Djokovic inspires Serbia, Argentina shock Russia

London: Serbia reached the Davis Cup semi-finals for the first time when they completed a 4-1 victory over Croatia in Split on Sunday.

World number two Novak Djokovic silenced a partisan crowd with a straight-sets win over Marin Cilic to give Serbia an unassailable 3-1 lead and set up a home tie against the Czech Republic, who dispatched Chile 4-1.

Argentina also reached the semi-finals thanks to a magnificent performance from David Nalbandian in a fifth-rubber decider against Russia in Moscow.

The south Americans will play France who completed a crushing 5-0 win over holders Spain.

Djokovic crushed an error-prone Cilic 6-3 6-3 6-2 to spare Serbia a nervous afternoon on the Croatian coast.

"Personally, I had a lot of responsibility with the package that I carried on my back before this tie but right now I feel so relieved that we won," Djokovic, who collapsed on to his back after clinching victory, told the Davis Cup website.

"We won in one of the toughest atmospheres against a team that has a lot of success in this competition."

Nalbandian, who had hardly picked up a racket in the past three months because of injury, was Argentina`s hero as he beat Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets.

"I played great, much better than Friday," Nalbandian, who outclassed Nikolay Davydenko two days ago, said.

"I said I had to keep improving my game, and that is what I did today. We won so I`m so happy to be in the semi-finals again."

Youzhny had not lost a home Davis Cup singles rubber for five years but was no match for Nalbandian who looked back to his best in a 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Davydenko had taken the match into a deciding rubber when he beat Eduardo Schwank in four sets.

Argentina captain Tito Vazquez said it was unlikely that Juan Martin del Potro would be fit for the semi-final after missing most of the year with a wrist injury.

"I think it will be hard as he still needs another two months to recover from his injuries," Vazquez said.

"I don`t know if he will play at the U.S. Open, and if he doesn`t play there, then realistically it will be tough for him to play in the Davis Cup a week later."

Bureau Report


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