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Monday, Apr 27th

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Davis Cup

Argentina to clash with Spain in Davis Cup Final

Rafael Nadal quelled French hopes of a comeback as he destroyed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 4th rubber in three lopsided sets and ushered his team into the World Group finals, where they will face off against Argentina in a bid to claim their 5th Davis Cup. The South Americans on the other hand defeated the Serbians 3-2 in their semi-final tie at Belgrade. This will be their fourth appearance at the summit clash, and they  will be looking to go one step further this time by claiming the coveted trophy.

Despite the return of Novak Djokovic for the Serbian Davis Cup team, they could not prevent the loss of their World Group semifinal tie at the hands of the Argentinians. All of Serbia's hopes rested on the World No.1's shoulders, who was expected to defeat Juan Martin Del Potro and level the tie at two apiece and give Janko Tipsarevic a chance to win it for his country in the final rubber. Yet the US Open champion's browbeaten body could not take the added exertions of another 5 setter, and he withdrew from the rubber trailing 7-6(5), 3-0 due to a rib and lower back injury. Tipsarevic however, managed to pull off a consolation win for his country against Juan Monaco. He was leading 6-2, 0-0 when Monaco retired from the match.

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Japan down India 4-1 to advance to the Davis Cup World Group

Japan vs India has been a Davis Cup tie played out on 21 previous occasions with India overwhelmingly dominating the head-to-head record 18-3. With only 16 spots available in the World Group, Japan has had to endure a 26 year wait from mixing it with the world's best tennis players. That wait ended on Sunday, 18th September when world no.55 Kei Nishikori led his team into the 2012 World Group at the expense of an ordinary Indian outfit, beating debutant Vishnu Vardhan, ranked 401 places below the Japanese 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.

Standing in for the injured Somdev Devvarman, 24-year old Vardhan put in a creditable performance in the opening set, battling his way through his service games and unleashing a showcasing a forehand which had enormous power at its disposal. However, his resistance was ended in the 11th game when Nishikori breached his serve to go ahead 6-5 before serving out the set.

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Serbians win third rubber to keep Davis Cup hopes alive

With the retirement of World No.1 Novak Djokovic from the opening singles rubber of their Davis Cup World Group semi-final, Serbia had found themselves in a quandary, going 2-0 on Day 1 owing to the losses of Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic at the hands of David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro respectively. But the defending champions picked themselves up after the opening day debacle to win the doubles rubber as Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki defeated the Argentine pairing of Juan Ignacio Chela and Juan Monaco in straight sets 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-2.

The first set went on serve and found its way into a tie break with neither pair willing to concede an inch to the other; evident by the complete absence of break point opportunities. The Serbians raced to a 3-0 lead in the breaker, only to be pegged back to 3-2 to level proceedings. Yet at 5-4, a burst of aggression won them the next two points and took the Serbians past the finish line to take the set. It looked like the Argentinians were mounting a serious comeback as they broke Zimonjic's serve in the third game of the second set and went on take a 4-1 lead. But the Serbians rallied to win the next five games in a row and take the set 6-4.

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Tsonga-Llodra demolish Spain in Davis Cup Doubles rubber

jo_tsonga_3In a display of total mastery on the tennis court, Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pulverized the Spanish doubles duo of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco to bring their nation back on track in the Davis Cup World Group semifinal, after going 2-0 down on Day 1 of the competition. In a ruthless exhibition of power and precision, the French pair dropped just 3 games en route to a 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 win in an hour and thirty nine minutes. Having registered a point for themselves, France captain Guy Forget will look to rally his men and overturn the deficit in order to reach the title round for the second year in a row.

Lopez and Verdasco may not have been favorites going into the rubber, but were certainly no pushovers, considering that they had won three of their last four Davis Cup matches as a team. But the French pair completely annihilated the Spaniards, never really allowing them to find their feet on home soil. Tsonga with his monster serve and Llodra with his finesse at the net, tore apart their opponents in the opening set, and raced to a 5-0 courtesy two breaks, one of them to love. Lopez finally got his team on the scorecard, but by then the set was beyond their grasp, as the French took it 6-1.

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Davis Cup: Bhupathi - Bopanna register win against Japan to put India on the board

Saturday was a day of redemption of sorts for the Indian Davis Cup team, as the duo of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna secured a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita in the doubles rubber to reduce the deficit to a point in the World Group Playoff tie in Tokyo. Facing an uphill task of overcoming a 2-0 scoreline after a disappointing first day, the Indians have clawed back to give themselves a fighting chance on the final day. Shiv-Prakash Mishra's men must now win the remainder of the two singles rubbers to ensure that their country features in next year's World Group.

The Indian pairing went ahead in the third game of the first set by breaking the serve of Yuichi Sugita and taking a 2-1 lead. However Mahesh Bhupathi's serve came under pressure in the eighth game, and the Japanese leveled proceedings to 4-4 following the break back. But the hero of the first singles rubber Sugita dropped serve once again to allow the Indians to edge ahead and ultimately claim the set 7-5.

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