Ferrer knots it up for Spain; Serbia take handy lead

Ferrer knots it up for Spain; Serbia take handy lead


Pumped up:  Serbian Viktor Troicki celebrates after scoring a four-set win over American John Isner in their Davis Cup World group tie in Belgrade on Friday. Reuters

Seven of the eight World Group matches were under way around Europe, with the start of Chile's tie at home to Israel delayed to Saturday because of the disruption caused by last weekend's deadly earthquake.

World number two Novak Djokovic fired Serbia to a 2-0 lead over the United States in Belgrade with a 6-2, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Sam Querrey, after compatriot Viktor Troicki's hard-fought win over John Isner, also in four sets.

Stanislas Wawrinka, leading the Swiss in the absence of world number one Roger Federer, drew first blood at the Plaza de Toros de Ribera bullring when he twice battled back from a set down to beat Nicolas Almagro 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Backed by the noisy, red and yellow-clad home support, Ferrer then fought off stiff resistance from the powerful, 56th-ranked Chiudinelli in the second set on the clay before completing a 6-2, 7-6, 6-1 victory.

"It was a very hard match," Ferrer told a news conference. "The result suggests it was easier than it actually was but in the second set above all it was very difficult."

Finely balanced
Ferrer, ranked 16th in the world, is the only survivor from last year's Cup-winning team, with Rafael Nadal (3) and Fernando Verdasco (12) injured and Feliciano Lopez not selected. Juan Carlos Ferrero (14) withdrew with wrist and knee problems.

The three-day, best-of-five tie is finely balanced ahead of Saturday's doubles, when home pair Tommy Robredo and Marcel Granollers play Wawrinka, who won the Olympic doubles gold in Beijing with Federer, and Yves Allegro.

The Swiss are bidding to become the first team to beat the Spanish in 19 home ties stretching back to a defeat by Brazil in 1999. Spain also won the title in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

In Toulon, France lead Germany 2-0. Gael Monfils earned his first Davis Cup point when he fought past the tenacious Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 before Jo Wilfried Tsonga took four sets to beat Benjamin Becker.

Sweden's Robin Soderling beat Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 7-6, 7-5 in the opening singles in Stockholm to put the hosts ahead against Argentina before Leonardo Mayer levelled by recovering from a set down to beat Joachim Johansson in four.

Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic gave Croatia a 2-0 advantage over Ecuador in Varazdin, beating Lapentti brothers Nicolas and Giovanni in five and three sets respectively.

Results: At Toulon: France lead 8-Germany 2-0 ( Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3; Gael Monfils bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

At Logrono: 1-Spain level Switzerland 1-1 (David Ferrer bt Marco Chiudinelli 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1; Nicolas Almagro lt to Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 3-6).

At Varazdin: 6-Croatia lead Ecuador 2-0 (Marin Cilic bt Giovanni Lapentti 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; Ivo Karlovic bt Nicolas Lapentti 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-4).

At Stockholm: Sweden level 5-Argentina 1-1 (Joachim Johansson lt to Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 4-6; Robin Soderling bt Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 7-6 (7-0), 7-5).

At Belgrade: Serbia lead 3-US 2-0 (Novak Djokovic bt Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-3; Viktor Troicki bt John Isner 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4).

At Bree: 2-Czech Republic lead Belgium 2-0 (Radek Stepanek bt Xavier Malisse 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3); Tomas Berdych bt Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-0, 6-4).

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