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Tennis: Argentina, Serbia poised to strike at Davis Cup

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Argentina lead France 2-1 in their Davis Cup World Group quarter-final tie after David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos came from behind to win Saturday's doubles.

French duo Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra took the first set but Nalbandian and Zeballos fought back to clinch the match 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 6-3 to give the hosts the upper hand ahead of Sunday's reverse singles.

The teams were all square after Argentine Juan Monaco had levelled the tie following Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's victory over Carlos Berlocq on Friday.

Monaco is set to face Tsonga in the opening singles on Sunday, with Berlocq up against Gilles Simon.

"Tomorrow the match remains very open. We've got the advantage, we've got to get just one point, while they need two. Both singles will be very competitive. We're leading, let's hope we can win," said Argentine captain Martin Jaite.

"Horacio and David were excellent. It was a lovely day with a really important victory. We've got a real Davis Cup team."

"We wanted to put our teammates in the best possible position for Sunday but we didn't succeed," said Benneteau.

Serbia took a major step towards trying to reach the semi-finals by outlasting host USA in a marathon five-set victory in Saturday's doubles of their Davis Cup tie.

Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic shocked the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/1), 5-7, 4-6, 15-13 to give Serbia a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five tie heading into a pair of Sunday's reverse singles matches.

World No. 1 and reigning Australian Open champ Novak Djokovic can send Serbia into the semis with a win Sunday over American Sam Querrey, who is ranked 20th in the world.

The 25-year-old Djokovic has captured two ATP Tour titles in 2013, winning 19 singles matches and losing just two. Earlier this year he claimed his sixth grand slam title by beating Andy Murray in the final of the Aussie Open.

Querrey has a 13-7 record this year with no titles and has lost five of six career meetings to Djokovic.

Djokovic beat Querrey in their most recent contest 6-0, 7-6 (8/6) last month in Indian Wells, California.

Serbia defeated the 32-time titlist Americans 3-2 in Belgrade in an opening-round tie three years ago in their lone previous Davis Cup encounter.

In a match that lasted four hours, 23 minutes Saturday, the Serb duo jumped out to a two set lead before the Bryan brothers battled back.

In the other reverse singles match Sunday, Viktor Troicki would take on American world No. 23 John Isner if necessary.

The winner of the US and Serbia quarter-final tie will meet the winner of the Canada and Italy tie which the Canucks lead 2-1 after a win in a similar Saturday doubles match that lasted four hours, 27 minutes and ended 15-13 in the deciding set.

The Canadians put themselves in position to move on when Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil outlasted Italy's Fabio Fognini and Daniele Bracciali 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 15-13 in another marathon doubles rubber.

Pospisil served out the win as the hometown crowd in Vancouver, British Columbia erupted.

On Sunday, Canada can close out the tie when rising star Milos Raonic faces Andreas Seppi in a battle of world top-20 players. The fifth and deciding rubber, if necessary, has Pospisil scheduled to play Fognini.

Kazakhstan kept alive its hopes of a place in the semis for the first time as Andrey Golubev and Yuriy Schukin beat Czech Republic's Jan Hajek and Radek Stepanek to cut the deficit to 2-1.

After winning both rubbers on the opening day, the defending champions allowed the Kazakhs to hit back Saturday and they ended up losing 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 21 minutes in Atana.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130407/tennis-argentina-serbia-poised-strike-at-davis-cup