Djokovic's recent losses give US hope in Davis Cup

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 03, 2013
Novak Djokovic's two recent defeats after a 22-match winning streak offer the United States hope of seeing off Serbia in the Davis Cup quarterfinals starting on Friday. The mere presence of the top-ranked Djokovic makes Serbia the slight favorite, but the Americans chose to play on an indoor hard-court at altitude in Boise, Idaho, to give their big servers a boost. It's a bonus to the U.S. that Djokovic has appeared vulnerable in the past month, with two defeats in his last four matches. However, he appears to have brushed them off this week, saying, ''I always love these seven to 10 days spending with friends just representing Serbia, it's really fantastic.'' In the other quarterfinals, Argentina hosts France, Kazakhstan welcomes the defending champion Czech Republic, and Canada faces Italy. Djokovic recommitted to Davis Cup after skipping last year's campaign, and helped Serbia cruise past Belgium in February. He beat Sam Querrey and John Isner in the only previous Serbia-U.S. tie, during the 2010 title run, and Serbia is likely to need a point from Viktor Troicki or the doubles to advance. The doubles had been a reliable point for the U.S. until the Bryan brothers suffered a rare cup loss in the struggle to get past Brazil at home in the first round. The Parque Roca in Buenos Aires will need to be a fortress again if Argentina is to beat France for the first time. Argentina has lost all five previous ties with France, including being beaten 5-0 in the 2010 semifinals in Lyon. Without Juan Martin del Potro again, the same team which beat Germany 5-0 will line up on clay against the same France team which defeated Israel by the same score. Top-10 players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet are complemented by accomplished doubles pair Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra. The Czech Republic risks becoming the third defending champ in seven years to fall in the quarters. In the absence of his longtime partner Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek will spearhead the Czechs against host Kazakhstan. Stepanek hasn't played since an early defeat in the Australian Open, after which he underwent surgery on a disc in his neck. While he was sidelined, the sixth-ranked Berdych won all three points against Switzerland. But after reaching two ATP finals, a semifinal and quarterfinal, he injured a shoulder and will miss his first tie in three years. Fortunately for the Czechs, Stepanek is now available, but he will play his first tie without Berdych since his cup debut 10 years ago. Their reliance on Stepanek and Berdych, who won all 12 live points last year for the Czechs' first cup in 32 years, is reflected in the lack of cup experience of their teammates. Lukas Rosol, who paired with Berdych to win the longest match in cup history against the Swiss, a seven-hour doubles contest, will play his fifth tie in two years. Jan Hajek has not featured in the cup since 2011, and Ivo Minar has four ties in six years. None of Kazakhstan's main players - Evgeny Korolev, Andrey Golubev and Mikhail Kukushkin - has won a main draw match on the ATP Tour since at least August, but they were still too good for Austria in February. They also have history on their side; they upset the Czechs two years ago. Canada carries the confidence of beating mighty Spain in February to reach its first cup quarterfinal in the same indoor Vancouver venue. ''We're going to go in with the same mentality and if we put up the same performance I think we'll have a good chance to win,'' Canada's Vasek Pospisil said of meeting Italy. Italy has a shot at its first semifinals since 1998, with only a doubt over Simone Bolelli, half of the world No. 3-ranked pairing with Fabio Fognini. Bolelli has an injured wrist.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Serena Williams the most important modern athlete?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manfred blames MLBPA for no significant rule changes in 2017

Report: Zach Britton has potential oblique injury

The Rock returns to WWE, leaves CM Punk a voicemail after 'Raw'

After outfield collision, Ichiro pranks teammate and claims he’s been cut

Simeon Rice gets vulgar with radio host over HOF debate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ronda Rousey to be guest star on NBC’s ‘Blindspot’

Lakers replace Jim Buss with Magic Johnson, fire Kupchak

Report: James Harrison, Steelers share mutual interest in 2017 return

Jimmy Garoppolo’s mom keeping him up to speed on his trade rumors

Report: Clippers intent on keeping both Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Slam dunks and startups: How all-star technology took over the NBA in The Big Easy

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Tennis News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 100 games with two different teams

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker