Holders Serbia keep Davis Cup semifinal hopes alive with doubles win
Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki beat Juan Monaco and Juan Ignacio Chela
Argentina lead 2-1 but Novak Djokovic set to return for reverse singles
France win doubles to cut Spain's lead to 2-1 in other semifinal clash
Davis Cup holders Serbia kept alive their hopes of retaining the title by winning Saturday’s pivotal doubles rubber in their semifinal against Argentina in Belgrade.
Trailing 2-0 after the opening singles, victory was essential and Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki duly obliged as they beat Juan Monaco and Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-2 before a partisan crowd.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic, who sat out the opening singles through injury and exhaustion after his U.S. Open triumph, is set to return for Serbia Sunday to take on Juan Martin Del Potro with Janko Tipsarevic playing David Nalbandian in the final rubber of the tie.
Djokovic’s participation would have been academic but for Zimonjic and Troicki’s fine play, with the first set tiebreaker crucial.
The Argentina pair pulled 4-1 up in the second set before the losing the next five games to trail 2-0.
The third set was one-way traffic and victory was wrapped up after just over two hours.
“It was a difficult match, we had unbelievable support from the crowd and we are in good position now because I like our chances if Novak plays tomorrow,” Zimonjic told the official Davis Cup website.
In the other semifinal, France also cut their deficit on Spain by claiming doubles victory as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra thrashed Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez 6-1 6-2 6-0 at the Plaza de Toros de los Califas.
The victory salvaged pride for France after being humbled 2-0 in the opening singles matches as Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer secured straight sets wins over Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon.
Tsonga is set to be drafted in to play the opening reverse singles against World No.2 Nadal, but Spain remain heavy favorites to reach the final playing at home on their favored clay.
“We still have to beat the best player in the world on clay in the last six years at home,” admitted French captain Guy Forget.