Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic help Serbia to a 3-0 win over Japan and set up a showdown with France for top spot in Group A
Serbia will face France for the chance to top Group A and guarantee their place in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals knockout stages after securing a 3-0 win over Japan on Centre Court.
World No.2 Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic made light work of their singles assignments, Krajinovic opening with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Yuichi Sugita before Djokovic sealed victory with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 win over Yoshihito Nishioka.
Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic completed the sweep with a 7-6(5), 7-6(4) win over Yasutaka Uchiyama and Ben McLachlan in the doubles.
“It was a great day at the office,” said captain Nenad Zimonjic. “In singles they were dominating from the first point, Filip and then Novak. And we knew that the doubles was going to be really tough, especially as every match counts. They did a great job winning in straight sets, two close tiebreaks, and they played well when it mattered. Now we’re looking forward to the next match against France tomorrow.”
Krajinovic extended his impressive Davis Cup record to seven consecutive singles wins with a comfortable victory in the opening match of the tie, dominating the contest as Sugita, a replacement for Uchiyama, failed to live with the world No.40’s metronomic rhythm in the extended rallies.
It was the consummate performance from Krajinovic, who showed no signs of nerves leading out his nation for their first assignment at Caja Mágica.
“It was a lot of pressure as we know that we had to lead Japan 1-0, but I played a good match – I had a lot of opportunities to break in the second set,” said the 27-year-old.
"It was a great day at the office - now we’re looking forward to the next match against France"
“I have a lot of experience in Davis Cup – the first time I played for Serbia I was 16 – and the guys are amazing and gave me a lot of support. We’re really excited for this week.”
The first set scoreline fails to tell the story of Djokovic’s start to the match as he took some time to find his feet on Caja Mágica’s Centre Court, having joined his teammates after the ATP Finals in London on Sunday.
The first four games lasted almost 20 minutes as Nishioka flitted around the court to keep Djokovic in check, breaking back immediately after slipping 2-0 behind. But a marathon fourth game finally fell the way of the Serb on his fifth break point, and from there he never looked back, wrapping up the set for the loss of just four more points before breaking twice more in the second set.
"I have a lot of experience in Davis Cup – the first time I played for Serbia I was 16 – and the guys are amazing and gave me a lot of support. We’re really excited for this week"
“It was a nervy start,” Djokovic said. “It took time to get used to playing on the court, to get used to the conditions and the lights. But I was pleased – Nishioka is a tricky player, I’ve never faced him before, but he’s got some of the quickest legs on the tour.”
Playing what will be his last event at the Davis Cup Madrid Finals, Tipsarevic was the star of the show when it mattered in the doubles, firing forehand winners in the first tiebreak and backhand winners in the second as the Serbs edged to a straight-sets win.
“The emotions are still not here yet,” Tipsarevic said when asked about playing his final event before retirement. “I’m still thinking there’s a long way to go before I start feeling the emotions that this is my last competition. We have a strong team with a good captain, so I really hope there are many more matches to come before I finally say goodbye.”
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