London, July 09 : Argentina became the first country to reach the Davis Cup semifinals after taking an unbeatable 3-0 lead against Kazakhstan on Friday, while Serbia and France look set to follow after both moved 2-0 ahead in their own quarterfinals.
Argentina, which started the five-match series a day early due to elections on Sunday in Buenos Aires, followed up Thursday's singles wins with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory for Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank over Evgeny Korolev and Yuriy Schukin in the doubles.
Their reward is a place in the semifinals against Sweden or Serbia, with the latter looking the most likely opponent after Friday's wins for Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic in Halmstad.
Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils put France in command against Germany, and on course for a semifinal against either the United States or Spain, who were playing later.
Argentina had been given an ideal start to its quarterfinal after Juan Monaco and Juan Martin Del Potro won their opening singles matches, and although the Kazakhs led 4-2 in the final set on Friday, the home pair steadied and won in straight sets on the red outdoor clay at Parque Roca, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Argentina, which has reached the semifinals seven times in the past 10 seasons, has never won the Davis Cup. It was runner-up in 1981, 2006 and 2008.
In Sweden, Troicki overcame a late challenge by Michael Ryderstedt to win 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (6), 7-5, but there was no such exertion needed by Tipsarevic after Sweden's Ervin Eleskovic retired with a knee injury in the second set.
Tipsarevic, who replaced top-ranked Novak Djokovic on the Serbian team, won the first set 6-2 and was 1-0 up when the Swede fell awkwardly while trying to return a second serve on the indoor hardcourt in Halmstad.
Eleskovic's left knee folded as he tried to move into position to return Tipsarevic's serve. He grimaced in pain as he was carried off the court. Sweden team officials said Eleskovic's knee cap had popped out of place and that he would be taken to a hospital.
“It's a horrible way to win,” said Tipsarevic who was called up at short notice after Djokovic withdrew from the singles match citing problems with his left knee. “I really feel sorry first for Ervin ... and for the Swedish team. This is not the way I wanted to win.”
Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt are due to face Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic in the doubles match on Saturday.
Monfils sealed France's 2-0 lead in Stuttgart, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-4 after Gasquet's unlikely 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 comeback win over a cramping Florian Mayer in the first singles.
“I didn't play that well but I won and that's what's important,” said Gasquet, who was one game away from defeat.
France was the runner-up last year, when it lost to Serbia in the final, while Germany is looking for its first semifinal since 2007. France has a 6-2 record against Germany and has not lost to its neighbor since 1938. AP