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Croatia, Slovakia Even After Day One of Davis Cup Finals

No one seriously expected Karol Kucera to beat Ivan Ljubicic, the Croat surpassing John McEnroe's 23-year-old record of nine live Davis Cup victories in the World Group in a single year.

The 31-year-old Kucera, playing his last event before retirement, was only called into action three hours before play started, after Karol Beck pulled out with a knee injury, and Ljubicic was never in trouble in a 6-3 6-4 6-3 win. He faced just one break point in the entire match, and served too well to give the match-rusty Kucera any chance.

The second singles between Dominik Hrbaty and Mario Ancic was much more of a 50:50, and it went three and a quarter hours, with Hrbaty taking it in four sets.

It was a high-quality match, but after taking the first set on the tiebreak, Hrbaty grew in confidence while Ancic gave the impression of being angst-ridden on court, an understandable emotion given that he still hasn't won a live singles this year.

He threatened to come back into the match after taking the third set tiebreak, but wasn't able to assert himself as the self-assured Slovak powered back to win 7-6 6-3 6-7 6-4.