hard for the win, but somehow it didn't really seem like it. It all looked somewhat easy which of course it wasn't. I took a toilet break and missed the important break in the second set, but walking past the stands you didn't need to be there to know what had happened

Altogether it was an extraordinary experience and one I'm more than glad I didn't miss out on. I thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, but now it looks as though I might have another chance in September

Three cheers for the Kazakhstan supporters. They were a small island of blue in an ocean of red, but they cheered their team on gustily. They were sitting opposite me and sometimes if I missed a point (because of the two gentlemen mentioned earlier) I only had to look at them to see what had happened. A small number they were, surely not more than about 50, but they managed all the same to incorporate a full orchestra in their numbers. There were drums, clarinets, saxophones and trombones blasting away quite tunefully. I think they were only missing a grand piano.

Great weekend, great time. Huge, huge thanks to the whole Swiss team but especially Roger and Stan of course. Roll on September. Allez la Suisse!

Thoughts from Simon

Just managed to find a break in work to get this piece done!

Man, where to start?… Probably with the atmosphere. You go to Davis cup first for the atmosphere, and the tennis is secondary. My friend and I had great places, at an angle with the court, which helps a lot with depth and left/ right perception.

The public was a little slow on Friday, not quite into it yet, and Stan’s defeat deflated us quite a bit. And for the maestro, well, he didn’t need much encouraging did he? Stan’s match was pretty bad, but when you’re into it, and watching it live, it doesn’t feel half as bad. Kudos to Golubev, he played a great match. Stan seemed very sluggish and his placement lacked big time, resulting in the 70+ UE. Those who thought this was going to be a walkover where kind of shocked (me included, I was hoping they lose the doubles, so we could see a meaningful match on Sunday… Boy did that happen!).

Then enter the GOAT. Not a fantastic match by any standards, but some very nice shot making, exho type shots (lob on break point anyone?) The first thing that struck was difference in Stan’s and Roger’s placement. Roger’s feet just seemed to be right where they were supposed to be, when they supposed to be. Crazy. I watched several point by just watching his footwork, and it’s just mesmerizing…

Then came the autograph session. As soon as match point was over, sprint down to where he passes to get his autograph. That’s where I realized that Rog is a great PERSON. There was a small kid in front of me, about 7 y.o, who wanted his autograph (duh). When Roger came up to us, a bitch (pardon my language 😛 ) put her poster completely over his to get the autograph, and the kid looked really anxious. Roger didn’t miss that, push the women’s poster away, asked the kid his name, and wrote “to Tim from Roger” and signed it. Needless to say, the kid was sooo happy! And he didn’t sign the women’s poster 😀

Then came my turn, and I got signed the ball that Stan threw in the stadium last Davis Cup against Czech Republic. I told him it was really nice seeing him live, to which he asked if it was the first time. I told him that I had seen him in London, where he dispatched Tipsy in under an hour, and that I was seated too high to see very well. He laughed and told me he was glad he enjoyed it, and to have a good week end! Also, two kids (5 years olds) wanted pictures with him, which was hard because of the barrier between them. He asked security to lift them over the barrier and take pictures with them. They were ecstatic!

So for those who didn’t know, our Roger is a great person!

Moving on to Saturday, we all thought Fedrinka would win this. But unfortunately Stan completely imploded. I remember blowing four straight routine volleys. Crazy really. Almost club level volleys… Roger did as much as he could, but he was not going to win alone against the two others. Credit to them, they played a great match, but Stan’s morale was down in his shoes, and no amount of our cheering managed to change that. The atmosphere was electric, and it was a good match, unfortunately lost.

