Favourites crash in Davis Cup
Stanislas Wawrinka (AP Photo)
Paris - France, Switzerland and Germany all advanced to the Davis Cup World Group quarter-finals on Saturday as Spain and Serbia crashed out of the 114-year-old competition.
France took an unassailable 3-0 lead over Australia, with Germany seeing off Spain, minus world number one Rafael Nadal, and Switzerland beat 2010 winners and last year's finalists Serbia by the same scoreline.
But the Czech Republic will have to wait until Sunday to keep their quest for a third consecutive title on track as they lead the Netherlands 2-1 at Ostrava.
On the clay in Mouilleron-le-Captif, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga clinched the vital rubber for France with a 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 7-5 success over Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt.
France were sitting pretty overnight after Gasquet beat Aussie teenager Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 6-2, before Tsonga ousted Hewitt 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2).
France's reward was a last eight clash with Germany, who took an unbeatable 3-0 lead over five-time former champions Spain in Frankfurt earlier Saturday.
That quarter-final is scheduled for April 4-6.
Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber needed nearly three and a half hours to seal a 7-6(7/5), 6-7(9/11), 7-6(9/7), 6-3 over Spain's Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero.
Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer had given the hosts a 2-0 overnight lead.
Switzerland's all important point was delivered by the pairing of Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lanmer, who saw off Nenad Zimonjic and Filip Krajinovic 6-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-6 (7/2), 6-2.
The Swiss took control of the tie in Novi Sad on Friday when Roger Federer, yet to add the Davis Cup trophy to his array of silverware, and freshly crowned Australian champion Stanislas Wawrinka, won both of their singles.
Federer, a last-minute addition to the Swiss team, won through 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 against 268th-ranked Ilija Bozoljac on the hard court surface in Novi Sad.
Serbia were weakened by the absence of star turns Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic.
Tired from his exploits in the heat of Melbourne Wawrinka then stepped up to battle past 102nd ranked Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).
The Swiss will meet either Kazakhstan or Belgium who are playing in Astana with the hosts leading 2-1.
On the hardcourt of the CEZ Arena in the eastern city of Ostrava, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek handed the defending champions the Czech Republic a 2-1 lead after winning the doubles rubber.
The Czechs however needed three hours and 57 minutes to beat Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4).
Berdych and Stepanek, who led the Czech Republic to Davis Cup titles in 2012 and 2013, have won the 15th of their 16 Davis Cup doubles rubbers together since teaming up in 2007.
Argentina were level 1-1 with Italy in Mar del Plata, Astana, and Japan lead last year's semi-finalists Canada 2-1 in Tokyo.
A fired-up Kei Nishikori propelled Japan to a doubles win as Japan are bidding for a quarter-final place for the first time since the 16-nation elite group format was introduced in 1981.
In San Diego, Great Britain are 2-0 up over the USA after world number four Andy Murray beat Donald Young 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 and James Ward upset Sam Querrey 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.