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Serbia beat arch-rivals Croatia to reach first Davis Cup semifinal

Djokovic secured the winning point in his singles rubber against Marin Cilic in Split.
Djokovic secured the winning point in his singles rubber against Marin Cilic in Split.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Serbia are in their first Davis Cup semifinal after beating Croatia 4-1
  • World number two Novak Djokovic sealed the victory with a win over Marin Cilic
  • Serbs will play Czech Republic in September's semifinal
  • Argentina will play France in the other semifinal after French put out defending champions Spain

(CNN) -- Serbia have reached the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time in their history after beating neighbors and arch-rivals Croatia 4-1 in the quarterfinal tie in Split.

The Serbian team sealed victory on Sunday after world number two Novak Djokovic defeated Marin Cilic 6-3 6-3 6-2, giving his team an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five match competition.

"Personally, I had a lot of responsibility with the package that I carried on my back before this tie, but right now I feel so relieved that we won," Djokovic told the official Davis Cup website after his team's win.

"We won in one of the toughest atmospheres against a team that has a lot of success in this competition."

Serbia led 2-1 going into the final day of the tie, after Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic overcame Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-2 6-4 in the doubles on Saturday.

Djokovic beat veteran Croatian player Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 6-4 6-1 in Friday's opening rubber.

We won in one of the toughest atmospheres against a team that has a lot of success in this competition
--Novak Djokovic
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Croatia's only win of the tie came courtesy of world number 13 Cilic who beat Viktor Troicki 6-4 7-5 6-2 to level the tie ahead of the pivotal doubles.

But the 2005 champions were hampered by the absence of injured players such as Mario Ancic and the big-serving Ivo Karlovic.

Tipsarevic finished off a successful weekend for the Serbians beating Croatia's Antonio Veic in straight sets in the dead rubber, to complete a 4-1 win

They will now face Czech Republic at home in September, after the Czechs overcame Chile in Coquimbo on Saturday.

It will be the first time the two east European countries have met since becoming independent nations.

They have played five times before but when Serbia was part of Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic Czechoslovakia.

Meanwhile, a 7-6 6-4 6-3 win for Argentina's David Nalabandian over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in the final match of their quarterfinal in Moscow, was just enough to see the South Americans progress.

Argentina were ahead 2-1 going into to the third day of the tie but a four-set win for Russian world number six Nikolay Davydenko over Eduardo Schwank earlier on Sunday meant their was everything still to play four going into match five.

But for the second time this year Nalbandian -- who showed no signs of the injury problems that prevented him from competing at the French Open and Wimbledon -- clinched a win for his team in the deciding rubber.

The Argentines will play France for a place in the Davis Cup final, after the Europeans caused a shock on Saturday by knocking out defending champions Spain.