Imagine Sunday, when Stan had to win to keep us alive. Many of us where very bleak about the outcome… And he mustered what he needed to win. He raised his level considerably from the last two days, and managed to overcome Kukushkin despite losing the first set. People were wild during that entire match. Probably the highlight of the week end for me. 15 000 people cheering at once for one man gives you the shivers, I tell you! The crowd at the win was almost out of control, and relieved. Many us thought that Roger would get this done fairly easily. In fact, Roger’s match almost felt flat compared to Stan’s. Maybe the pressure going down, but I really felt that Fed’s match was pretty average…

Anyway, it was great week end, and really nice seeing Roger and Stan play together. And like Rita said, those Kazakhstan supporters were crazy good considering their numbers… They were 50 against 15 000 Swiss, and they could still be heard. Hopefully they can pull it off against Italy in September, but right now, we’re savoring victory! 😀

Please forgive the spelling mistakes that are bound to be there!

Federer vs Golubev Highlights

Next stop Madrid!

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer – I’ll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I’m not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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38 thoughts on “Switzerland Defeat Kazakhstan in Geneva to Make Davis Cup Semi Finals”

  1. Watched the tie too but only on stream! 🙂 had my doubts on Stan too but I knew he would find a way to win and give Roger a chance to win it for Switzerland! Golubev was playing fearless tennis, swinging on both wings for the majority of the match but alas it was not enough as Roger neutralised him more often than not 🙂 Roger played magnificently! some missed breakpoints but over all he was moving really well and defending well. Serve can be better and I think he didnt go to the net as much. overall it was a peRFect match! Goodluck to Rog, Stan and the rest of the SUI team! on to the SF 🙂 oh yeah and I hope Rog will have an awesom clay season! fingers crossed!! 🙂

  2. Heya guys! Will be posting my thoughts this week end (probably), I have wayyy too much work for school this week…

    On another note, have you guys seen Roger is playing MC?? o_O

    1. Hey loved yr report too! Nice to hear different views from Rita’s too! Great observation re the footwork and that he is just soooo nice ! Cannot imagine the atmosphere when Stsn played his must win rubber! He really did raise his game! Gd for him! So glad u hv such great memories! Just one question to you and Rita! Did u buy yr tickets way in advance? Just thinking ahead to Sep…..

      1. Susie, tickets went on sale at 8:30 a.m. on 28 February I think – so about a month in advance. I had a blood test early that morning, went on to the site as soon as I got home (about 9:30) and best seats were already gone! I bought the last two remaining in that block! We were in row 23 – half an hour earlier and we could have been in row 1 for the same price probably. Seats were good though.

    2. Yeah I am actually interested in watching in September now too! Thank you for offering to pay for my flights Susie. And yes I would like to take you up on that offer.

  3. Lovely to hear what the atmosphere was like and so pleased that the Swiss lads came through – I am very jealous of you Rita!! Hopefully The “Italian Job” in September will not be so nail biting

  4. Lucky you Rita , and super to hear the first hand experience! Stan was poor in the dubs( by his own admission ), v slow on the volley and poor movement meant that Rogers serve always at risk, and do it proved! Agree with you that Fed always positive! What a guy! And so Stan kept his belief and delivered in. 2nd singles when he served much much better! And lovely to see Fed hold his nerve in the 5th rubber! Agree with you, the Kazahk fans were super , out for a good time whatever happened! And their team did not let them down! Golubev was outstanding but ran out of steam v Roger, didn’t serve as well and looked exhausted! Let’s hope he takes his belief to the tour!
    Thought Fed was fantastic in final match despite churning inside! Looked so serene! Loved the hug with Luthi at the end! What it cld mean to them both to win this thing!! Roll on September and Italy!! Simon, look forward to yr reportage!!

    1. Fed played almost in exho mode I thought so he was confident based on his results so far this year. He was definitely chasing down a lot of balls which was good to see too as no issues physically.

    2. I am the biggest roger federa fan.hope he wins another slam.still my numba 1.wud luv to c him bk to numba 1.the greatest tennis player of the century.no one can play tennis like him.nadal/djocovic/murray all b aware feds bk and hes cummin to get u all.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.ps wud luv to meet him……………

  5. Hi everyone!

    I did not get the chance to watch the games but glad to see Swiss go through. I would love a see Swiss-France final! What’s going on with Stan?! Ok it might be hard to cope with his new reputation but it’s been long enough now!

