Russia, Argentina, France, Sweden lead 2-0
Defending champion Russia, France, Sweden and Argentina led 2-0, Belgium had Australia in deep trouble on the Davis Cup's opening day.sports Updated:
Defending champion Russia, France, Sweden and Argentina led 2-0 and Belgium had Australia in deep trouble on the Davis Cup's opening day.
Russia was on the brink of ending Chile's 10-tie, 11-year winning streak at home, France led Romania, Sweden was ahead at Belarus, and Argentina had the advantage at Austria in the World Group first-round ties.
Switzerland, missing world No. 1 Roger Federer, was 1-1 with Spain, which lost Rafael Nadal to a muscle injury shortly before the first singles. Lleyton Hewitt was defeated by Kristof Vliegen in a five-setter as Australia fell in a 2-0 hole in Liege, and James Blake lost to Tomas Berdych for the first time to leave the US and Czech Republic tied 1-1. Germany and Croatia were also 1-1.
At La Serena, Australian Open runner-up Fernando Gonzalez lost on clay for the first time since his Davis Cup debut nine years ago, upset by Igor Andreev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Andreev, back from left knee surgery last year, relieved the pressure on two-time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin to carry Russia to victory in the absence of Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny and Dmitry Tursunov. Safin cruised past Nicolas Massu 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in the first singles.
In Geneva, second-ranked Nadal withdrew because of an undisclosed muscle he strained in training, and returned to a hospital for tests. When Stanislas Wawrinka seriously injured his knee in training on Thursday and faced surgery yesterday, Swiss hopes appeared to be doomed.