Davis Cup: Canada level with Serbia while Czech Republic lead Argentina
Milos Raonic beat Janko Tipsarevic in a five-set epic to ensure Canada were level with Serbia in their Davis Cup semi.
Last Updated: 16/09/13 4:08pm
Milos Raonic came through a five-set epic with Janko Tipsarevic to ensure Canada were level after the opening day of their Davis Cup semi-final with Serbia.
Earlier in the day World No 1 Novak Djokovic had made short work of Vasek Pospisil, recording an emphatic straight sets win to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Having trailed 2-1 in the first set, US Open runner-up Djokovic promptly reeled off 13 straight games on his way to a 6-2 6-0 6-4 victory on the clay in Belgrade.
But Raonic produced a gutsy display to put the Canadians back on terms, eventually beating Tipsarevic 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-3 10-8 in a contest that lasted four hours and 11 minutes.
Raonic was forced to stave off a break-point in the deciding set, but having finally secured a break to move 9-8 ahead he produced four aces in the final five points to close out the match.
Czechs in charge
In the other semi-final, Czech Republic are well-placed to advance to November's final after opening a 2-0 lead against Argentina.
Radek Stepanek got the ball rolling for the Czechs in Prague with a straight sets triumph over Juan Monaco.
Clay-court specialist Monaco proved no match for Stepanek on the hard-court of the O2 Arena in the Czech capital as he the home favourite secured a 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 6-2 success.
"I tried to be active all the time, I was on the defensive for a while, then I attacked, took a few risks, so I played what we had set as the tactics," 34-year-old Stepanek said.
World No 5 Tomas Berdych then doubled the lead as he overcame Leandro Mayer 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4 in a rather more evenly-contested affair.
The winner of the tie will take on either Canada or Serbia in the November 15-17 final.
Spain took a stranglehold on their Davis Cup World Group play-off against Ukraine as newly-crowned US Open champion Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco both won their opening singles matches.
Fresh from his 13th grand slam title in New York, Nadal brushed aside Sergiy Stakhovsky on the clay of Madrid's Caja Magica as he recorded an emphatic 6-0 6-0 6-4 victory.
That put the hosts into a 2-0 lead as earlier Verdasco fought back from a set down to defeat Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-4.
In the day's other ties, Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, fresh from his semi-final run at the US Open, made a flying start to his country's meeting against lowly Ecuador in Neuchatel. World No 10 Wawrinka beat Emilio Gomez, ranked 340th, 6-3 6-0 6-3.
World No 164 Marco Chiudinelli then made it 2-0 for Switzerland with a 3-6 6-1 6-3 7-6 (9/7) win over Julio Cesar Campozano, 295th in the ATP rankings.
Philipp Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer put Germany in control of their clash with Brazil while Holland took a 2-0 lead over Austria and Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic both won in straights against Poland's Lukasz Kubot and Michal Pryzysiezny.