Serbia eye Spain's title

2012-02-13 12:31

Paris - Serbia shrugged off the absence of Novak Djokovic to reach the Davis Cup last eight on Sunday with the 2010 champions confidently setting their sights on dethroning Spain in November's final.

Janko Tipsarevic secured an unassailable 3-1 lead over Sweden in the World Group first round tie in Nis with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Michael Ryderstedt.

Victory gave Serbia a quarter-final tie in April against the Czech Republic, but captain Bogdan Obradovic believes that with world number one Djokovic back in the side for that clash, his country can start dreaming of a second title.

"It's never easy to play matches in which you are the odds-on favourite but the players dealt with the pressure really well against Sweden," Obradovic told

"With a bit of luck, we will reach this year’s final and hopefully take on Spain because we are confident that we can beat them on home soil."

Tipsarevic had beaten Filip Prpic in straight sets in Friday’s opening rubber and had then played doubles on Saturday when Sweden had clawed their way back into the tie.

But despite those efforts, he had no problem in disposing of Ryderstedt.

"I want to thank my team for standing by me through the thick and thin and this is also the best home crowd we have ever played for," said Tipsarevic.

"I hope some of these fans will be ale to make the trip with us to the Czech Republic because it will be a very open match."

The United States, the 32-time champions, completed a 5-0 whitewash over Switzerland in Fribourg.

Ryan Harrison beat Michael Lammer 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/4) and John Isner, who condemned Roger Federer to his first defeat in the tournament in nine years on Friday, saw off Marco Chiudinelli 6-3, 6-4.

The US will travel to France in the last eight. The French took an unbeatable 3-1 edge over host Canada on Sunday when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Canadian injury substitute Frank Dancevic 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.

Austria made the quarter-finals - where they will tackle Spain - for the first time in 17 years with a 3-2 win over two-time champions Russia in Wiener Neustadt.

Jurgen Melzer secured the vital point, beating debutant Alex Bogomolov 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

"I think it was one-way traffic," said Melzer.

"Giving Austria the chance to play a quarter-final against Spain, that was our goal."

Spain, playing without Rafael Nadal, who is skipping the tournament this year, had already made sure of their sixth successive appearance in the quarter-finals by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead on Saturday against Kazakhstan in Oviedo.

On Sunday, they completed a 5-0 rout with singles wins for Nicolas Almagro and Marcel Granollers.

The Czech Republic wrapped up a 4-1 win over Italy in Ostrava while last year's runners-up Argentina were also 4-1 winners over Germany in Bamberg.

Argentina will have a home tie against Croatia, who beat Japan 3-2.

Ivo Karlovic pulled off his third win of the week to beat Go Soeda and give Croatia victory in Hyogo.

Croatia's number three, who defeated Japanese number one Kei Nishikori on the first day, notched a 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-4 victory in the last of the best-of-five contest.

Earlier in the day, Australian Open quarter-finalist Nishikori evened the tie 2-2 beating Ivan Dodig 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.