Davis Cup Tennis Continues In Madrid
MADRID (AP) -- Novak Djokovic helped Serbia eliminate top-ranked France to reach the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Finals on Thursday, setting up a meeeting with Russia.
Britain also advanced despite resting Andy Murray and will face Germany, while Argentina went through as a second-place finisher to take on Rafael Nadal and host Spain.
Australia and Canada had already made it to the last eight and will meet later Thursday to decide the first semifinalist of the revamped team competition.
Djokovic defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-3 to seal Serbia's victory over France. Filip Krajinovic had beaten Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the first singles, and France picked up its lone point with duo Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeating Viktor Troicki and the retiring Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4.
Djokovic had a break in the first set and two in the second to clinch his 14th straight Davis Cup singles victory.
"I made some crucial breaks at the right time in both sets," Djokovic said. "It's tough to play Benoit, he is a very talented guy, very unpredictable."
Serbia secured first place in Group A by winning every tie without dropping a set in the singles matches.
Group winners advanced to the knockout stage along with the two best second-place finishers among the six groups.
Argentina was one of those top second-place finishers, along with Russia. France, Belgium, Kazakhstan and the U.S. were eliminated as the other runners-up.
Four of the top six ranked Davis Cup teams failed to advance -- France, defending champion Croatia, Belgium and the U.S.
Britain got past Kazakhstan after Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski defeated Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-4 in the deciding doubles match.
"It's been another good day for us," Skupski said. "Very proud to get the win today with Jamie. I thought we fought hard. I think we're playing well."
The teams were tied 1-1 in Group E after Kyle Edmund beat Kukushkin 6-3, 6-3 and Bublik defeated Daniel Evans 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
Britain decided to rest Andy Murray, who on Wednesday came from behind to win his match against Tallon Griekspoor in three sets.
Germany won Group C by defeating Chile 2-1 thanks to a doubles win by Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies over Marcelo Tomas Barrios and Alejandro Tabilo.
Phillip Kohlschreiber had given Germany the lead by defeating Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-3, but Cristian Garin evened the series with a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (7), 7-6 (8) victory over Jan-Lennard Struff.
"I think we're really excited to be playing them in the quarterfinals," Britain's Jamie Murray said of the matchup against Germany. "I think it's going to be a very evenly-matched tie and really excited to get the chance to go out there and compete again."
The new Davis Cup Finals is being played in World Cup-style with all 18 teams playing in a single venue in the same week. The tournament overhaul is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and Kosmos, a group co-founded by Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique.