PARIS: Switzerland and Serbia, missing the accumulated Grand Slam power of Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic, slumped to defeat in the Davis Cup first round last night. allowing Kazakhstan and the US to reach the quarter-finals.
The Swiss have now fallen in the first round every year since their maiden title triumph in 2014, which was inspired by 20-time major winner Federer and three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka.
But with recently-crowned Australian Open champion Federer and injury-hit Wawrinka not making the trip to Astana, the Kazakhs made the most of their opportunity.
Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov sealed the key point by seeing off Marc-Andrea Huesler and Luca Margaroli 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 in the doubles for a 3-0 lead.
Serbia, the 2010 champions but without Djokovic, were also defeated as Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson downed Nikola Milojevic and Miljan Zekic 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 for a 3-0 advantage on the clay courts in Nis.
The US, who have been champions 32 times, were 2-0 up overnight after singles wins for Sam Querrey and John Isner.
Belgium, the runners-up in 2017, are 2-1 ahead of Hungary in Liege.
Defending champions France are 2-1 up on the Netherlands in Albertville after Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/2).
The winners will face either Japan or Italy for a place in the semi-finals.
Italy have the edge over Japan in their tie in Morioka after veterans Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini beat New Zealand-born Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3) 7-5.
Five-time champions Spain, without world number one Rafael Nadal, are 2-1 up on Great Britain on clay in Marbella after Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez defeated Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).
The winners of that tie will face either Australia, the 28-time champions, or Germany who are 2-1 ahead in their tie in Brisbane.
Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff beat John Peers and Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-7 (1/7), 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 in the doubles yesterday.
In Osijek, meanwhile, world number three in singles and Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic teamed with Ivan Dodig in a thrilling comeback to see off Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 2-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 as Croatia lead Canada 2-1.