Djokovic lifts Serbia in Davis Cup group play

MADRID — Novak Djokovic cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win over 73rd-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka, giving Serbia a 2-0 victory over Japan in Group A of the new Davis Cup Finals.

It was the 13th straight Davis Cup singles victory for Djokovic, who broke Nishioka’s serve three times in the first set and twice in the second at the Caja Magica.

Filip Krajinovic had defeated Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 6-4 in the first match.

The winner of Thursday’s series between Serbia and top-ranked France will guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals.

“It’s probably one of the biggest challenges that we can have in this competition,” said Djokovic, who hadn’t played in the Davis Cup since 2017. “Playing against France, one of the most successful nations in Davis Cup, and definitely one of the strongest teams.”

In the revamped Davis Cup format, teams play two singles and a doubles match, with the group winners advancing to the knockout stage along with the two best second-place finishers in the six groups.

Japan, which lost to France 2-1 on Tuesday, has no chance of advancing.

Argentina routed Chile 3-0 on Tuesday but lost to Germany 2-0 on Wednesday after Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Guido Pella 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6 (8).

Germany can secure first place in the group if it beats Chile on Thursday. Argentina can still advance as a second-place finisher.

The new Davis Cup Finals is being played in World Cup-style with all 18 teams playing in a single venue in the same week. The tournament overhaul is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and Kosmos, a group co-founded by Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique.

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