Ruthless Djokovic helps ease Serbia through Davis Cup first round

Epic seven-hour encounter between Czech Republic and Switzerland smashes Davis Cup record for longest tie

PUBLISHED:

23:01 GMT, 2 February 2013

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UPDATED:

02:02 GMT, 3 February 2013

Davis Cup defending champions the Czech Republic
claimed a 2-1 lead over Switzerland after a seven-hour epic.

Tomas
Berdych and Lukas Rosol eventually overcame Stanislas Wawrinka and
Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 24-22 in a match featuring
250 winners, 51 aces and just six break points converted from a possible
38.

At seven hours and one minute it was
the longest Davis Cup match in history, surpassing the six hours and 22
minutes played by John McEnroe and Mats Wilander in 1982 before
tie-breakers had been introduced.
The United States surprisingly missed the chance to wrap up victory over
Brazil as Mike and Bob Bryan went down to Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo
in Florida.

Epic: Davis Cup

Epic: Davis Cup

Soares and Melo secured a 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win to trail 2-1 going into Sunday's reverse singles.

Last year's beaten finalists Spain
kept their hopes alive against Canada in Vancouver after Marcel
Granollers and Marc Lopez twice came from a set down to beat Daniel
Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-2.

Without the likes of Rafael Nadal and
David Ferrer, Spain slipped 2-0 down in the opening singles, but
Granollers and Lopez, who is ranked as the third best doubles player in
the world, dug deep to keep them in it.

Elsewhere, World No 1 Novak Djokovic needed to play just one match as Serbia completed a comprehensive victory over Belgium in their Davis Cup World Group first-round tie.

Novak Djokovic

Simply the best: Djokovic only needed to play one match in his country's tie against Belgium

Djokovic
had done his bit with victory over Olivier Rochus in yesterday's second
singles after Viktor Troicki had beaten David Goffin, and the
Australian Open champion could sit back and watch Saturday's doubles as
Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic saw off Ruben Bemelmans and Steve Darcis in
four sets.

That gave Serbia an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie in Charleroi, with Djokovic likely to sit out tomorrow's dead rubbers.

Novak Djokovic

Team player: Djokovic cheered on countryman Viktor Troicki

France also wrapped up an easy
triumph over Israel, with Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra thrashing
Jonathan Erlich and Dudi Sela in this afternoon's doubles.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet had beaten Amir Weintraub and Sela respectively in yesterday's singles.

Novak Djokovic

Great year: Djokovic has had a great start to 2013 after winning the Australian Open last week

Austria kept their hopes alive
against Kazakhstan with a doubles victory for Julian Knowle and
Alexander Peya, who defeated Andrey Golubev and Yuriy Schukin 7-6 (7/5),
6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

Kazakhstan will take a 2-1 lead into tomorrow's singles in Astana.

Argentina also advanced to the quarter-finals after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead over Germany in Buenos Aires.

Following singles wins for Carlos Berlocq and Juan Monaco, David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos combined for a doubles victory over Christopher Kas and Tobias Kamke, winning 6-1, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

Italy will take a 2-1 lead into the final day of their tie with Croatia in Turin after Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini beat Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (13/11).