Last year Davis Cup finalist Russia is playing host to surging Serbia in the first round of World Group 2008. It started bad for Serbia as Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic fell down to stomach flu and it got worse after 2nd racket Janko Tipsarevic injured muscle on the training ground, thus eliminating himself from the competition.
Since Novak was still unable to run, mixed doubles Australian Open winner Nenad Zimonjic had to jump in and face world number 8 Mikhail Youzhny in the opening match on Friday. Nenad, still with fever and ranked 689th in singles, went down 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Viktor Troicki, who is by the way celebrating his 22nd birthday today, put up fantastic resistance on the world number 4 Nikolay Davydenko in the 2nd match. Viktor, ranked 114th, lost in five sets 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
Russian team also had problems as Marat Safin, originally planned for doubles on Saturday, had to retire after foot injury. Still under the weather, Nenad Zimonjic and Novak Djokovic won a close match against Mikhail Youzhny/Dmitry Tursunov to reduce Russian lead to 2-1.
In the final attempt to turn the tables, Djokovic took a stand against Davydenko in the first match on Sunday. It started well for Serbian as he won first two sets and reached 3-0 in third set. But Djokovic then became increasingly exhausted, legs didn't listen anymore and he had to resign the match after Davydenko took third set 6-4.
Russia won this Davis Cup round even before the fifth match. Viktor Troicki will play for Serbia in the final game without importance other than prestige. Russia will probably have Dmitry Tursunov since Youzhny played twice already.