Djokovic survives Davis Cup scare, champions Argentina slump

Serb tennis star overcomes injury to take 2-0 lead over Russia


Afp February 04, 2017
Djokovic returns the ball to Medvedev at Cair sports hall in Nis, on February 3, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: Novak Djokovic survived an injury scare and battled back from a set and a break down to help Serbia take a 2-0 lead over Russia in the Davis Cup World Group tie on Friday.

Twelve-time major winner Djokovic, just one of two of the world’s top 15 playing in the first round this weekend, dropped the first set and was 0-3 down in the second against promising 20-year-old Daniil Medvedev in Nis.

Djokovic, looking to rebuild his confidence after a shock second round exit at the Australian Open, needed first-set treatment on his right shoulder before recovering for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 lead.

Medvedev dropped the opening game of the fourth set and then retired with cramps.

Djokovic knocked out of Australian Open

Earlier, world number 37 Viktor Troicki had given 2010 champions Serbia a winning start, downing 52nd-ranked Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8/6) in a 4hr 30min marathon.

“The pain I had prevented me from playing the points as I wanted to,” said Djokovic. “But it’s a good victory and we are in a very good position.”

The winners of the tie will face either five-time champions Spain or Croatia in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Argentina endured a traumatic start to their title defence when they slumped 2-0 down to Italy despite the fervent support of Diego Maradona.

Djokovic deflects Becker’s work-rate criticism

Playing without Juan Martin del Potro and Federico Delbonis, the stars of their 2016 final victory over Croatia, the South Americans were outclassed at the Parque Sarmiento in Buenos Aires.

A crowd of 2,000, including football icon Maradona, failed to inspire Guido Pella who lost to veteran Paolo Lorenzi, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi, a late call-up for the ill Fabio Fognini, then made it 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (8/6) win over Carlos Berlocq who was celebrating his 34th birthday.

The winners of the tie will next face either Germany or Belgium, who are 1-1 in Frankfurt.

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