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Serbia to play their 1st Davis Cup semi-final


BBC Sport - Tennis

Serbia reach first Davis Cup semi

Serbia reached their first Davis Cup semi-final as Novak Djokovic beat Marin Cilic to give them victory over fierce rivals Croatia.

His 6-3 6-3 6-2 win made it 3-1 to set up a semi against the Czech Republic.

Argentina will face France in the final four after clinching a 3-2 win over Russia in a tense tie in Moscow.

Russia's Nikolay Davydenko beat Eduardo Schwank 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-4 to make it 2-2, but David Nalbandian won the decider, beating Mikhail Youzhny in three sets.

His 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-3 victory ended Russia's 17-tie unbeaten home run in the Davis Cup stretching back to 1996.

Nalbandian, who missed much of last season through injury and has been sidelined since April with a hamstring problem, said: "I'm happy with my playing here but I'm not surprised at all, even though I had no official match practice since April.

"I know the level of my playing and I did my best to prepare for these matches."

Despite his win over Schwank, Davydenko was not satisfied with his performances during the tie.

"Though I won today, I'm disappointed with my play this weekend," said Davydenko.

"I was playing much better and with more confidence in my previous Davis Cup matches. I was even thinking of withdrawing today."

In Split, Serbia later made it 4-1 against Croatia as Janko Tipsarevic took the fifth rubber 6-2 7-6 (7-5) against Antonio Veic.

Djokovic said: "This is probably the sweetest victory in my career because this is not just an individual win, but a victory for my country.

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

In Clermont-Ferrand, France wrapped up a 5-0 whitewash win over defending champions Spain, having sealed victory in the tie on Saturday.

Gilles Simon made it 4-0 by beating Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7-4) 7-6, and Julien Benneteau beat Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to complete the rout.

The Czech Republic booked their semi-final berth on Saturday by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in Coquimbo against hosts Chile.

Jorge Aguilar pulled it back to 3-1 on Sunday, taking the first dead rubber with a 6-1 7-6 (8-6) win over Lukas Dlouhy.

But Ivo Minar beat Cristobal Saavedra 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to give the Czechs a 4-1 winning margin.

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