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Ruthless Nadal fires Spain

March 09, 2009 16:38 IST

World number one Rafael Nadal wasted little time steering Spain into the Davis Cup quarter-finals with a crushing win over Serbia's Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

After a 4-1 victory condensed into two days because of weather problems in Benidorm, Spain will take on former champions Germany in the quarter-finals.

Argentina will play the Czech Republic, Croatia will meet the United States and Russia face Israel on the weekend of July 10-12.

The Israelis, who had to go through the playoffs last year to stay in the world group, beat seven-times champions Sweden 3-2 in Malmo in a tie closed to the public because of security fears.

World number three Djokovic and his fellow Serbians blamed lack of practice time on clay for their struggles in Benidorm, where high winds damaged the stadium and delayed the start.

Serbia also had to contend with an in-form Nadal, who notched up his 12th straight Davis Cup singles victory with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 win over Djokovic, a day after dropping just three games in beating Janko Tipsarevic.

Djokovic also lost to David Ferrer and Serbia's only win came in doubles when Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic beat Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo.

"It's not an excuse but if the conditions had been better and we had had more time to practise I think we would have put up a better fight," said Djokovic.


Argentina and Croatia enjoyed the most straightforward routes to the last eight with 5-0 wins over the Netherlands and Chile.

Argentina, runners-up last year, were without their top three players but Juan Ignacio Chela and Martin Vassallo Arguello completed the rout in Buenos Aires with straight-sets wins over Thiemo de Bakker and Matwe Middelkoop.

Russia beat Romania 4-1 in Sibiu after Dmitry Tursunov, a substitute for former world number one Marat Safin, clinched the deciding point with a 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Victor Hanescu in the first reverse singles.

"A lot of people kept calling us big favourites against this Romanian team but I knew it wouldn't be easy," said Russia captain Shamil Tarpishchev.

Nicolas Kiefer proved the linchpin for Germany, beating Austria's Juergen Melzer 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday after helping Philipp Kohlschreiber to win Saturday's doubles.


Radek Stepanek, inspired by success in Saturday's doubles with Tomas Berdych, clinched the vital point for the Czech Republic against nine-times champions France on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Stepanek beat Gilles Simon, ranked 10 places above him at eighth, 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 in Ostrava to put the Czechs through.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Stepanek in Friday's opening singles, overcame Jan Hernych 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 in the fifth rubber but it was too late.

"I felt completely different than against Tsonga on Friday," said Stepanek. "Yesterday's doubles poured a lot of power and confidence into my veins."

A fighting, five-set win by Harel Levy over Andreas Vinciguerra put Israel through to the last eight for only the second time.

The roller-coaster end to the match was witnessed only by around 400 journalists and guests after local authorities, worried about protests over Israel's participation, shut Malmo's Baltic Hall to the public.

American Andy Roddick lived up to his nickname "The Closer" in Birmingham, Alabama, overcoming Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland's top player in the absence of the injured Roger Federer, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the first reverse singles.

World number six Roddick now has an 11-0 record when given the opportunity to clinch a Davis Cup tie.

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