Last year’s Davis Cup champions Argentina have been knocked out of the competition’s top tier by Kazakhstan on Sunday.
Mikhail Kukushkin defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in a battle between the teams’ top-ranked players to give Kazakhstan an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five tie.
Schwartzman, who as the 28th-ranked player is 50 places above Kukushkin, lost his first two service games in each of the first two sets and struggled to recover.
Argentina — who didn’t have their top-ranked player Juan Martin del Potro in Kazakhstan — are the first reigning Davis Cup champions to be relegated since Sweden in 1999.
Argentina were last outside the top-tier World Group in 2001, while Kazakhstan return after relegation last year.