Djokovic spearheads Serbia's Davis Cup dream

Novak Djokovic (AFP file)

PARIS, Sep. 17 (AFP) – Novak Djokovic will hope to bury his US Open heartbreak when he spearheads Serbia's bid to reach a first Davis Cup final, while the United States try to avoid sinking to a 22-year low this weekend.

Djokovic was widely applauded for his gutsy performance in going down to Rafael Nadal in New York on Monday as the Spaniard completed a career Grand Slam.

But he is adamant that the loss will not overshadow the Davis Cup semi-final against the Czech Republic in Belgrade.

"I cannot hide the disappointment. It's just I'm not going to cry or complain," said Djokovic, looking back on his loss to Nadal.

"It's just the way it is. I wanted that trophy, but I will continue working hard and waiting for the next chance to come."

His first chance to put the US Open behind him arrives on Friday.

Serbia have been impressive in the Davis Cup this season, defeating the USA 3-2 in Belgrade and then cruising past Croatia 4-1 in the quarter-finals in Split.

Serbian captain Bogdan Obradovic has named an unchanged team for the third consecutive tie so Djokovic lines up with Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic.

The Czech Republic, last year's runners-up, have recalled their top two players, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, after both missed the 4-1 victory over Chile in the quarter-finals through injury.

Berdych reached the French Open semi-finals this year before finishing runner-up to Nadal at Wimbledon.

"We have a great team and we believe in ourselves," said Stepanek.

"We?ve been underdogs so many times, the same as we will be in Serbia, and we will try to use it to our advantage."

Ivo Minar and Jan Hajek make up the four-man Czech team.

In the other semi-final, France, who knocked out defending champions Spain in the last eight, host Argentina in Lyon.

World number 15 Gael Monfils, a quarter-finalist at the US Open where he lost to Djokovic, leads the French team in the absence of the injured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is nursing a knee injury.

"For an emotional player like me to play in the Davis Cup is just something unbelievable," Monfils told www.daviscup.com.

Michael Llodra, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon make up the team.

Argentina, runners-up in 2006 and 2008, will rely on fit-again David Nalbandian, who has won the deciding fifth rubber in both his team?s 3-2 victories this year, away in Sweden and Russia.

"It?s going to be tough," said former world number three Nalbandian, who has been rebuilding his career after missing nine months with a hip injury.

Juan Monaco, Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos join Nalbandian on the Argentina team.

Nine-time Davis Cup champions France will start as favourites, having defeated the South Americans in all four previous meetings.

The United States, meanwhile, can boast a record 32 Davis Cup titles but that legacy will count for nothing if they lose to Colombia in Bogota in one of eight play-offs.

Defeat would send them out of the elite World Group for the first time since 1988.

The US, who will be without top player Andy Roddick, were forced into the play-offs after losing to Serbia in the World Group first round this season.

Australia, the second most successful Davis Cup nation with 28 wins, welcome Belgium to Cairns, where a defeat would condemn Lleyton Hewitt's team to another season in the zonal competition.

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