Serbia d. Russia 3-0
at Serbia, indoor hardcourt
Novak Djokovic came from a set down to beat Daniil Medvedev, but Serb Viktor Troicki was the hero of the weekend. Trociki outlasted Karen Khachanov in a fifth-set tiebreak in the opening singles, then clinched in the doubles with former doubles No. 1 and team captain Nenad Zimonjic over Russians Konstantin Kravchuk and Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-4.
In the April quarterfinals they will host Spain.
Spain d. Croatia 3-2
At Croatia, indoor hardcourt
After losing his opening singles in five sets, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta became the Sunday hero by winning the fifth and final match, defeating Croatia’s No. 319-ranked Nikola Mektic in straight sets.
On Day 1 Carreno Busta lost to No. 223-ranked Franko Skugor, and Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut evened the tie at 1-1 by beating Ante Pavic of Croatia in straights. In the Saturday doubles Croatia’s unheralded Marin Draganja and Mektic upset Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez in five sets to put the Croats up 2-1 and set up the Sunday showdown. Bautista Agut defeated Skugor in four sets to set up the finale, where Carreno Busta redeemed himself to send the Spanish into the next round at Serbia.
U.S. d. Switzerland 3-0
At U.S., indoor hardcourt
Without Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka, Team Switzerland was steamrolled on Friday and Saturday in Birmingham, Ala. Jack Sock beat Marco Chiudinelli in straights, John Isner rebounded from a first set loss to defeat Henri Laaksonen in four, and Sock and Steve Johnson sewed it up by beating Adrien Bossel and Laaksonen in straights in the Saturday doubles.
The U.S. will travel to play Australia for the second straight year in the next round.
Australia d. Czech Republic 3-0
At Australia, outdoor hardcourt
Without any Top 50 players at their disposal the Czechs were target practice for the Aussies, who were fronted by rising star Nick Kyrgios. Unheralded Jordan Thompson put the Aussies on the board first with a straight-set win over Jiri Vesely, and Kyrgios followed by beating No. 157-ranked Jan Satral in straights.
Sam Groth and John Peers mercifully ended the tie for the Czechs on Saturday, defeating Satral-Vesely in straights. The Australians will next host the U.S. in April.
France d. Japan 3-0
At Japan, indoor hardcourt
France’s legendary depth, and Japan’s legendary lack thereof, proved the tale of this tie. On opening day Richard Gasquet eased past Taro Daniel in straights, and Gilles Simon likewise defeated Yoshihito Nishioka. In the doubles Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut for the French beat Yuichi Sugita and Yasutaka Uchiyama in straights to see the French squad advance.
In the quarterfinals they will host Great Britain.
Great Britain d. Canada 3-2
At Canada, indoor hardcourts
A brutal ending to a hard-fought tie came when Canadian Denis Shapovalov was defaulted down two sets to love against Kyle Edmund after he hit a ball in anger that struck the chair umpire in the face.
The tie was even after Day 1 when Brit Daniel Evans beat Shapovalov in straights, and Canadian Vasek Pospisil defeated Edmund in straights. Britain jumped out to a 2-1 lead on Saturday when Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot defeated Daniel Nestor and Pospisil in four sets. On Sunday Pospisil closed out Evans in a fourth-set breaker, setting up the final showdown which saw the Canadians disqualified. The Brits will next travel to France in April.
Belgium d. Germany 3-1
At Germany, indoor hardcourt
Without their top player David Goffin, Belgium absolutely stole the tie in Frankfurt on the back of two singles wins from Steve Darcis and two unheralded doubles specialists.
Day 1 was tied 1-1 after Darcis upset Phlipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 in the fifth set, and German Alexander Zverev cruised past Arthur de Greef in straights. In the Saturday doubles the Zverev brothers, Alexander and the older Mischa, were stunned in five sets by Ruben Bemelmans and Joris de Loore. Darcis then clinched the tie for the visitors in the first match on Sunday, upsetting the younger Zverev in a fourth-set tiebreak after dropping the first set 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(8).
The Belgians advance to host Italy.
Italy d. Argentina 3-2
At Argentina, outdoor clay
In a tie postponed to Monday due to rain and a lack of daylight, Italy pulled a stunning comeback behind Fabio Fognini.
Italy looked to be making this a short one on Day 1 after they jumped to a 2-0 lead with Paolo Lorenzi straight-setting Guido Pella, and Andreas Seppi defeating Carlos Berlocq in a fourth-set breaker. But the Italians could not close it out in the Saturday doubles where Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer edged Simone Bolelli and Fognini in a fifth-set tiebreak.
Berlocq won the fourth rubber of the tie in five sets over Lorenzi, setting up the final showdown between Fognini and Pella. Fognini trailed two sets to love but stormed back to victory 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to beat the reigning Davis Cup champs.
“I am happy because I put everything I had, I played very badly at the beginning, I waited until the end to find my game, and now I feel great joy for this triumph,” Fognini said.
It is only the 10th time since 1972 that the defending champion team lost in the first round the following year and faces an exit from the World Group in the Playoffs round.
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