|David Ferrer of Spain celebrates after defeating Mardy Fish of the U.S. in their Davis Cup singles match. (REUTERS/Mike Stone)
David Ferrer beat Mardy Fish in a hard-fought match Sunday to give Spain a 3-1 victory over the United States in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup.
Ferrer, who knocked off Andy Roddick on Friday, held on to beat Fish 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 7-6 (7-5) in 4 hours and 11 minutes.
Roddick would have taken the court to play Feliciano Lopez in a decisive fifth match if Fish had pulled through.
Instead, Spain moved on to host France in the semifinals in September despite playing the Americans without world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who decided not to compete this week.
The Spanish, who have won four of the last 11 championships, are led by former French Open champion Albert Costa. They took a 2-0 lead when Ferrer beat Roddick and Lopez topped Fish on Friday, but the American doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan kept the U.S. in it with a victory on Saturday.
Which left the two scheduled singles matches Sunday. To Fish's credit, he battled back from two tough sets to take the third, losing just one point on his first serve.
The fourth-set tiebreaker was tied 3-3, but Fish hit a backhand into the net after a long rally. Ferrer then took a 5-3 lead with a strong service return.
Fish won two straight points to knot the score at 5-5, getting the second one on a nice volley at the net. But Ferrer passed him with a forehand to make it 6-5, then hit a deep forehand for the winning point.
After scrambling to run down the ball, Fish knocked the final shot of the match well wide with a forehand.
Spain evened the all-time series with the Americans at 5-5 and won for the first time in five tries on U.S. soil.