Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Spain prove there is life without Rafael Nadal


Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his Davis Cup World Group match against John Isner of the US in Belgrade on Sunday.


Defending champions Spain proved there is life without Rafael Nadal when they swept aside Switzerland 4-1 to set-up a mouthwatering Davis Cup quarter-final clash with France on Sunday.

Russia also went through thanks to a 3-2 win over India, their 17th successive home win, which gave them a last-eight clash against Argentina, who defeated Sweden 3-2.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic led Serbia to a 4-1 victory over the US, earning his country a last-eight place for the first time and a July trip to bitter rivals Croatia, the 2005 champions.

In Logrono, David Ferrer scored the winning point for Spain as he easily saw off an exhausted Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to give the hosts an unbeatable lead over Switzerland after they had led 2-1 overnight. Nicolas Almagro then eased past Marco Chiudinelli 6-1, 6-3 in the dead rubber.

Despite his heroics, Ferrer admitted that his place in the team for July’s clash with France was not guaranteed, with Nadal and Fernando Verdasco expected to return.

“I hope to play and be picked, but we will see. I just want to focus on the next tournaments,” Ferrer said.

France maintained their 72-year domination of Germany when they wrapped up a 4-1 win in Toulon, leaving the French eager to face Spain on home ground.

“It’ll be like a final, it’s the kind of thing you dream about,” French captain Guy Forget said. “Facing the defending champions with Nadal, Verdasco, Ferrer, Lopez ... we want to beat the best in the world. We have started to talk about it and I hope that the boys will be in peak form.”

France will have the advantage of playing the tie at home and will — not surprisingly — opt for a hard court rather than the clay courts favored by the Spanish.

In Belgrade, Djokovic won a five-set thriller to defeat John Isner of the US and hand Serbia a place in the quarter-finals for the first time.

Serbia will travel to Croatia from July 9 through July 11 after Djokovic claimed a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4 win over Isner in a 4 hour, 16 minute marathon.

Croatia wrapped-up a 5-0 win over Ecuador in their first round tie.

“It’s the biggest win for men’s tennis in Serbia,” Djokovic said.

In Moscow, Mikhail Youzhny eased Russia into the last eight when he beat Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 to give his side a 3-1 lead over India. Rohan Bopanna won the dead rubber, beating Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, to ensure a final scoreline of 3-2.

David Nalbandian was Argentina’s match-winner in Stockholm when he defeated Andreas Vinciguerra 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, after Robin Soderling had seen off Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 to pull Sweden level.

The Czech Republic saw off Belgium in Bree and will face either Chile or Israel. Chile were 2-1 ahead after Sunday’s doubles.



Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia defeated Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova 1-6, 6-1, 6-0 for her first WTA title at the Monterrey Open on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Pavlyuchenkova came back from a set down to overwhelm Hantuchova in the final of the hard-court tournament.

Pavlyuchenkova also defeated Hantuchova earlier this season in a hard-court match in Dubai. She played her second match of the day after earlier beating Anastasia Sevastova of Latvia 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in a semifinal that was rained off on Saturday.

Hantuchova was seeking her fourth WTA title.

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