Davis Cup champion Argentina knocked out of top tier
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) Last year’s Davis Cup champion Argentina was knocked out of the competition’s top tier Sunday with defeat to Kazakhstan.
Mikhail Kukushkin defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (2) in a battle between the teams’ top-ranked players to give Kazakhstan an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five match in Central Asia.
Schwartzman, who as the 28th-ranked player is 50 places above Kukushkin, lost his first two service games in each of the first two sets and struggled to recover.
Argentina – which didn’t have its top-ranked player Juan Martin del Potro in Kazakhstan – is the first reigning Davis Cup champion to be relegated since Sweden in 1999.
Argentina was last outside the top-tier World Group in 2001, while Kazakhstan returns following relegation last year.