PARIS: Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta swept past Croatian journeyman Nikola Mektic in straight sets to clinch a 3-2 victory on Sunday (Feb 5) and set up a mouthwatering Davis Cup quarter-final clash with Novak Djokovic's Serbia.
|Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta returns the ball to Croatia's Nikola Mektic during the first round Davis Cup tennis match at Gradski vrt hall in Osijek. (STRINGER/AFP) |
Carreno Busta defeated world number 319 Mektic 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-4 in the deciding rubber in Osijek as five-time champions Spain rallied from a 2-1 overnight deficit to knock out last year's finalists.
Roberto Bautista Agut had earlier fought off a spirited challenge from Franko Skugor, winning 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) in the first reverse singles to level the contest.
"I'm very happy. Roberto was exceptional to get two points," said 26th-ranked Carreno Busta, who atoned for Friday's shock loss to world number 223 Skugor in the opening singles rubber.
"I have had some beautiful experiences this weekend and hope for more of the same in the future."
Rafael Nadal sat out this weekend's tie after reaching the final of last month's Australian Open, but the 14-time Grand Slam champion could well return for a showdown with former world number one Djokovic in April.
Serbia swept to a 4-1 victory over Russia in Nis as Dusan Lajovic beat Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a truncated fourth rubber before the hosts conceded the final match.
Vasek Pospisil forced a decider between Canada and 2015 champions Great Britain in Ottawa after downing Dan Evans 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5).
Britain's Kyle Edmund, beaten by Pospisil on Friday, will take on 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov with a place in the last eight against France awaiting the winner.
Heavy rain in Buenos Aires interrupted Sunday's clash between Argentina's Carlos Berlocq and Paolo Lorenzo of Italy for a second time, with the former leading 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 1-4 in the fourth set.
Holders Argentina were trailing 2-1 overnight and are without Juan Martin del Potro and Federico Delbonis, the men who won the reverse singles to beat Croatia in last year's final.
DARCIS LEADS BELGIUM
In Frankfurt, Steve Darcis knocked off German teenager Alexander Zverev in four sets to send Belgium into the quarter-finals and a potential showdown with the reigning champions.
Darcis, who famously dumped Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon in 2013, dropped the first set to 19-year-old Zverev before rallying for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (10/8) win to hand Belgium an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The Belgians, who were playing without world number 11 David Goffin, then completed the job with Rubel Bemelmans brushing aside Mischa Zverev 7-5, 6-1.
The United States, the 32-time champions, recorded a whitewash over Switzerland in Birmingham, Alabama, as Sam Querrey saw off Adrien Bossel 6-3 7-5 before Steve Johnson eased past Antoine Bellier 6-4, 6-3.
Australia, the 28-time champions, rounded out a 4-1 win over the Czech Republic after Jordan Thompson earned his second point of the weekend with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over Jan Satral.
Jiri Vesely had earlier prevented the Australians from completing a clean sweep after defeating Sam Groth 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in Melbourne.
France wrapped up a 4-1 first-round victory over Japan in Tokyo.
The nine-time winners entered the final day with an insurmountable 3-0 advantage.
Doubles specialist Nicolas Mahut took the first set off Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1 on Sunday before a wrist injury ended the Japanese player's hopes of a comeback.
However, Yasutaka Uchiyama earned the hosts a consolation point with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the other half of the world's top-ranked doubles pair.