Croatia in quarterfinals
Croatia became the first titleholder in two years to survive the opening round
Mario and Ivan - Amazing duo. Little Croatia with two Tennis Giants
LONDON: Defending champion Croatia, Argentina, France, Russia, Belarus and Chile advanced to the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup on Saturday by winning doubles rubbers to seal unbeatable 3-0 leads.
Croatia became the first titleholder in two years to survive the opening round when Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic rallied from 2-0 down to defeat Jurgen Melzer and Julian Knowle 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6.
Croatia will host Argentina in April's quarterfinals. Last year they met in the semifinals.
The results: At Minsk: Belarus 3, Spain 0: Vladimir Voltchkov & Max Mirnyi bt Feliciano Lopez & Fernando Verdasco 7-6(2),6-4,7-5.
At Geneva: Switzerland 1, Australia 2: Yves Allegro & Stanislas Wawrinka lost to Wayne Arthurs & Paul Hanley 7-6(6),6-4,4-6,7-6(5).
At Amsterdam: The Netherlands 0, Russia 3: Raemon Sluiter & John van Lottum lost to Igor Andreev & Mikhail Youzhni 6-2,3-6,6-4,6-4.
At Halle: Germany 0, France 3: Tommy Haas & Alexander Waske lost to Arnaud Clement & Michael Llodra 6-7(6),6-3,6-4,6-1.
At Buenos Aires: Argentina 3, Sweden 0: David Nalbandian & Agustin Calleri bt Jonas Bjorkman & Simon Aspelin 6-2, 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4.
At Graz: Austria 0, Croatia 3: Jurgen Melzer & Julian Knowle lost to Mario Ancic & Ivan Ljubicic 3-6,3-6,6-4,6-4,8-6.
At La Jolla: U.S. 2, Romania 1: Bob and Mike Bryan bt Victor Hanescu and Horia-Vlad Tecau 6-2, retired.
At Rancagua: Chile 3, Slovakia 0: Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez bt Michal Mertinak and Lukas Lacko 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4. â€” Agencies
Croatia at Austria
Posted on February 06, 2006
Site: Schwarzl Freizeit Zentrum, Graz, Austria
Surface: Red clay indoors
Ball: Wilson Tour Davis Cup
The Austrians will need their homecourt advantage, the slow red clay, and then some against the Davis Cup defending champion Croatian team comprised of Ivan Ljubicic and Mario "Baby Goran" Ancic.
On Sunday, Croatian fans in Zagreb got a Davis Cup preview when Ljubicic easily handled the hot-handed Austrian Stefan Koubek in the final. Jurgen Melzer will join Koubek in shoring up the Austrian singles, with Julian Knowle and Alexander Peya likely taking up the doubles duty.
Melzer beat Ljubicic last year in their only career meeting but that was on the slick lawns at Wimbledon, and the Austrian has never faced Ancic. Koubek is now 3-3 versus Ljubicic, but those wins came before the Croat's confidence surged with his standing in the Top 10, and after injury has caused Koubek's ranking to plummet. As with Melzer, Ancic has likewise never faced Koubek.
The slower the dirt, the better chance the Austrians will have, so look for a mud bog in Graz and for the scrappy Melzer and Koubek to potentially make it interesting.