    Roger will be playing MC! Probably because Mirka will give birth around Madrid or Rome and he might have to pull-out?

    1. Would just like to reassure Simon and everyone that the woman who tried to push in front of a 7-year old kid to get an autograph wasn’t me 🙂

      True Fed fan here – classy like the maestro!

  6. Hi Rita and Simon,

    Happy that you two had a wonderful weekend and many thanks for putting your thoughts together in a short time. Great to read Fedfans’ personal experiences especially about him off court.

    @Rita, “watching Stan’s match, Roger was always the first to rise to his feet and applaud when Stan got an important point and the first to do the same in encouragement when he lost.” – Lovely to hear that as I’ve read quite few people doubting their friendship saying Roger is jealous of Stan or he’s not happy as Swiss No.2 etc..
    Loved your expressions/feeling about his godlike presence and good manners on the court 🙂

    @Simon, although we all know Fed is a great person, the autograph session, specially ‘a kid and a bitch’, is a touching episode of Fed’s 🙂 Also interesting to hear that you can actually see how awesome his footwork and shot placements really are from the court side. And thanks for sharing the ‘little talk’ with him.
    Lucky you!

    1. Yeah I was really surprised about the autograph session. I knew he was classy, but still, he’s a star so I expected kind of that signing autographs was a bore. Visibly not! 😀

      And the footwork is just crazy…

      1. I think he’s vey professional. When he commits himself to being with fans he commits himself, and in return expects to be left alone in his private life – which he more or less gets when he’s in Switzerland.

    2. I’ve posted that little snippet about the autograph on Twitter, fans are going crazy over it 😛

      Fedrinka issue, I believe the issue is more Stan with Fed rather than Fed with Stan, how it seems from the outside anyway. Like he has to try to be nice to him but who knows, never seen them not in front of a camera or getting asked daft questions to know for certain 🙂

  7. Thank you Rita and Simon for writing about your experiences at DC. I was following all their matches online and emotionally vested in each of them. Absolutely loved all the stories about Roger on court, respect for his opponents, cheering his team and great towards his fans. These type of stories rarely get published on mainstream media, it’s always about his tennis bla bla.

    Jonathan – thanks again for helping to post Rita and Simon’s recap and maybe special occasion have live chat during their seminal tie this sept.

  8. Rita and Simon, you guys must have had a lotta fun (notwithstanding near heart attacks 🙂 )
    Thanks for sharing your views, it was a great read. And Simon, that story about Roger once again proves how awesome a guy he is. Well done Roger, I wouldn’t have signed her poster either 😛

  9. Hi Rita and Simon,
    Pleased to read your intimate recounts of the atmersphere and matches over the weekend. You both did it very nicely but in different ways. Thank you. I am so envious of you two.
    Rita, I agree with you completely that Swiss and Fed fans need to show some class (generally very well behaved), claping on Golubev’s mistakes was not necessary.
    Simon, your feeling after Stan’s win was only natual, as most fans felt that Roger’s match might be a bit flat because they knew Roger was going to win, whereas lots of Swiss fans were very unsure of Stan’s match.
    When I watched the replay of the Roger-Golubev match on Youtube, I was wondering which one is Rita 🙂 and which one is Simon 🙂 , when TV camera wondered into the audience. It was obvious that the atmersphere there was electrifying and wonderful.
    Staying injury free, the Swiss will be in final, which could most likely be played on clay in France.

    1. Woah there, calm down! 😉 We thought Kazakhstan would be a walk over, kind bit our tongues on that didn’t we? 😉 They are playing in front of Swiss crowd, so Stan has ample time to implode again 😛

    2. Home fans are always going to clap mistakes it’s just the nature of Davis Cup, I got no issue with it really, it actually adds a different dynamic for players to cope with. Italians were whistling and all sorts at Murray, it was pretty fun!

      And lol I thought that too, when the camera went into the audience I was like, yeah that’s probably Simon. And there is Rita. Then it would go on someone else, and I’d be, yeah that could be Simon actually, yeah that’s definitely him. Rinse and repeat.

