Last year’s runner-up Spain and newcomer Belarus grabbed 2-0 leads in the Davis Cup quarterfinals Friday.
Top-ranked Roger Federer and Switzerland were tied 1-1 with visiting France, while the United States and Sweden played later.
Past French Open champions Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya won easily on clay to lead Spain against Netherlands, big servers Max Mirnyi and Vladimir Voltchkov won in straight sets as Belarus took the lead against Argentina, and Federer won his match for Switzerland before Arnaud Clement tied the best-of-five series for the French.
The Argentina-Belarus winner will play the United States-Sweden winner in the semifinals in September, with Spain or the Netherlands facing Switzerland or France. Spain 2, Netherlands 0
At Palma de Mallorca, Ferrero beat Raemon Sluiter 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, after Moya got past the man Ferrero defeated in the 2003 Roland Garros final, Martin Verkerk, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.
Verkerk and John Van Lottum will face 17-year-old Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo in doubles Saturday.
The matches are being played on an outdoor, red clay court at a converted bull ring. The first match started an hour late because of rain. The weather was chilly, the balls heavy, the playing surface slippery.
Moya, the 1998 French Open champion, grew up on this Mediterranean island off the coast of Barcelona and played Friday in front of neighbors — and King Juan Carlos.
After Moya won, several thousand fans started chanting, “Car-los! Car-los!”
Moya’s first serve was an ace, he closed the first set with another, and he finished with 10.
“He played well, unbelievably well,” Verkerk said. “He made the shots he needed to.”
Belarus 2, Argentina 0
At Minsk, Voltchkov compiled eight aces and 28 winners to surprise Agustin Calleri 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening singles match on indoor carpet. Calleri had won nine straight Davis Cup matches.
Mirnyi breezed past Guillermo Canas 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
For the doubles, Mirnyi and Voltchkov will team against Lucas Arnold and Calleri.
Voltchkov had been out of action since injuring his leg during Belarus’ first-round upset of 2002 Davis Cup champion Russia in February.
France 1, Switzerland 1
At Lausanne, reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Federer put the hosts ahead with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Nicolas Escude. Clement evened the best-of-five series for France with his 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win against Ivo Heuberger, who was playing for his country for the first time in five years.
The French team is without its top player, Wimbledon semifinalist Sebastien Grosjean, who withdrew because of a viral infection.
In Saturday’s doubles match, Federer will pair with Yves Allegro against Escude and Michael Llodra.
France owns nine Davis Cup titles, the most recent in 2001. Switzerland never has won the event.
Rafael Nadal is currently ranked fourth in the world, but has had a dominant run lately as he has won seven of the last eight French Open titles. Mary Carrillo thinks we’re in store for a Nadal-Djokovic final.
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