Davis Cup: Switzerland leads Italy 1-0

Roger Federer, of Switzerland, celebrates after winning a point against Simone Bolelli, of Italy, during the first single match of the tennis Davis Cup World Group semifinal between Switzerland and Italy, in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Sept.12, 2014
Keystone,Salvatore Di Nolfi

GENEVA (AP) Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka took Switzerland close to its first Davis Cup final in 22 years after cruising to straight-sets wins in the opening singles against Italy on Friday.

First, Federer beat 76th-ranked Simone Bolelli 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 without dropping serve to delight a crowd of more than 18,000 at Palexpo indoor arena.

Wawrinka, the Australia Open champion, followed up by beating Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in just 90 minutes.

''A very good match - for once,'' Wawrinka joked in an on-court interview after a rare easy win for him in Davis Cup. ''It's the ideal start but there remains a match to win.''

Federer and Wawrinka have a chance Saturday to give the hosts an unassailable 3-0 series lead and send Switzerland to its first final since losing to a superstar United States lineup in 1992. The Swiss have never won the title.

The 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists are scheduled to face Italian pair Andreas Seppi and Paolo Lorenzi, though both teams suggested plans could change. Pairings must be confirmed by 1000 GMT Saturday.

Wawrinka said he and Federer - who played at the US Open last week into the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively - would discuss options with team captain Severin Luethi.

If needed, Federer would play Fognini in the first reverse singles match Sunday.

In the other semifinal series, France leads the two-time defending champion Czech Republic 2-0.

Federer talked this week of his anticipation to play in front of so many home fans - the second biggest attendance in world tennis, he said. The Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows holds more than 22,000.

He was rarely under pressure and took the only break-point chances he needed midway through the second set and early in the third.

''I had to wait for a while to get my first break,'' Federer said. ''After that it was easy to play with the lead but it was a tough match, as the score suggests.''

Bolelli hit more winners than Federer - 33 to 30 - but failed to convert any of his three break chances.

''Not being broken (on serve) is always a great thing. That's what most pleased me,'' said Federer, who improved to 36-7 in Davis Cup singles, including 15-1 on hard courts.

The first set went with serve to the tiebreaker, and Federer took his third set point with a flat backhand across the court which Bolelli could not handle.

The Swiss No. 1 took his first chance to break for a 4-3 lead in the second. He raced in behind a strong return and pressured Bolelli into netting a forehand.

Serving for the set, Federer saved two break chances before taking his fifth chance to clinch with a high volley winner.

A fortunate net cord for Federer, barely creeping on to the Italian's side of the court, clinched an early and decisive break in the third.

Federer double-faulted on his first match point, then clinched with a forehand winner at the net.

Fourth-ranked Wawrinka simply out-hit Fognini, winning the aces count 16-0 and 37-14 in total winners.

The 17th-ranked Italian also had eight double faults, including on Wawrinka's first set point in the opener.

''I've played good matches in Davis Cup this year,'' said Fognini, who beat Britain's Andy Murray in straight sets in the previous round, ''but today, no.''

Wawrinka raced through the final game, clinching on a service winner.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.