  10. Thank you SO MUCH, Rita and Simon, for sharing your experience with us – I am smiling as I write. Maybe it’s because you give us snippets we don’t get in mainstream press; or because it makes us feel closer to the action; whatever the reason, these first-hand accounts are golden, and I appreciate it so much.

    Rita, I too prefer fans who don’t applaud opponents’ mistakes. I actually remember a story – I think from Roger’s mom, and from some time ago too – that a guest in their box was surprised to have her exclaim, oh no! We don’t applaud the opponent’s mistakes!. I loved hearing about Roger’s off-court demeanor too.

    Simon, when I first saw your autograph story on Twitter I didn’t realize it came from you! As Jonathan says, people are going nuts over it! It’s so cool you were actually able to get right next to him! I was also glad to hear his footwork is as awe-inspiring live as we think it would be, watching on television. I saw Borg play an exhibition once, decades ago, & remember my jaw was pretty much on the floor the whole time – just the disbelief that I was actually getting to see that.

    Stan posted a picture of an interesting article from lematin.ch on his Twitter feed that talks about how his whole persona, his whole image, is this wholesome approachable boy next door, & the…. hoopla & insanity that followed & continue to follow from his AO win have kind of distanced him from that – and so who is he then? Perfectly normal, I think, if there’s some pressure on him from all that.

    Jonathan, thanks so much for facilitating these 1st-person accounts, it is much appreciated. 🙂

    1. Thinker: you lucky thing! I only ever saw Borg the once – slightly before Roger was born, as it happens – in an early round at Wimbledon. And then we know what happened in the final, don’t we? Come to think of it, I saw Chrissie Evert the same day – and she lost her crown as well …

      Not surprised to hear that the parents are classy tennis-watchers: I *hate* it when people clap double faults and things like that. The crowd at the last 2 Wimbledon finals being a case in point, particularly last year.

    2. This was probably the very early 80s – he had played Roscoe Tanner in what I always thought was a wonderful Wimbledon final in 1979, and that’s who the exhibition was with. My mother remembers that some lucky local club member got to exchange a few shots w/ Bjorn, and when Bjorn first served the guy ducked, it was so hard, & Borg was apologizing….

      So yes, it’s lucky I got to see him when I did, because there weren’t many other opportunities after that ( – and none for me!)

  11. I AM SO JEALOUS!!!
    I think as a result of this, I am beginning to rethink my holiday plans this year. Say Switzerland for September holidays instead of WTF in November :). looks like this Davis Cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Fed at it. Who says France will make the final? If they would like to put us on clay to do it, then I vote for Czech to please win, so we beat them. It would be a nice situation if Berdych refuses to play again.
    By the way, why can’t the Swiss host the finals?

    1. Utch, I wish that the Swiss will play the Czech in final too. However, realistically, the Czech most likely will not beat the French. I am not worried, Czech or French, Roger and co will have them down.
      I picked up in reading the weekend’s DC summary somewhere for ‘if and if’s. I could be wrong, it seems that the last time the Swiss may have played the the French on the Swiss soil 🙂 . So this upcoming one will have to be in France based on the current rules.

      1. If I’ve understood it correctly, their last ties against France and Czech Republic were both held in Switzerland, so either way they would have to play a final away if they beat Italy. Hoping that Stan will have got a bit more used to his situation by then so he can play his best tennis. I am *really* starting to wish GB had won so it would be over here – can you imagine it at the O2 or something? – but tant pis.

        Rita and Simon (and Jonathan for the blog space!), thank you very much for the personalised report on the tie. It does make a nice change to have a description of the whole atmosphere and everything. I’m not surprised at all at Roger being cheerleader: I have a feeling I must either have seen it or read about it in relation to a previous tie.

    2. Utch, CH in mid-September ought to be rather nice: crowds dying down from the very short summer season, mountain passes still open, if you’re planning on staying more than a few days. I’ve been there twice around that time, and it was great (okay, the second time it rained rather a lot, which is a bit awkward for somewhere as “outdoor” as Switzerland, but still …)

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