SYDNEY – Stanislas Wawrinka was within one game of beating Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and sending Switzerland into next year's elite Davis Cup World Group when play was suspended by darkness Sunday on grass courts at Royal Sydney Golf Club.
Wawrinka led Hewitt 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 5-3 when officials stopped play until Monday morning. Hewitt will be serving to stay in the match.
Earlier Sunday, Roger Federer defeated Bernard Tomic 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to pull Switzerland even at 2-2 after Australia won Saturday's doubles and the teams split the opening singles on Friday.
Australian team captain Pat Rafter, a two-time U.S. Open singles champion, wanted the match to be suspended early in the second set. he complained to the tournament referee on several occasions.
"You are always fighting with the umpire and I don't want to get upset with him," Rafter said. "But if you don't, the referee will obviously just get what he wants. So I feel like I've got to make a point."
Federer also said the match could have been suspended earlier.
"It's a tough call," Federer said. "I've lost some big matches in the past due to darkness, and I always have the feeling that referees leave it a bit too late. They try to squeeze in another couple of games, so should they have stopped at two-all (in the fifth set)? Probably, that's my guess.'"
Rafter had an earlier verbal altercation with chair umpire Alexandre Juge for failing to turn off a let cord alarm that went off at the wrong times.
"Take it off now or I'll rip the bloody thing off," Rafter told Juge.