France, Serbia cruise into Davis quarters

Updated 02 February 2013
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France, Serbia cruise into Davis quarters

LONDON: France and Serbia both sealed quick-fire victories to reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals but top seeds Spain were hanging on by their fingernails against Canada ahead of the doubles.
French duo Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra thrashed Israel’s Dudi Sela and Jonathan Erlich 7-6, 6-1, 6-0 in Rouen to give France a 3-0 lead that rendered Sunday’s reverse singles meaningless.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet both comfortably won their singles matches on Friday.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic will be spared more exertion today after 2010 winners Serbia built a 3-0 lead against Belgium when Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic came through in four sets against Steve Darcis and Ruben Bemelmans.
Djokovic, playing his first match since winning the Australian Open for a third consecutive year, crushed Olivier Rochus on Friday on an indoor claycourt in Charleroi.
France, bidding for a 10th Davis Cup title, will face either Germany or Argentina in the quarterfinals while Serbia will be waiting for either the United States or Brazil.
Argentina and the US are both leading 2-0 ahead of the doubles action.
A weakened Spain must win the doubles rubber to avoid a shock defeat against Canada in Vancouver after the hosts moved 2-0 ahead with victory in the opening singles.
Elsewhere, Austria kept their tie against Kazakhstan alive as Julian Knowle and Alexander Peya won the doubles to leave the hosts leading 2-1 in Astana.
Saturday night’s doubles matches could prove pivotal for the two other ties, with Italy and Croatia and Switzerland and holders Czech Republic both level at 1-1.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.