Great Britain and Belgium secured shock places in November’s Davis Cup final on Sunday while 17-time major winner Roger Federer cast doubt over his future in the competition.
Britain made their first final since 1978 with victory over Australia in Glasgow thanks to world number three Andy Murray’s 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 win over Bernard Tomic in the first reverse singles.
With two-time Grand Slam winner Murray in their ranks they will start as favourites to win a first Davis Cup since 1936 when they go to Belgium for the November 27-29 final.
Belgium reached their first title match since 1904 with a tense 3-2 win over Argentina in Brussels with Steve Darcis, the world number 64, needing a fourth match point to defeat Federico Delbonis 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
When Belgium last made the final in 1904 their opponents were also Britain who swept to a 5-0 triumph.
Britain secured a first victory over old rivals Australia since 1978.
Nine-time winners Britain last won the Davis Cup in 1936 when Fred Perry and Bunny Austin sealed a 3-2 victory over Australia at Wimbledon.
“Winning for your country and your team-mates means a lot. The crowd were unbelievable from the first ball to the last,” Murray told the BBC.
“I didn’t feel great the whole weekend to be honest, I’ve been struggling with my back, but I just tried to disguise it.”
It is a remarkable turnaround for a British team that have risen from being on the verge of relegation to Europe/Africa Group III in 2010 to being finalists in 2015.
In Brussels, world number 15 David Goffin kept Belgium afloat against Argentina with a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over Diego Schwartzman to level their semi-final at 2-2.
Darcis, 31, then sealed victory for a Belgian side which had knocked out defending champions Switzerland in the first round.
In the play-offs, where the winners will feature in the elite World Group in 2016, Federer defeated Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 as Switzerland wrapped up victory over the Netherlands in Geneva.
But Federer, 34, who led Switzerland to a first Davis Cup title in 2014, then hinted that he was rethinking his future in the tournament after a 16-year career.
“My idea was never to win it twice, the idea was always to win it once,” Federer told www.daviscup.com.
“I see this tie in isolation. Next year is an Olympic year. The summer will be very long and packed with highlights. It’s all a question of priorities. I can’t play everything and of course if I do play Davis Cup other things have to drop out.”
In Tashkent, Jack Sock defeated Denis Istomin 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to give 32-time champions United States victory over Uzbekistan.
The Czech Republic, champions in 2012 and 2013, saw off India in sweltering New Delhi when Jiri Vesely thrashed Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.
Italy also preserved their World Group status when world number 28 Fabio Fognini defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to secure victory against Russia in Irkutsk.
In Gydnia, Poland clinched a World Group spot for the first time when Michal Przysiezny defeated Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos in the deciding fifth rubber, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Philipp Kohlschreiber won his third point of the weekend when a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over Victor Estrella Burgos secured Germany’s win over the Dominican Republic.
Borna Coric steered Croatia to an unassailable 3-1 lead over Brazil in Florianapolis when Thomaz Bellucci was forced to retire with Coric leading 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4,) 4-0.
The remaining play-off was level at 2-2 between Colombia and Japan in Pereira.