Flying start: Russia stun defending champions Croatia in Davis Cup opener

Flying start: Russia stun defending champions Croatia in Davis Cup opener Russia’s men began their Davis Cup campaign by thrashing defending champions Croatia 3-0 as the revamped tournament got underway in Madrid, Spain.

A Russian squad including two top 30 players, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, demolished the Croatians, who will now have trouble reaching the quarterfinals of the most prestigious men’s team tennis contest.

On Monday, the world number 23 Rublev defeated Croatian counterpart Borna Coric with a twin score of 6-3, 6-3. Khachanov had a tougher encounter with Borna Coric and needed three sets to take a win 6-7,6-4, 6-4.

The two players went off to cement their lead by winning the pairs match to seal the first win for Russia.

The newly-established Davis Cup format divides 18 teams into six groups, with the group winners and two best-placed runners-up qualifying for the quarterfinals.

The winners of the Davis Cup, which now has a much shorter format final, will be crowned on Sunday with the semifinals being scheduled for Saturday.

On Tuesday, Russia will take on tournament hosts Spain.

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