ASTANA – Kazakhstan booked on Saturday a place in the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals for the fifth time by finishing off a first-round 3-0 rout of visiting Switzerland.
The Kazakh duo of Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov clinched the tie by edging the Swiss pair of Marc-Andrea Huesler and Luca Margaroli 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (5), 6-3 at the National Tennis Centre, an indoor hard-court venue in Astana.
The Kazakhs needed three hours and 22 minutes in Saturday’s doubles to send Switzerland, missing both 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka, to a World Group playoff tie in September.
The Central Asian team took a commanding 2-0 lead on Friday when 231st-ranked Dmitry Popko topped 123rd-ranked Henri Laaksonen 6-2, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-5 and Mikhail Kukushkin, the world No. 73, rallied from down a set and a break to defeat 485th-ranked Adrian Bodmer 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
The Kazakh team will next try to book its first-ever berth in the Davis Cup World Group semifinals when it squares off in April against either Croatia or Canada, who were tied 1-1 heading into Saturday’s doubles.
Kazakhstan also advanced to the Davis Cup quarterfinals in 2011 (its first World Group appearance), 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Federer and Wawrinka led Switzerland to its maiden Davis Cup title in 2014, but with neither competing in World Group action over the past four years, the European nation has since failed to make it past the first round.