Switzerland's Davis Cup reign ends swiftly
LONDON (Reuters) - Switzerland's brief reign as Davis Cup holders was swiftly ended when they paid the inevitable price for fielding a second-string team and lost 3-2 to Belgium in the first round in Liege on Sunday.
Just over three months since Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka drove them to an historic title in Lille, it was a different story without their big two as the Swiss became the first champions in 10 years to fall at the first hurdle.
Federer and Wawrinka had chosen to stand aside after achieving their ambitions and the stand-ins were not able to upset the odds against much higher-ranked players despite a heroic effort from 22-year-old Henri Laaksonen.
The world number 344, who previously played for Finland, leveled the tie at 2-2 with a 6-3 3-6 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1 win over Steve Darcis, a player ranked 242 places higher.
For the second time in three days, the remarkable Laaksonen fought back to prevail in a five-setter.
Switzerland's hopes, though, were extinguished in the deciding rubber when David Goffin, the world number 21 who was rested on Friday because of concerns over a back injury, proved too good for number 321 Adrien Bossel and won 6-4 6-0 6-4.
For the second year running Andy Murray led Britain to a first-round victory over the United States when he beat John Isner 7-6 (4) 6-3 7-6 (4) in Glasgow.
The former Wimbledon champion survived some early scares against the big-serving American before taking charge to steer Britain into an unassailable 3-1 lead.