Spain & Russia go through

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PARIS, March 8 – Defending champions Spain proved there is life without Rafael Nadal when they swept aside Switzerland 4-1 to set-up a mouthwatering Davis Cup quarter-final clash with France on Sunday.Russia also went through thanks to a 3-2 win over India, their 17th successive home win, which gave them a last eight clash against Argentina, who defeated Sweden 3-2.

World number two Novak Djokovic led Serbia to a 4-1 victory over the United States, earning his country a last-eight place for the first time and a July trip to bitter rivals Croatia, the 2005 champions.

In Logrono, David Ferrer scored the winning point for Spain as he easily saw off an exhausted Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to give the hosts an unbeatable lead after they had led 2-1 overnight.

Nicolas Almagro then eased past Marco Chiudinelli 6-1, 6-3 in the dead rubber.

Despite his heroics, Ferrer admitted that his place in the team for July’s clash with France was not guaranteed with Nadal and Fernando Verdasco expected to return.

"I hope to play and be picked, but we will see. I just want to focus on the next tournaments," said Ferrer.

France maintained their 72-year domination of Germany when they wrapped up a 4-1 win in Toulon, leaving the French eager to face Spain on home ground.

"It’ll be like a final, it’s the kind of thing you dream about," said France captain Guy Forget.

"Facing the defending champions with Nadal, Verdasco, Ferrer, Lopez…we want to beat the best in the world. We have started to talk about it and I hope that the boys will be in peak form."

France will have the advantage of playing the tie at home and will – not surprisingly – opt for a hard court rather than the clay courts favoured by the Spanish.

In Belgrade, Djokovic won a five-set thriller to defeat America’s John Isner and hand Serbia a place in the quarter-finals for the first time.

Serbia will travel to Croatia on July 9-11 after Djokovic claimed a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4 win over Isner in a four hour, 16 minute marathon.

Croatia wrapped-up a 5-0 win over Ecuador in their first round tie.

"It’s the biggest win for men’s tennis in Serbia," said Djokovic.

In Moscow, Mikhail Youzhny eased Russia into the last eight when he beat Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 to give his side a 3-1 lead over India.

Rohan Bopanna won the dead rubber, beating Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, to ensure a final scoreline of 3-2, after veteran doubles pairing Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won Saturday’s doubles to keep India in the tie.

David Nalbandian was Argentina’s match-winner in Stockholm when he defeated Andreas Vinciguerra 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 after Robin Soderling had seen off Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 to pull Sweden level.

Former Wimbledon finalist Nalbandian, who has only just returned to action after undergoing hip surgery in May, had edged Argentina ahead on Saturday when he teamed with Horacio Zeballos to see off Robert Lindstedt and Soderling in the doubles.

Argentine captain Tito Vazquez praised Nalbandian who only arrived in Sweden on Thursday and was suffering a leg injury.

"We didnt know about David until ten minutes before the match whether he was able to play or willing to play," said Vazquez.

"It was a last minute decision – we took the responsibility and he also took the responsibility but if something would have happened (to his leg) it would have been a problem."

The Czech Republic saw off Belgium in Bree and will face either Chile or Israel. Chile were 2-1 ahead after Sunday’s doubles.

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