Basel teenager Roger Federer has won his third Davis Cup rubber of the weekend to help Switzerland complete a remarkable first round win over the United States.
After beating Todd Martin in his first singles rubber on Friday, and then pairing up with Lorenzo Manta to win Saturday's doubles match, Federer on Sunday saw off America's Jan-Michael Gambill in four sets. The 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win guaranteed Switzerland the overall victory with a match to spare.
"It's something I will never forget," grinned an ecstatic Federer afterwards. "To get all three points and to have almost kicked out the Americans by myself is incredible."
The first set of the match between Federer and Gambill was a tightly contested affair and seemed destined to end in a tie-break. But with the score at 5-5, Federer finally broke the American, before holding his own service game to take the set.
Gambill appeared stunned for a while after that with Federer virtually cruising through the second set. But another decisive break at the end of the third set, this time in Gambill's favour, put the US player back in the match.
Federer responded swiftly, however, breaking Gambill just three games into the new set. The man from Washington managed to successfully defend two break points on his next service game, but a wildly hit baseline shot two games later gifted Federer a 5-2 lead.
The Swiss number one then comfortably held serve, finishing with an ace, to complete his fourth win in four matches against Gambill, simultaneously earning Switzerland their first ever Davis Cup win over the US.
Federer later struggled to describe what his feelings had been at that point.
"I think it's very difficult to explain my first thoughts," he said. "Certainly there was absolute relief and happiness, plus the feeling of finishing with an ace - the whole crowd went crazy and to be in your home town and getting all the points for your team, that's incredible."
American teenager Andy Roddick provided some consolation for his team, beating Swiss number four George Bastl 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday's second match. But the result was academic, merely reducing the scoreline to 3-2 in Switzerland's favour.
The two country's only previous meeting came in 1992 when the Swiss were beaten by the US in Switzerland's first and so far only appearance in the tournament's final.
If the current team are to match, or even surpass, the achievements of nine years ago, they will first have to overcome another difficult assignment in the quarter-finals against a strong French side.
While the US team in Basel were without the services of their top stars Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, France are expected to be at full strength with a line-up to worry even Federer.
In Arnaud Clement, Sebastien Grosjean and Cedric Pioline, the French can point to three players placed higher in the world rankings than the Swiss number one.
"It will definitely be very tough again," Federer admitted. "We'll be playing in Neuchatel where I played my first Davis Cup tie against Italy so it will be interesting.
"France have lot of good players, especially at the moment, but we'll be playing at home again and that's going to help us a lot."
by Samantha Tonkin and Mark Ledsom