Tennis: Wawrinka stunned in Davis Cup, Czechs on course for semis

PARIS (AFP) - Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka suffered a shock defeat to unheralded Kazakh Andrey Golubev in the Davis Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

The world number three was stunned 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) by 64th ranked Golubev as Kazakhstan took an early 1-0 lead over the Swiss in Geneva.

The result, achieved in just under three and a quarter hours, revived bad memories for Wawrinka who lost both his matches - a singles and a doubles rubber - in a 5-0 whitewash victory for Kazakhstan over Switzerland in Astana in 2010.

It means the pressure is squarely on 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, the world number four, ahead of his opening rubber against Mikhail Kukushkin.

The pair have met once before, in the first round of Wimbledon in 2011 when Federer won in straight sets.

Title-holders Czech Republic took a 2-0 lead over Japan in Tokyo.

Despite missing world number five Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol claimed battling victories over a weakened Japan team, who are without talisman Kei Nishikori due to injury while Go Soeda has a virus.

Stepanek beat Tatsuma Ito 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-1, 7-5 in the opening rubber while Rosol then overcame Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2.

"I'm very happy to be at 2-0," Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil told reporters. "They had nothing to lose and in the end of both matches we were a little bit lucky." Stepanek was in trouble early on against Ito and needed to make a diving volley to avoid going down two sets to love.

But having won the second set tie-break, the world 47 took control against an opponent ranked almost 100 places lower than him.

"There are days you're not playing your best tennis that you have to find ways to win," said Stepanek.

Rosol blew a two-set lead against a player ranked 150 places below him before pulling it together to win his first ever five set match.

Italy took a 1-0 lead over Great Britain in Naples as clay-court specialist Fabio Fognini overcame a disjointed start to beat James Ward 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

After a two-hour rain delay, Fognini took his time to get into his stride before eventually running away with it.

Andy Murray takes on Andreas Seppi in the second rubber looking to bring Britain back into the tie.

The winners will face either the Czechs or Japan in the semi-finals.

In the other quarter-final, Germany took a 1-0 lead over France in Nancy as Tobias Kamke beat Julien Benneteau 7-6 (10/8), 6-3, 6-2 ahead of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's meeting with Peter Gojowczyk.

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