Davis Cup: Djokovic's Serbia reaches quarterfinals

Serbia took an unassailable 3-0 lead over Russia after Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki clinched the doubles rubber.

Novak Djokovic celebrates Serbia's victory over Russia.   -  AFP

Serbia reached the Davis Cup quarterfinals on Saturday to set up a possible mouthwatering clash between Grand Slam heavyweights Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for a semifinal spot.

Serbia, the 2010 champion, took an unassailable 3-0 lead over Russia in their World Group opener in Nis when 40-year-old Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki downed Andrey Kuznetsov and Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (5/7), 6-4.

On Friday, Troicki beat Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8/6) in the opening singles before Djokovic made it 2-0 when Daniil Medvedev retired with cramps in the fourth set allowing the 12-time major winner to claim a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 1-0 win.

Djokovic could face Nadal in the last eight in April should five-time champion Spain see off Croatia in Osijek in its season-opening tie which was locked at 1-1 overnight.

Nadal was sitting out the trip to Croatia after reaching the Australian Open final last weekend but would be certain to return to face a Djokovic-inspired Serbia.

Australia, the 28-time champion, completed a 3-0 drubbing of the Czech Republic in Melbourne when John Peers and Sam Groth breezed past Jiri Vesely and Jan Satral, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Australia, captained by Lleyton Hewitt, will now face either the United States or Switzerland in the quarterfinals on April 7-9.

The United States was 2-0 ahead of a Switzerland side missing Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka in Birmingham, Alabama, after Friday's singles.

World No. 20 Jack Sock got the United States off to a fast start, seeing off World No. 146 Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

John Isner, ranked 23rd, had to work a little harder for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1) victory over Henri Laaksonen, ranked 127th in the world.

"It would be a tough ask against the USA," admitted Hewitt of a potential clash with the record 32-time champion.

Nine-time champion France wrapped up a 3-0 victory against Japan after Wimbledon winners Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut brushed aside Yuichi Sugita and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

"We didn't play our greatest match but did what we had to do to win," said Mahut.

Japan, playing without World No. 5 Kei Nishikori, has yet to win a single set in three rubbers this weekend and will -- like all first-round losers -- now face a play-off later in the year to preserve its World Group status.

France will play either Canada of Britain for a place in the last eight.

It was locked 1-1 overnight in Ottawa after Dan Evans, his country's top player in the absence of World No. 1 Andy Murray, beat 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Vasek Pospisil pulled Canada -- missing World No. 4 Milos Raonic -- level with a 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) victory over Kyle Edmund.

Elsewhere on Saturday, defending champion Argentina was battling to stay in the tournament after slipping 2-0 down to Italy in Buenos Aires on Friday.

The winners of that tie will face either Germany or Belgium for a semifinal spot.

Belgium was 2-1 ahead in Frankfurt on Saturday after Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore sealed a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 win over brothers Alexander and Mischa Zverev.

The reverse singles in all eight World Group ties take place on Sunday.

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