No Alcaraz, but Spain crush Serbia in Cup

·3-min read

No Carlos Alcaraz, no problem for Spain.

In front of a partisan home crown at Valencia, Spain cruised to a 3-0 win over Serbia in the Davis Cup Finals on Wednesday to move top of their group.

New world No.1 Alcaraz arrived in Valencia the previous day but skipped the opening round, which was taking place only three days after the Spanish teenager won the US Open. He did appear during the national anthems, much to the crowd's delight.

Sunday's victory over Casper Ruud saw the 19-year-old Alcaraz become the youngest man to lead the ATP computerised rankings since they began in 1973.

But Albert Ramos Vinolas rallied to beat Laslo Dere 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in the opening rubber and Roberto Bautista Agut prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) over Miomir Kecmanovic to secure victory.

Marcel Granollers and Pedro Martinez beat Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 6-2 in the doubles to complete the whitewash of Serbia, who were without superstar Novak Djokovic.

Three other venues - Bologna in Italy, Hamburg, Germany and Glasgow, Scotland - are hosting group-stage matches ahead of the single-venue quarter-finals that will be played in the southern Spanish city of Malaga in November.

In Group D, in Glasgow, Andy Murray had a disappointing return to Davis Cup action as the United States won a tight contest against Britain.

Tommy Paul gave the Americans the lead when he beat Dan Evans 6-4 4-6 6-4. But Cameron Norrie recovered to beat American Taylor Fritz 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5.

Murray teamed in the doubles with Joe Salisbury for only his second Davis Cup appearance since 2016 but the duo were beaten 5-7 6-4 7-5 by Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram in a match that ended at 1am.

In Group C in Hamburg, a home crowd helped propel Germany to their first win over France since 1938.

Jan-Lennard Struff put Germany in front with a 6-4 2-6 7-5 victory over Benjamin Bonzi before Adrian Mannarino evened the tie with a 6-4 6-3 win over Oscar Otte.

However, Kevin Krawietz and Tim Putz maintained their perfect Davis Cup record as a pairing by defeating Nicolas Mahut and Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-1) to end a run of eight straight defeats for Germany against France.

The hosts also won in Group A, in Bologna, as Italy beat top-ranked Croatia 3-0.

Lorenzo Mussetti eased past Borna Gojo 6-4, 6-2 before Matteo Berrettini rallied to beat Borna Coric 6-7 (7-4) 6-2 6-1. Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli also had to recover from a set down to see off Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3).

Gojo, Mektic and Pavic were all part of the Croatia team that lost to Russia in last year's final. Croatia also won the Davis Cup in 2018.