It is the first year that the Davis Cup has been in a Finals format,
which sees all matches played over a week-long event at a single venue.
That has led to scheduling issues though, which came to a head when a
doubles match between Italy and the USA - a virtual dead rubber given
both teams had already been eliminated - finished at 4.04am.
It was the second latest finish in all of tennis after the clash
between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis at the Australian Open in
The match did not start until after 8pm because of a long first tie
of the day on court two between Argentina and Germany and all three
rubbers then went to deciding sets.
Friday's contests will begin at 10.30am local time instead of 11am,
but organisers know they will need to find a better solution for next
year when this year’s teething troubles will not be tolerated.
After guiding Serbia into the quarter-finals, Novak Djokovic said: "I
think it was always going to happen, knowing that you have 18 teams and
you're trying to squeeze everything in in one week on three courts."
Neither of those issues will be easily addressed. Organisers have
committed to holding the competition in Madrid again next year but the
Caja Magica does not have the capacity for more courts while there is no
appetite for extending the length of the event.
Djokovic suggested only having eight teams in the finals week -
something that organisers would resist given the concept of the 'World
Cup of Tennis' - while Jamie Murray offered the idea of playing the
event across two venues.
Scheduling has emerged as the biggest negative at the new-look event,
but on the court organisers will be delighted with the tennis on show
and a strong quarter-final line-up.
Serbia have eased through, following up victory over Japan with a 2-1 success against France that eliminated the top seeds.
Filip Krajinovic produced a fine display to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
7-5 7-6 (5) before Djokovic claimed a comfortable 6-3 6-3 victory over
Benoit Paire, who was preferred to Gael Monfils.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the doubles against Janko
Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki but France's hopes of qualification were
"This is the most ideal scenario for us," said Djokovic. "Winning
both ties after singles and not being really pressured by the doubles.
"So we're coming into the quarters now and playing against Russia
tomorrow. That's definitely one of the best quality teams here. It's
going to be a big challenge."
Russia were one of the two best-placed runners-up along with Argentina, who will take on hosts Spain.
Spain will be without their number two singles player, Roberto
Bautista Agut, who left the competition to return home on Thursday after
his father was taken seriously ill.
The last quarter-finals pits Germany against Great Britain after both teams won deciding doubles rubbers.
Germany only needed to win one rubber against Chile to guarantee
finishing top of their group and secured that at the first opportunity
when Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4 6-3.
Cristian Garin won Chile's first match of the competition, saving
match points in a close contest with Jan-Lennard Struff, but French Open
champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies proved too strong in the
Andy Murray had a watching brief for Britain against Kazakhstan but Leon Smith's team prevailed without him.
- TeamTalk Media