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Germany, Serbia, Russia lead on Day 1 of revamped Davis Cup

February 1, 2019
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Russia's Karen Khachanov celebrates after defeating Marc Andrea Huesler, of Switzerland, in the second match of the Davis Cup qualification final round between Switzerland and Russia at the Swiss Tennis Arena in Biel, Switzerland, on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

Alexander Zverev gave Germany a commanding 2-0 lead over Hungary in the revamped Davis Cup on the opening day Friday.

The third-ranked Zverev, who has repeatedly criticized the event’s format changes, eased past Peter Nagy 6-2, 6-2 to double Germany’s advantage after Philipp Kohlschreiber rallied to beat Zsombor Piros 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4.

Serbia, Russia, Australia, Kazakhstan, and Italy were also on the brink of qualifying for the new finals tournament in November after taking 2-0 leads.

All 12 ties are being played over two days. The reverse singles are scheduled immediately after the doubles on Saturday. Also, all rubbers have been shortened to best-of-three.

Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic had straight-set wins to put Serbia firmly in control against Uzbekistan, while Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov gave Russia the upper hand against Switzerland.

Also, Australia was leading against Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kazakhstan against Portugal, and Italy against India.

Elsewhere, Slovakia and Canada were 1-1 after Martin Klizan had a two-set win over Felix Auger-Aliassime to make up for Filip Horansky’s 6-4, 7-5 loss to Denis Shapovalov.

Czech Republic and the Netherlands also shared the points as Jiri Vesely and Robin Haase downed their lower-ranked opponents.

Austria came from behind against Chile as Dennis Novak defeated Christian Garin 6-4, 6-4 in the second match, after Nicolas Jarry edged 19-year-old Davis Cup debutant Jurij Rodionov, who replaced Dominic Thiem.

Brazil and Belgium were locked at 1-1 after Thiago Monteiro and Kimmer Coppejans had clear wins in the opening singles.

Also, Taro Daniel edged Zhang Ze 7-6 (3), 6-4 to level for Japan against China, after Li Zhe gave the hosts a surprise lead by defeating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-2.

The 12 winners of this weekend’s qualifiers join six already qualified nations at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid in November: Defending champion Croatia, 2018 runner-up France, semifinalists the United States and Spain, as well as wild cards Britain and Argentina.

At the finals, the 18 nations will compete in six groups of three teams, with all group winners and the two best second-ranked teams advancing to the quarterfinals.

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