Paris: Serbia and France set up a Davis Cup semi-final showdown Saturday while 32-time winners Italy, who stunned defending champions Argentina in the first round, stayed alive with a marathon win.
In Belgrade, Serbia's Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic defeated Pablo Carreno-Busta and Marc Lopez 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 to seal victory over Spain while, in Rouen, France also took an unassailable 3-0 lead against Great Britain.
France, the nine-time champions, will host 2010 winners Serbia in the semi-finals in September.
Novak Djokovic and Troicki had won Friday's singles to give Serbia a 2-0 lead over Spain before the hosts took an unassailable advantage on Saturday against the five-time champions who were missing 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.
Victory gave 40-year-old playing-captain Zimonjic, who has not missed a Davis Cup tie for a decade, a 30th win in the tournament.
"He had pressure, he put himself into play and did a great job," said Troicki who along with Djokovic and Zimonjic played in the Serbia team which defeated France in the 2010 final.
France reached their fifth semi-final in eight years when Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau defeated Britain's Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot 7-6 (7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-5.
The win in the doubles followed Lucas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy taking the opening singles on Friday as Britain suffered in the injury-enforced absence of world number one Andy Murray.
Mahut and Benneteau, both 35, have played more than 200 matches together in their careers.
That experience proved crucial for a home side who went into the quarter-final without their leading singles players, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet.
'Damn sight better'
"We had a great weekend, it gave me goosebumps," said France captain Yannick Noah.
Britain team captain Leon Smith defended his team who were champions in 2015 when Murray starred.
"Of course, we lack depth, that's pretty bloody obvious," said Smith. "But it's a damn sight better than it used to be.
"France are a very good team. We knew it would be a difficult tie, that's the nature of the tournament. But we have retained our World Group status and that has to be a positive."
In Brisbane, Nick Kyrgios beat late substitute Sam Querrey of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4 in the first reverse singles match on Sunday, clinching the quarterfinal 3-1 with a match to spare. Australia advanced to the Davis Cup semi-finals, where they will play either Belgium or Italy.
In Charleroi, Italy's Andreas Seppi and Simone Bolelli saved a match point to see off Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6).
Belgium, the runners-up in 2015, had taken a 2-0 lead on Friday when Steve Darcis and David Goffin claimed the opening singles.
"It's tough but these kind of intense matches are the charm of the Davis Cup," said Belgium captain Johan Van Hercke.
In Sunday's reverse singles, Goffin will face Paolo Lorenzi while Darcis takes on Seppi.
Published Date: Apr 09, 2017 16:34 PM | Updated Date: Apr 09, 2017 16:34 PM