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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Croatia, Argentina enter Davis Cup quarters

Croatia, Argentina enter Davis Cup quarters

March 08, 2009 09:24 IST

Croatia and Argentina reached the Davis Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, winning in doubles to take unassailable 3-0 leads over Chile and Netherlands respectively.

More than 6,000 demonstrators protested against Israel's presence in the competition in the Swedish city of Malmo, where players complained about the lack of atmosphere in a hall closed to the public by worried authorities.

Seven times champions Sweden took a 2-1 lead over Israel with doubles victory for Robert Lindstedt and Simon Aspelin over Andy Ram and Amir Hadad.

Champions Spain were able to start their first-round tie in the seaside resort of Benidorm, where high winds had damaged the purpose-built stands and prevented play on Friday.

On a long day by the Mediterranean, Spain went 2-1 up against Serbia when world number one Rafael Nadal lost just three games against Janko Tipsarevic for a 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 victory and David Ferrer upset erratic world number three Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 7-6.

Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic kept alive Serbia's hopes by beating Tommy Robredo and Feliciano Lopez in straight sets in the doubles.

Tipsarevic complained about the clay court, describing it as "more like a beach", while Djokovic said he had not played on the slow surface since last year's French Open, adding: "I...just felt like I was in foreign territory today and made a lot of unforced errors."

Israel's Ram was also unhappy, saying of the Malmo authorities' decision to restrict admittance to about 400 journalists, sponsors and guests: "It's a stupid decision. It's terrible for both teams. We like to perform in front of the crowds, not in front of empty seats."

Mario Ancic and Marin Cilic teamed up to beat Chile's Nicolas Massu and Paul Capdeville 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and put Croatia into July's world group quarter-finals, after singles wins for both men on Friday.

"We were the pre-match favourites but sometimes the hardest tie to win is the one where victory is almost chalked up in advance, so we did a good job here," said Ancic.


Croatia will now play 2007 champions the United States or Switzerland. Twins Bob and Mike Bryan gave the Americans a 2-1 lead on Saturday with a four-set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka and Yves Allegro in Birmingham, Alabama.

It was the 15th win in Davis Cup for the brothers, the world's top-ranked doubles pair.

Last year's losing finalists Argentina were missing their three top players, with David Nalbandian ill and both Juan Martin del Potro and Jose Acasuso declining to take part, but their makeshift team sailed through against outsiders the Netherlands in Buenos Aires.

Lucas Arnold Ker and Martin Vassallo Arguello wrapped up victory on Saturday with a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 doubles win over Jesse Huta Galung and Rogier Wassen to put Argentina in the quarter-finals for the eighth successive year.

Their next opponents will be Czech Republic or France.

The experienced Czechs lead the higher-ranked French 2-1 going into Sunday's final day in Ostrava after Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat Michael Llodra and Richard Gasquet in four sets in the doubles.

Romania's unheralded pairing of teenager Marius Copil and Horia Tecau came back from two sets down to upset experienced Russians Marat Safin and Dmitry Tursunov in Sibiu, keeping the tie alive into the third day after two singles wins for Russia on Friday.

Germany's tie against Austria will also be decided in Sunday's reverse singles after Nicolas Kiefer, recently returned from injury, joined Philipp Kohlschreiber to defeat Austrians Alexander Peya and Julian Knowle in four sets and give the home team a 2-1 lead in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

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