Davis Cup: Sweden cuts Serbia’s lead

Serbia 2, Sweden 1

Sweden staved off elimination from the Davis Cup first round by beating Serbia in Saturday’s doubles.

Johan Brunstrom and Robert Lindstedt beat Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 10-8.

Serbia is playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic who is resting after winning the Australian Open.

Serbia hopes to wrap up the best-of-five series in the reverse singles on Sunday, which starts with Tipsarevic playing Michael Ryderstedt.

Spain 3, Kazakhstan 0

Defending champion Spain secured a place in the Davis Cup quarterfinals by winning Saturday’s doubles against Kazakhstan and securing an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, partnering for the first time in the competition, eased to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kazakh pair Evgeny Korolev and Yuriy Schukin on indoor clay.

Juan Carlos Ferrero and Nicolas Almagro won their singles on Friday as the hosts’ secured a 22nd straight win on home soil and 24th straight on clay. Spain’s last loss at home came in 1999. (MORE)

Argentina 3, Germany 0

David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank rallied from two sets down to win Saturday’s doubles against Germany and send Argentina through to the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup with an unassailable 3-0 lead.

The Argentine pair beat Tommy Haas and Philipp Petzschner 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to clinch the first-round tie before Sunday’s reverse singles.

Argentina will play either Japan or Croatia in the quarterfinals. (MORE)

Czech Republic 3, Italy 0

The Czech Republic reached the Davis Cup quarterfinals after Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek won the doubles for a 3-0 lead over Italy on Saturday.

Berdych and Stepanek defeated Daniele Braccialli and Potito Starace 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the World Cup.

The Czech pair converted the first match point from Stepanek’s forehand volley.

In the first set, the Czechs took a 3-0 lead. Stepanek, who won his maiden Grand Slam title when he teamed with Leander Paes of India in the Australian Open doubles final, served it out.

In the second set, Braccialli dropped serve in the third game and Stepanek converted again with a service winner.

Croatia 2, Japan 1

Ivo Karlovic and Ivan Dodig beat Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 Saturday to give Croatia a 2-1 lead over Japan in their first-round Davis Cup World Group series.

Karlovic made the most of his powerful serve, combining with Dodig for 24 aces.

Japan is returning to the World Group for the first time in 26 years after beating India 4-1 in a regional playoff in September. Croatia is seventh in the Davis Cup rankings, 10 places ahead of Japan.

Dodig is scheduled to play Nishikori in Sunday’s reverse singles, while Karlovic will face Go Soeda.

Austria 2, Russia 1

Nikolay Davydenko and Mikhail Youzhny won the doubles against Austria from a break down in the decider to reduce Russia’s deficit to 2-1 in the first round of the Davis Cup on Saturday.

Davydenko and Youzhny, partners for the first time in Davis Cup, defeated Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya 7-6 (1), 6-7 (7), 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 in 4 hours, 45 minutes.

Jurgen Melzer and Andreas Haider-Maurer won both singles for Austria on Friday. The reverse singles are on Sunday.

Russia has managed to win from 2-0 down only once, against Germany in 1995.

The winner will play Spain in the quarterfinals. The defending champions took a decisive 3-0 lead against Kazakhstan.