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Ruthless Rafa Gives Spain 2-0 Lead; Murray Leads Britain's Bid

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray won the first singles rubber in Great Britain's bid to win Davis Cup World Group play-off tie in Croatia. provides a round-up of the eight Davis Cup World Group play-off ties on Friday.

Venue: Caja Magica, Madrid, ESP (clay – outdoor)

Rafael Nadal, who is attempting to become year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for a third time, was in ruthless mood. Four days after lifting his 13th major at the US Open, the Spaniard defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine 6-0, 6-0, 6-4. Nadal swept through the first two sets in 58 minutes.  Earlier in the day, Fernando Verdasco gave the five-time champion an early advantage with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Venue: Stadion Stella Maris, Umag, CRO (clay – outdoor)

World No. 3 Andy Murray overcame this year’s US Open junior titlist, 16-year-old Borna Coric 6-3, 6-0, 6-3, to give Great Britain a 1-0 lead over Croatia, before Ivan Dodig levelled the scoreline with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over Daniel Evans. Great Britain is attempting to reach the World Group for the first time since 2008.

Venue: Patinoire du Littoral, Neuchatel, SUI (hard – indoor)

World No. 10 Stanislas Wawrinka, the US Open semi-finalist, beat Emilio Gomez 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 to get Switzerland off to a strong start. The host nation is bidding to retain its place in the World Group for the 17th time in the past 20 years. Switzerland has a shot at winning its ninth successive World Group play-off after Marco Chiudinelli beat Julio-Cesar Campozano 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(7) in two hours and 40 minutes.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard – outdoor)

Kei Nishikori recorded his 10th singles win for Japan after a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Alejandro Falla, but Colombia responded to level the tie at 1-1 after Santiago Giraldo battled past Go Soeda 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 at the Ariake Coliseum. Nishikori will be attempting to retain the title at the venue of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in three weeks.

Venue: Ratiopharm Arena, Ulm/Neu Ulm, GER (hard – indoor)

World No. 25 Philipp Kohlschreiber secured the lead for Germany with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva. It was his first Davis Cup singles win since he beat Dodig in March 2011. Florian Mayer added to Kohlschreiber’s win with an 89-minute 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Thomaz Bellucci.

Venue: Torwar Hall, Warsaw, POL (clay – indoor)

Lleyton Hewitt recorded his 40th singles win on Davis Cup duty to give 28-time champion Australia, looking to return to the World Group for the first time since 2007, the lead. Hewitt beat Lukasz Kubot of Poland 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in just under two hours. Bernard Tomic won the second singles rubber for Australia, hitting 45 winners past Michal Przysiezny in a 7-5, 7-6(1), 6-4 victory.

Venue: Lotto Arena, Antwerp, BEL (clay – indoor)

Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram overcame Belgians Steve Darcis and Olivier Rochus 6-3, 5-7, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the doubles rubber. In a tie that started one day earlier, due to the Israeli holy day of Yom Kippur, Amir Weintraub starred for the visiting nation Thursday when he defeated Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 2-6, 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 6-4. Belgium’s Steve Darcis, who upset Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon first round and was returning from an injury lay-off, beat Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. 

Venue: Martini Plaza, Groningen, NED (clay – indoor)

The Netherlands has a great chance of qualifying for the World Group for the first time since 2009 after Robin Haase and Thiemo de Bakker recorded victories in the opening singles rubbers. Robin Haase notched his 20th rubber win after he hit 50 winners past Oliver Marach for a 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory. De Bakker struck 93 winners past Jurgen Melzer in a 5-7, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over three hours and 38 minutes.

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