Russia beats Serbia 2-1 to meet Canada in Davis Cup semis

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MADRID — Novak Djokovic played singles and doubles matches but couldn’t prevent Serbia from losing to Russia 2-1 in the Davis Cup quarterfinals on Friday.

Djokovic defeated Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 in the second singles to even the score at 1-1, then returned to the court about half an hour later to team up with Viktor Troicki in the decisive doubles. They had three match points but lost to Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8).

“It hurts really badly,” Djokovic said. “These kinds of matches happen once in maybe forever. That’s it. The season is done and we’re turning the next page.”

The Russians converted on their first match point to put the team back in the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time since 2008.

“Both teams had a lot of chances,” said Rublev, who won the opening singles against Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-2. “It was like a coin toss, and we won this coin toss.”

Russia will next face Canada, which eliminated Australia. The Russians are seeking their third Davis Cup title, and first since 2006.

Serbia, the 2010 Davis Cup champion, was trying to return to the semifinals for the first time since 2017, when the team lost to eventual champion France.

After his 15th straight Davis Cup singles victory, Djokovic struggled in the doubles, although it was Troicki who squandered most of the chances in the tight tiebreaker, including some during the match points.

“I probably feel the worst ever,” Troicki said. “I never experienced such a moment in my career, in my life. And I let my team down, and I apologize to them.”

Djokovic, who hadn’t played in the Davis Cup since 2017, couldn’t hide his frustration as Serbia trailed in the second set, complaining with the umpire and hitting a ball deep into the stands after losing a point. He also requested medical assistance on his right arm.

Serbia was trying to reach the last four for the fourth time since winning its only Davis Cup title in 2010. It was runner-up once since then, in 2013.

Serbia cruised through the group stage without losing a set in singles. Its only loss came in a dead doubles rubber against France.

Russia defeated defending champion Croatia in the group stage but then lost to host Spain, advancing to the quarterfinals as one of the two best second-place finishers. It was playing on two days’ rest, while Serbia played on Wednesday and Thursday.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.