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Serbia clinches the crucial doubles rubber

— PHOTO: AP

FLATTERING TO DECEIVE:Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna played the Serbian pair Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac really close before going down in a fourth-set tie-break.

PARIS: India went down 2-1 to Serbia in their Davis Cup World Group first round match as the host clinched the crucial doubles rubber in a thrilling four-setter at Novi Sad on Saturday.

After Somdev Devvarman beat Janko Tipsarevic in the second singles rubber for India to make it 1-1 on Friday, the Indian doubles duo of Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna took the court against Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic as underdogs.

But, the Indian duo won the first set, taking the Serbians by surprise. But the Serbian duo bounced back, riding the vociferous cheers of the home crowd and took the next two sets.

The fourth set went the distance — the Indians saved two match-points in the tie-breaker and had two set-points of their own — but Zimonjic and Bozoljac held their nerves better to pip the Indian duo.

Elsewhere, Sweden, Spain and Argentina made the quarterfinals after clinching winning leads in their matches against Russia, Belgium and Romania.

The Swedish pair of Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt, playing at home in Boraas, defeated Russia's Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(6), 6-2 to take the decisive lead.

In Charleroi, Belgium, Fernando Verdasco returned to the doubles court alongside Feliciano Lopez to beat Xavier Malisse and Olivier Rochus 7-6(0), 6-4, 6-3. On Friday, after Verdasco had beaten Malisse, Rafael Nadal made it 2-0 for the visitor beating Rubens Bemelmans 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Juan Ignacio Chela and Juan Monaco defeated Romania Victor Hanescu and Horia Tecau 6-2, 7-6(8), 6-1 to make it 3-0 for host Argentina in Buenos Aires.

In Vienna, Austria, which had lost both singles rubbers on Friday, managed to stay in the match against France when Jurgen Melzer and Oliver Marach beat Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to make it 2-1 for the host.

The results: At Novi Sad: Serbia leads India 2-1 [Ilija Bozoljac & Nenad Zimonjic bt Rohan Bopanna & Somdev Devvarman 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(10); Janko Tipsarevic lost to Somdev Devvarman 7-5, 7-5, 7-6(3)]

At Boraas: Sweden leads Russia 3-0 [Simon Aspelin & Robert Lindstedt bt Igor Kunitsyn & Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(6), 6-2; Joachim Johansson bt Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4].

At Charleroi: Belgium trails Spain 0-3 [Xavier Malisse & Olivier Rochus lost to Fernando Verdasco & Feliciano Lopez 7-6(0), 6-4, 6-3; Ruben Bemelmans lost to Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-2].

At Vienna: Austria trails France 1-2 [Jurgen Melzer & Oliver Marach bt Michael Llodra & Julien Benneteau 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; Stefan Koubek lost to Gilles Simon 6-0, 6-2, 6-3].

At Zagreb: Croatia trails Germany 1-2 [Ivan Dodig & Ivo Karlovic lost to Christopher Kas & Philipp Petzschner ;6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Ivan Dodig lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4].

At Buenos Aires: Argentina leads Romania 3-0 [Juan Ignacio Chela & Juan Monaco bt Victor Hanescu & Horia Tecau 6-2, 7-6(8), 6-1; Juan Monaco bt Victor Hanescu 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-1, 6-1].

At Ostrava: Czech Republic leads Kazakhstan 2-1 [Tomas Berdych & Lukas Dlouhy bt Yuri Schukin & Evgeny Korolev 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4); Jan Hajek lost to Andrei Golubev 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3; Tomas Berdych bt Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2].

At Santiago: Chile trails USA 1-2 [Jorge Aguilar & Nicolas Massu lost to Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4); Paul Capdeville bt John Isner 6-7(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(3), 7-6(5) 6-4] . — Agencies

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