Tue, Feb 14, 2012 - Page 20 News List

No Djokovic, no problem for fancied Serbia

AFP, PARIS

Gael Monfils of France plays a shot between his legs in his team’s Davis Cup World Group match against Vasek Pospisil of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Serbia shrugged off the absence of Novak Djokovic to reach the last eight of the Davis Cup on Sunday, with the 2010 champions confidently setting their sights on dethroning Spain in November’s final.

Janko Tipsarevic secured an unassailable 3-1 lead over Sweden in the World Group first-round tie in Nis with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Michael Ryderstedt.

The victory gave Serbia a quarter-final tie in April against the Czech Republic, but captain Bogdan Obradovic believes that with world No. 1 Djokovic back in the side for that clash, his country can start dreaming of a second title.

“It’s never easy to play matches in which you are the odds-on favorite, but the players dealt with the pressure really well against Sweden,” Obradovic told the Davis Cup Web site.

Tipsarevic had beaten Filip Prpic in straight sets in Friday’s opening rubber and he had then played doubles on Saturday when Sweden had clawed their way back into the tie, but despite those efforts, he had no problem in disposing of Ryderstedt.

“I want to thank my team for standing by me through the thick and thin, and this is also the best home crowd we have ever played for,” Tipsarevic said. “I hope some of these fans will be able to make the trip with us to the Czech Republic because it will be a very open match.”

The US, the 32-time champions, completed a 5-0 whitewash over Switzerland in Fribourg.

Ryan Harrison beat Michael Lammer 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/4) and John Isner, who condemned Roger Federer to his first defeat in the tournament in nine years on Friday, saw off Marco Chiudinelli 6-3, 6-4.

The US will travel to France in the last eight.

France beat hosts Canada 4-1, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga downing injury substitute Frank Dancevic 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 to clinch the tie and Gael Monfils then defeating Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4.

Austria made the quarter-finals — where they will tackle Spain — for the first time in 17 years with a 3-2 win over two-time champions Russia in Wiener Neustadt.

Jurgen Melzer secured the vital point, beating debutant Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

“I think it was one-way traffic,” Melzer said. “Giving Austria the chance to play a quarter-final against Spain, that was our goal.”

Spain, playing without Rafael Nadal, who is skipping the tournament this year, had already made sure of their sixth successive appearance in the quarter-finals by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead on Saturday against Kazakhstan in Oviedo.

On Sunday, they completed a 5-0 rout with singles wins for Nicolas Almagro and Marcel Granollers.

The Czech Republic wrapped up a 4-1 win over Italy in Ostrava, while last year’s runners-up Argentina were also 4-1 winners over Germany in Bamberg.

Argentina will have a home tie against Croatia, who beat Japan 3-2.

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