Seppi salvages Italy’s hopes

DUESSELDORF: Italy are still in with a chance of reaching the final of the World Team Cup here after Andreas Seppi upset Serbia's Viktor Trojcki 6-1, 6-4 on Friday to keep his team's hopes alive.

The Italians need to keep up the pressure in the remaining singles and doubles game on Friday to secure a 3-0 victory over Serbia in the Blue Group, while Argentina must lose to Russia. Serbia lead the group.

Seppi produced his strongest performance so far here at the Rochusclub and dominated Trojcki particularly in the first set, before the Serbian newcomer raised his level, but could not turn the match.

In the Red Group, Germany suffered a huge setback in the battle to make it to the final when Sweden's Robin Soderling destroyed Rainer Schuettler 6-0, 6-0 in just under an hour.

Despite Schuettler’s strong performance against France's Simon on Tuesday, the German could not find his rhythm this time and was sent off the court without capturing a single game.

Only once before in the competition's history has a player lost without winning a single game when another German, Damir Keretic, beat the Australian player Paul McNamee 6-0, 6-0 in 1987.

In Friday's games, Germany take on Sweden in the Red Group while Serbia play Italy in the Blue Group.

Earlier, the United States came out on top 2-1 in the battle royal with France when Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish saw off their rivals Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon 2-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the doubles for a decisive win.

Although the French brought their two top ten players, Jo-Wilifried Tsonga and Gilles Simon, the Americans ran out winners in the Red Group tie with neither team capable of making it into the final with defending champions Sweden top of the table.

And world number seven Simon lost his third world cup match when he went down 7-5, 6-3 to Querrey before compatriot Tsonga gained revenge with a win over Robby Ginepri of the United States before the doubles.