- Associated Press - Monday, July 12, 2010

LONDON (AP) — Argentina and Serbia wrapped up David Cup quarterfinal victories on the road Sunday to join France and the Czech Republic in the tournament’s last four.

David Nalbandian beat Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-3 in the deciding match in Moscow to clinch Argentina’s 3-2 win over Russia, which lost at home for the first time since 1996.

In Split, Croatia, second-ranked Novak Djokovic defeated Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in front of a fiery Croatian crowd to give Serbia an unassailable 3-1 lead over its neighbor. Janko Tipsarevic then beat Antonio Veic 6-2, 7-6 (5) to complete the victory that advanced Serbia to its first Davis Cup semifinal. The Serbs will host the Czech Rebuplic, last year’s runner-up, in September.

“This is probably the sweetest victory in my career because this is not just an individual win, but a victory for my country,” said Djokovic, who was subjected to ethnic insults during his match.

It will host the Czech Republic, which completed a 4-1 victory over Chile in Coquimbo, Chile.

Serbia had taken a 2-1 lead after its doubles victory Saturday.

Serbia is writing history by reaching the semifinals,” Djokovic said. “Beating Croatia in this kind of heated atmosphere is really something big.”

The other semifinal will see Argentina travel to France, which completed a 5-0 whitewash of defending champion Spain.

Argentina’s win ended Russia’s 17-tie winning streak at home since losing to the United States in the 1995 final.

Argentina relied on Nalbandian in the absence of Juan Martin Del Potro, the injured U.S. Open champion who is the country’s No. 1 player.

Nalbandian missed much of last season because of injury and has been sidelined with a hamstring problem since April, forcing him to drop out of the top 100. But the 28-year-old right-hander showed no signs of rust as he swept aside No.6-ranked Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets in Friday’s opening match and did the same to Youzhny on Sunday.

“I’m happy with my playing here but I’m not surprised at all, though I had no official match practice since April,” Nalbandian said. “I know my level and I did my best to prepare for these matches.”

Earlier, Davydenko had beaten Eduardo Schwank 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 to keep hopes alive for Russia, which was missing big-servers Igor Andreev and Dmitry Tursunov.

Argentina has reached the final three times but has yet to win a title.

France held an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Spain coming into the reverse singles. It clinched the sweep thanks to Gilles Simon’s 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7) victory over Nicolas Almagro and Julien Benneteau’s 7-6 (3), 6-4 defeat of Feliciano Lopez.

The French, who have won the Davis Cup nine times, dealt Spain its first 5-0 Davis Cup loss since 1957, when the team was thrashed by South Africa.

Chile won one of the reverse singles matches to save some face in a 4-1 loss to the Czech Republic.

The Czechs had secured the victory by surging to a 3-0 lead Saturday.

Jorge Aguilar defeated Lukas Dlouhy 6-1, 7-6 (6) Sunday for Chile’s only victory. Also on Sunday, Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic defeated Cristobal Saavedra-Corvalan 7-6 (2), 6-2.