MADRID — Novak Djokovic defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-3 to seal Serbia’s victory over top-ranked France in the Davis Cup Finals on Thursday.
The result gave Serbia an insurmountable 2-0 lead over the French before the doubles match. Filip Krajinovic had defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the first singles to mathematically secure Serbia in the last eight of the revamped team competition.
Djokovic had a break in the first set and two in the second to clinch his 14th straight Davis Cup singles victory.
“I made some crucial breaks at the right time in both sets,” Djokovic said. “It’s tough to play Benoit, he is a very talented guy, very unpredictable.”
Serbia secured first place in Group A by winning every tie without dropping a set.
Group winners advance to the knockout stage along with the two best second-place finishers among the six groups.
Britain and Kazakhstan were 1-1 after Kyle Edmund defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-3 and Alexander Bublik evened the match for Kazakhstan by beating Daniel Evans 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
The winner will clinch a place in the last eight as the first-placed team in Group E.
Britain was not playing Andy Murray, who on Wednesday came from behind to win his match against Tallon Griekspoor in three sets.
In Group C, Germany was leading Chile 1-0 after Phillip Kohlschreiber defeated Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-3.
Australia and Canada meet in the first quarterfinal later on Thursday.
PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.
Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.
In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.
In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).
PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.
Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.
The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.
Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.