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France, Serbia Reach Quarter-finals; Austria Wins Doubles To Stay Alive

World Group First Round

Zimonjic, Troicki© AFP/Getty ImagesNenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki scored a clinching doubles win for Serbia.

ATPWorldTour.com reviews Saturday's play in the Davis Cup World Group first-round ties.

BELGIUM 0, SERBIA 3
Clay - Indoor; Spiroudome de Charleroi, Charleroi, Belgium
Serbia reached the Davis Cup quarter-finals after victory for Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic in Saturday’s doubles gave the 2010 champion a 3-0 lead over Belgium in Charleroi. Twenty-four hours after his five-set heroics in the first singles rubber, Troicki teamed with Zimonjic for a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Ruben Bemelmans and Steve Darcis in just under three hours. The Serbians hit 91 winners to 29 unforced errors. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic had supplied the second point for Serbia with a straight-sets win over Olivier Rochus in Friday’s second match. Serbia goes onto face either the United States of America or Brazil.

"I thought we were in control the whole match," said Troicki. "We were deciding the points and I think we both played great today. It's a great feeling to win after the second day. I couldn't be happier."

"We're definitely a good combination, doesn't matter what surface we play on," said Zimonjic on his partnership with Troicki. "Viktor made an unbelievable effort yesterday to come back and then to play doubles today the way he did; it's really remarkable. Hopefully we can take the confidence from this tie into the next match."

FRANCE 3, ISRAEL 0
Hard - Indoor; Kindarena, Rouen, France
Nine-time Davis Cup champion France advanced to the quarter-finals on Saturday, gaining an unassailable 3-0 lead over Israel with a 7-6(3), 6-1, 6-0 victory for Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra over Jonathan Erlich and Dudi Sela. The French duo fired 13 aces and lost only 17 points in the final two sets as they clinched victory in one hour and 46 minutes. 

"It was a nice match," said Llodra. "We had a couple of chances at the beginning of the first set and after that it was equal until the end of the set. Afterwards, it was easier for us. We played unbelievable in the last two sets. It was a nice atmosphere today on the court and we are very proud to win this match."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet had given the host nation a 2-0 lead after Friday’s singles. France improved to a perfect 4-0 record against Israel in Arnaud Clement’s first tie as captain. In the quarter-finals, France will play Argentina.

ITALY 2, CROATIA 1
Clay - Indoor; Palavela, Turin, Italy
Italy moved ahead 2-1 in its first-round Davis Cup tie with Croatia after Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini defeated Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(11) in Saturday’s doubles rubber. The Italians converted five of their 11 break points and withstood 15 aces from the Croatians for victory in three hours and 25 minutes. Cilic had given the visiting nation a 1-0 lead with a five-set win over Paolo Lorenzi on Friday before Andreas Seppi levelled the tie with victory over Dodig. Italy, the Davis Cup champion in 1976, is bidding to win a first-round tie in the World Group for the first time since 1998. Seppi could clinch the tie for Italy if he beats Cilic in the first of Sunday’s reverse singles.

KAZAKHSTAN 2, AUSTRIA 1
Clay - Indoor; National Tennis Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan
Austria kept its hopes alive in a first-round Davis Cup tie with Kazakhstan on Saturday as Julian Knowle and Alexander Peya won the doubles rubber with a 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over Andrey Golubev and Yuri Schukin. Peya said, “They played really well today. They are not typical doubles players. They stayed at the baseline a lot, but they hit heavy balls. Their serve was great but we didn’t do much wrong. We were consistent over the three sets and I think we deserved to win.”

The host nation had taken a commanding 2-0 lead with victories for Golubev and Evgeny Korolev in Friday’s singles. Kazakhstan is playing in the World Group for the third straight year and is bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the second time, having beaten Czech Republic in the first round two years ago. Austrian No. 1 Jurgen Melzer will hope to force the tie into a deciding fifth rubber when he takes on Golubev in the first of Sunday’s reverse singles.

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