Serbia held off a spirited fightback by Uzbekistan to clinch a berth in the finals tournament of the revamped Davis Cup on Saturday.
The 2010 champion seemed in control of the tie with a 2-0 lead after straight-set wins by Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic. But Uzbekistan leveled at 2-2 and Sanjar Fayziev took the opening set in the deciding fifth rubber. Krajinovic, however, won the next two sets to send Serbia through.
Germany, Russia, and Australia were other former champions to qualify for the finals in Madrid.
All 12 winners of this weekend’s qualifiers join six already qualified nations at the Nov. 18-24 event: Defending champion Croatia, 2018 runner-up France, 2018 semifinalists the United States and Spain, as well as wild cards Britain and Argentina.
At the finals, the 18 nations will compete in six groups of three teams, with all group winners and the two best second-ranked teams advancing to the quarterfinals.
Germany routed Hungary 5-0 and third-ranked Alexander Zverev didn’t drop a set in his two singles.
Russia’s Karen Khachanov ended a Swiss comeback when he rallied to beat Henri Laaksonen 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 6-4 for an insurmountable 3-1 lead. Earlier, the hosts, playing without Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka, won the doubles as they fielded 15-year-old Jerome Kym alongside Laaksonen.
Australia coach Lleyton Hewitt used all five players as they racked up four straight-set wins against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Elsewhere, seven-time champion Sweden failed to qualify for the finals, not winning a sets in losing at Colombia 4-0.
Chile came from 2-1 down to edge Austria 3-2 after Christian Garin won the deciding fifth rubber 6-2, 6-1 against Davis Cup debutant Jurij Rodionov, who replaced Dominic Thiem.
Canada also rallied from 2-1 behind to Slovakia in Bratislava, where Denis Shapovalov beat Martin Klizan 7-6 (4), 6-4 and Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Norbert Gombos 6-3, 6-4 to turn the tie around. Shapovalov and debutant Auger-Aliassime played shared all five matches for Canada.
Robin Haase won both singles and teamed up with Jean-Julien Royer for victory in the doubles as the Netherlands beat the Czech Republic in Ostrava 3-1.
Also, Belgium won in Brazil 3-1, Kazakhstan beat Portugal 3-1, Italy downed India 3-1, and Japan edged China 3-2 to complete the lineup for the Davis Cup Finals.
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