Serbia led by Djokovic defeat Austria in Davis Cup opener

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Paris (AFP) – Novak Djokovic passed Austria’s Dennis Novak to give Serbia an unassailable 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup opener in Innsbruck on Friday.

It took an hour for Djokovic to beat Novak 6-3, 6-2 after Dusan Lajovic beat Gerald Melzer 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 behind closed doors due to a coronavirus resurgence in Austria.

Djokovic is trying to end an already momentous year after winning one of the season’s four Grand Slam tournaments.

Elsewhere, Italy led the United States in Turin and Spain edged Ecuador in Madrid.

Supported by a cheerful home crowd, Italy took a 2-0 lead over the United States thanks to victories for Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner.

Sonego, the world n ° 27, was in heaven.

“I played the best tennis of my life,” he said after beating Reilly Opelka 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Sinner then pulverized a static John Isner 6-2, 6-0 in 62 minutes.

In doubles, Simone Bolleli and Fabio Fognini will face Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock while Colombia are the third team in Group E.

Feliciano López, 40, opened the Spanish title defense with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ecuador’s Roberto Quiroz.

“It’s a gift to be back here to play singles, I didn’t expect it, I was supposed to play doubles but after everything that’s happened this week I’m here.”

“I think I did well,” he said, referring to the absence of Carlos Alcaraz, who entered quarantine on Thursday after testing positive for Covid-19.

On the opening day of the revamped 2021 final, brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer helped Sweden sideline Canada, France hit back against the Czech Republic and Croatia crushed Australia.

The Davis Cup, which began in 1900 as a bilateral competition between Britain and the United States, was called off in 2020 due to the pandemic.

This year’s competition sees 12 qualifiers – Australia, Austria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden and the United States – joined by the semi-finalists from the previous edition – Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia Tennis Federation.

These are joined by two wild card nations, France and Serbia.

These 18 nations are divided into six groups of three, with winners and the first pair of second places going into the quarterfinal pot.

The semi-finals and the final on December 5 will all be played in the Spanish capital, a reward for the team that won the title two years ago after the cancellation of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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