AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Spain booked their place in the Davis Cup semi-finals against France after taking an unbeatable 3-1 lead over the United States Sunday.
David Ferrer sealed the tie for Spain, who were without their top-ranked player Rafa Nadal, when he beat Mardy Fish 7-5 7-6 5-7 7-6 in the first of the two reverse singles rubbers after a titanic struggle that lasted more than four hours.
The dead rubber, scheduled to be played between Andy Roddick and Feliciano Lopez, was then called off with the result of the tie already decided.
"Spain have never beat USA in this country," Spain's non-playing captain Albert Costa said.
"To win against Roddick, Fish and the Bryans, I think this is a great team. For us it's historic."
Spain had won Friday's two opening singles matches to seize control of the tie but the Americans gave themselves some hope of winning the best-of-five tie when the twins Bob and Mike Bryan won Saturday's doubles.
"I'm very proud of all the guys for all the efforts they put in all the matches. We definitely laid it all out there," U.S. captain Jim Courier said.
"We were ahead in a lot of sets but that's never a guarantee against players that are strong and players that are professional."
Spain, who have won the Davis Cup four times, in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009, host France in the semi-finals in September after last year's runners-up beat Germany 4-1.
France beat Spain 5-0 in the quarter-finals last year and Costa said his players were determined to avenge that loss.
"We have a generation of players that they are unbelievable," Costa said. "So we have to try to take advantage of this and try to win as much as we can."
(Writing by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Ian Ransom)