Lawn Tennis
Russia, USA Advance To Davis Cup Quarterfinals
By Anton Lagani, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Monday, February 11, 2008 9:35am CST USA
Russia, USA Advance To Davis Cup 
Quarterfinals, Andy Roddick, James Blake
Photos by Vladimir Pesnya/AP, Hans Punz/AP
Moscow/Vienna--( In Davis Cup first round play over the weekend, the Russian and United States teams both won to inch closer towards a possible November final round meeting.

First both teams must win in April's quarterfinals and September's semifinals however.

Russia defeated Serbia Sunday with a 3-2 win as Serbia's Novak Djokovic retired with flu symptons while leading Russia's Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-3, 4-6.

"I decided to stop because I don't want to risk my health," Djokovic said. "I wanted to fight, I tried to play but in the end I was aware of the fact that I am very dizzy and I have a lack of energy. I just didn't want to continue because of the risk I had."

The United States team began its title defense by defeating Austria in Vienna 4-1 on a difficult clay surface. Friday in singles Andy Roddick defeated Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(4-7), 6-3 and James Blake beat Stefan Koubek 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 to give the USA an early lead.

"It was a tough match, but I expected that, Roddick said. "Jurgen is a good player, but I was physically stronger in the final set."

Blake had rallied from trailing 5-7, 2-5 for his win and added, "I am not a clay court specialist, but I capitalised on my experience today. At the age of 22 or 23 I would probably have lost, but after so many years on the tour, you know what you are capable of.

The Americans face France in the quarterfinals in April, while Russia will play the Czech Republic.

Th USA won its 32nd Davis Cup title and first in 12 years last year, defeating Russia 4-1 in the final. Russia won its second Davis Cup title in 2006, defeating Argentina 3-2 in Moscow.

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