Spain takes 2-0 lead vs. Austria

Published Apr. 6, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer easily won their Davis Cup singles matches Friday in Castellon to give Spain a 2-0 quarterfinals lead over Austria, putting the defending champions on course for a 23rd straight home win.

Almagro, Spain's No. 2, broke Melzer five times in an outdoor clay match that the 12th-ranked Spaniard dominated, winning in under two hours.

Fifth-ranked David Ferrer improved to 13-0 in clay singles play with an even easier win, routing 139th-ranked Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 as the five-time champions narrowed in on their first victory over Austria in 33 years.

Spain, which hasn't lost on clay since a 1999 defeat to Brazil, can secure its passage into the semifinals with a victory in Saturday's doubles.

''I was a little surprised how easy it was for us today,'' Spain captain Alex Corretja said. ''I was expecting especially in the first match for it to be more difficult but it didn't happen. Lucky us. You need to be ready for the big fight and then if it's easier it's better for you.''

Czech Republic 1, Serbia 1

Janko Tipsarevic saved three match points to overcome Radek Stepanek 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 and draw Serbia level at 1-1 with the Czech Republic after the opening singles of the Davis Cup quarterfinal on Friday.


Tipsarevic, who this week reached his highest ranking of No. 8, faced a match point at 5-6 and two more at 6-7 in the fifth set but served well to remain in the match and prevail in more than five hours.

Earlier, Tomas Berdych eased past Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead after the opening singles on an indoor clay court at the O2 Arena.

The doubles match is scheduled for Saturday while reverse singles will be played on Sunday.

Serbia, seeking a third straight semifinal, is without top-ranked Novak Djokovic.

Croatia 1, Argentina 1

Marin Cilic staked Croatia to a 1-0 lead in Buenos Aires by outlasting David Nalbandian 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in a match that lasted five hours.

But Argentina's No. 1 player, Juan Martin del Potro, lived up to his billing with a 6-2, 7-6 (7), 6-1 victory over Ivo Karlovic that pulled the two nations into a tie.

Del Potro's victory was even more impressive because he was dealing with stomach problems.

Cilic finally won on his third match point when Nalbandian hit a ground stroke into the net after 5 hours, 9 minutes. 

Nalbandian had a 4-0 record against Cilic, but they had never played on clay. Argentine captain Martin Jaite chose Nalbandian to play instead of Juan Monaco, who has been in better form and has a higher ranking.

Doubles are set for Saturday with Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank facing Cilic and Lovro Zovko. Nalbandian said he intended to play despite speculation Jaite might replace him with Monaco. Reverse singles are Sunday.

Argentina and Croatia have met twice in Davis Cup quarterfinals, and the South Americans have won both. Argentina won in 2002 in Buenos Aires, and in 2006 in Zagreb.


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