(Reuters) – The United States surged to an unbeatable 3-0 lead to eliminate 2010 champions Serbia in the first round of the Davis Cup on Saturday.
Joining Serbia at the exit were 2014 winners Switzerland, who were also overwhelmed 3-0 by Kazakhstan after failing to mount much of a challenge in the absence of 20-times grand slam champion Roger Federer.
Holding a 2-0 lead after Friday’s singles, Americans Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson came from a set down to beat Nikola Milojevic and Miljan Zekic 6-7(3) 6-2 7-5 6-4 in front of a partisan Serbian crowd.
“We are thrilled to be in the quarter-finals and most likely a home tie,” U.S. captain Jim Courier, whose side will take on Belgium or Hungury, told reporters.
“That would be nice, it would give these guys a chance to play back in the U.S. as we have played the last two on the road, so we are looking forward to that opportunity.”
Holders France need one more victory on Sunday to progress to the quarter-finals after Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut earned them a 2-1 lead over the Netherlands following a 7-6(6) 6-3 6-7(3) 7-6(2) victory over Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer in almost 3-1/2 hours in Albertville.
Belgium, finalists last year, slipped up against Hungary after winning both of Friday’s singles matches. Attila Balazs and Marton Fucsovics kept Hungary’s chances alive with a 6-3 6-4 6-7(2) 4-6 7-5 win over Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore in Liege.
Croatia mounted a superb comeback in their tie against Canada, with world number three Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodlig roaring back from two sets down to eke out a 2-6 3-6 6-4 7-5 6-2 win over Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil for a 2-1 lead.
The Spanish pairing of Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta comfortably beat Britain’s Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot 6-4 6-4 7-6(4) to give them a 2-1 lead.
Italy grabbed a 2-1 advantage over Japan, while Germany also stood one win away from a last eight place after beating Australia in the doubles.
Kazakhstan became the first team to reach the quarter-finals after Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov secured a 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7(5) 6-3 win over Marc-Andrea Huesler and Luca Margaroli.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor in Stockholm, editing by Pritha Sarkar)