Uzbekistan peg Indians back

Uzbekistan peg Indians back

India got off to the worst possible start in their Asia-Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie, losing both the singles matches against Uzbekistan to be down 0-2 here on Friday.

Rookies Sanam Singh, 24, and the 20-year-old Yuki Bhambri lost their singles matches in straight sets to Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov respectively.

To stay alive in the tie, India will have to depend on their doubles pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna to pull one back on Saturday.

Istomin defeated debutant Sanam Singh 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to give his country a 1-0 lead. In the second singles, world No 262 Dustov beat Bhambri 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

Spain cruise

Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer comprehensively outplayed Juergen Melzer and Andreas Haider-Maurer in the opening singles as holders Spain raced into a 2-0 lead at home to underdogs Austria in their World Group quarterfinal on Friday.

As the four World Group ties got under way, including France against the United States, Czech Republic against Serbia and Argentina against Croatia, Almagro thumped Melzer 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 and Ferrer thrashed Haider-Maurer 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to put the hosts in command on the clay in a blustery Marina d'Or on the Spanish coast.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, leading the French charge against the Americans in Monte Carlo, put the 2010 finalists 1-0 ahead when he dispatched teenager Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, while Tomas Berdych secured the advantage for the Czechs with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 success against Serbia's Viktor Troicki in Prague.

Clay kings Spain, who have won their last 22 home Davis Cup ties and are bidding for a fourth title in five years, appear to have far too much quality for Austria despite the absence of world number two Rafael Nadal.

The French Open champion has opted not to play in the competition in an Olympic year, citing the packed calendar, and is also carrying a knee injury aggravated last week in Miami.

Almagro and Ferrer ensured he probably will not be missed too much as they put Spain on the verge of a September semifinal against France or United States. “That was possibly my best match in Davis Cup,” Almagro said in an interview with Spanish television.

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