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Nadal, Ferrer give Spain a 2-0 lead

WORLD No. 1 Rafael Nadal thrashed Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 to give champion Spain a commanding 2-0 lead over Serbia in their delayed Davis Cup World Group first-round tie yesterday.

David Ferrer had earlier upset Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4) to win the opening singles rubber, with the Serbian world No. 3 turning in an error-strewn display and complaining about his lack of practice time on clay.

The tie had been due to start on Friday in the hills above the Mediterranean town of Benidorm but was delayed after high winds damaged the seating at the purpose-built arena.

With the gusts having diminished to a gentle breeze and the sun shining, Nadal was brutal in his demolition of the 47th-ranked Tipsarevic and wrapped up the match in just over an hour and a half when the Serbian went long with an attempted lob.

Australian Open champion Nadal had been suffering from a knee injury and had not played a competitive match since losing last month's final in Rotterdam to Andy Murray.

The team captains, players and officials decided after Nadal's match to also fit in the doubles rubber yesterday. Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo, for the home team, were taking on Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki.

Against Ferrer, 2008 Australian Open champion Djokovic looked well short of the form that helped him to beat the Spaniard in the final of the Dubai championships last week.

Ferrer, ranked No. 12 and born just up the coast from Benidorm, took the third-set tie break 7-4 and sealed victory when he chased down a dropshot and sent a forehand winner down the line after just under three hours of play.

The winner of the tie will play either Germany or Austria in the quarterfinals. The neighbors were tied at 1-1 after the opening singles rubbers in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

On Friday, Argentina, Russia and Croatia swept their singles to be on the verge of reaching the Davis Cup quarterfinals.

Argentina led the Netherlands 2-0, as did Russia over Romania, and Croatia against Chile.

The Argentines, whose decade-long unbeaten run at home was ended by Spain in last year's final, were given a scare when Juan Ignacio Chela took nearly four hours to beat unheralded Jesse Huta Galung 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

Juan Monaco responded to the home side's shaky start by rubbing out Thiemo De Bakker 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (1).

In Sibiu, Romania, Marat Safin beat a spirited Victor Crivoi 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 and Mikhail Youzhny, picked ahead of Dmitry Tursunov, handled a disappointing Victor Hanescu 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 only two months after losing to Hanescu in Doha.

In Porec, Croatia, Mario Ancic beat former Olympic champion Nicolas Massu 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Marin Cilic earned his first Cup win at the expense of Paul Capdeville 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.


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