Djokovic, Murray Win Dramatic Five-Setters To Set QF Clash
GREAT BRITAIN 3, JAPAN 1
Venue: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, GBR (hard - indoor)
The defending champions are moving on after Andy Murray once again provided the heroics with a thrilling five-set victory over Kei Nishikori on Sunday in Birmingham. Great Britain defeated Japan 3-1.
The World No. 2 held off sixth-ranked Nishikori 7-5, 7-6(6), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 in four hours and 54 minutes, firing 10 aces and converting on seven of 19 break opportunities. Murray prevailed despite committing 97 unforced errors. It was just the second meeting between Top 10 players in a Davis Cup first round since 2009. Last year, Nishikori ousted Milos Raonic in Vancouver.
The win was Murray's 10th straight in a Davis Cup singles match and 14th in a row overall. The Brits will next travel to Serbia for a quarter-final tie that could feature another blockbuster Top 10 clash between Murray and Djokovic.
POLAND 2, ARGENTINA 3
Venue: Ergo Arena, Gdansk, POL (hard - indoor)
Leonardo Mayer handed Argentina an unassailable 3-1 advantage in their first-round tie against Poland, rallying past Michal Przysiezny 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-3 in Sunday's reverse singles. The World No. 41 extended his Davis Cup win streak to 11 straight matches.
Poland was bidding to become the first nation to reach the quarter-finals in their World Group debut since 2011, but Argentina had other ideas, as Mayer fired 26 aces and turned aside both break points faced for the win after two hours and 33 minutes. The Argentines will look to return to the semis for the second straight year when the South American nation travels to Italy for their quarter-final tie.
In the fifth "dead" rubber, Poland's Hubert Hurkacz saved five match points to defeat Renzo Olivo 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4.
SERBIA 3, KAZAKHSTAN 2
Venue: Pionir Hall, Belgrade, SRB (hard - indoor)
Novak Djokovic brought Serbia back from the brink, leveling the tie at 2-2 after rallying past Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic fought through apparent injury to prevail despite hitting 94 unforced errors. Viktor Troicki would subsequently clinch the tie for the Serbs with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the decisive fifth rubber.
The World No. 1 extended his win streak in completed Davis Cup singles matches to 17 straight, improving to 3-1 in five-setters in the competition. His lone five-set defeat came 11 years ago to Olivier Rochus of Belgium.
"It's one of the toughest matches I've had," said Djokovic. "No doubt about it. My opponent played a terrific match. He was focused and determined. I didn't play at my top level.
"I found the necessary strength and with the support of the crowd it was phenomenal. All in all, in the clutch moments I was there. I was waiting for him to drop his level a little, which he did in the fourth. We both felt exhausted in the fifth set, but I managed to serve it out in a big way."
The match finished in just under five hours and featured 19 aces from Djokovic, who converted on seven of 16 break chances. He struck 19 backhand winners. Serbia, champion in 2010, will return to the quarter-finals for the second straight year.
ITALY 5, SWITZERLAND 0
Venue: Adriatic Arena, Pesaro, ITA (clay - indoor)
Italy completed a whitewash of Switzerland behind reverse singles wins for Marco Cecchinato and Paolo Lorenzi on Sunday. Cecchinato defeated Adrien Bossel 6-3, 7-5 and Lorenzi downed Antoine Bellier 6-3, 6-2. Italy will host Argentina in the quarter-finals.