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Rediff.com  » Sports » Djokovic inspires Serbia, Argentina shock Russia

Djokovic inspires Serbia, Argentina shock Russia

July 12, 2010 00:57 IST

Serbia reached the Davis Cup semi-finals for the first time when they completed a 4-1 victory over Croatia in Split Sunday.

World number two Novak Djokovic silenced a partisan crowd with a straight-sets win over Marin Cilic to give Serbia an unassailable 3-1 lead and set up a home tie against the Czech Republic, who dispatched Chile 4-1.

Argentina also reached the semi-finals thanks to a magnificent performance from David Nalbandian in a fifth-rubber decider against Russia in Moscow.

The south Americans will play France who completed a crushing 5-0 win over holders Spain.

Djokovic crushed an error-prone Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 to spare Serbia a nervous afternoon on the Croatian coast.

"Personally, I had a lot of responsibility with the package that I carried on my back before this tie but right now I feel so relieved that we won," Djokovic, who collapsed on to his back after clinching victory, told the Davis Cup website.

"We won in one of the toughest atmospheres against a team that has a lot of success in this competition."

Nalbandian, who had hardly picked up a racket in the past three months because of injury, was Argentina's hero as he beat Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets.

"I played great, much better than Friday," Nalbandian, who outclassed Nikolay Davydenko two days ago, said.

"I said I had to keep improving my game, and that is what I did today. We won so I'm so happy to be in the semi-finals again."

Youzhny had not lost a home Davis Cup singles rubber for five years but was no match for Nalbandian who looked back to his best in a 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Davydenko had taken the match into a deciding rubber when he beat Eduardo Schwank in four sets.

Argentina captain Tito Vazquez said it was unlikely that Juan Martin del Potro would be fit for the semi-final after missing most of the year with a wrist injury.

"I think it will be hard as he still needs another two months to recover from his injuries," Vazquez said.

"I don't know if he will play at the US Open, and if he doesn't play there, then realistically it will be tough for him to play in the Davis Cup a week later."

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