With the aid of their top stars, Serbia advanced to their second BNP Paribas Final with dominant performances in the reverse singles action today. World no. 1 Novak Djokovic (Player Info) defeated Milos Raonic (Player Info) 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-2, while Janko Tipsarevic (Player Info) prevailed over Vasek Pospisil (Player Info) 7-6(3) 6-2 7-6(6) for a perfect 2-0 in the final day of the tie.
Serbia levelled the score early on at 2-2 with their reliable star player Djokovic, who whipped out Canadian no. 1 Milos Raonic in straight sets to force a deciding rubber between the two nations. The Serb took an early lead in the match when he rushed to a 4-2 lead in the opening frame. The Ontario native responded with aggressive play and pressured the world no. 1 until he managed to break his serve to force a tiebreak. It was here that Djokovic unleashed a barrage of forehand strikes to take the tiebreak in dominant fashion.
The second two sets were far from competitive as Raonic appeared dumbfounded on the clay courts only held serve four more time for the remainder of the match. He was simply incapable of withstanding the thunderous power conveyed by the 6-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic captivated the adoring crowd with superb shot-making in the second two sets and even displayed raw emotion after prevailing over the Canadian no. 1 to set up a fascinating climax to conclude the tie.
“I think trying to use my serve efficiently and attack the second ball.” Djokovic said after the match, “On the other hand, the most crucial thing in the match for me was the turf and to try to neutralize his serve. It’s not easy to read. He is one of the biggest servers on the tour. If that element of his game is not working well, then I am capable of stepping in and control the base.”
Although he was disappointed with his performance in his own match, Raonic was confident that teammate Pospisil was “capable” of sealing the tie.
“We believe in Vasek. We think he’s capable. We love to see the commitment and passion from the fans.”
The fifth rubber was the first professional encounter no. 41 ranked Pospisil and world no. 23 Tipsarevic’s and turned out to be an entertaining struggle between two capable talents. Tipsarevic, with the support of the Serbian crowd at the Belgrade Arena, attacked the 23-year-old’s serve but Popspisil valiantly held serve to make it to a tiebreak in the first set. A few remarkable volleys from Tipsarevic secured an early mini-break and he took the first set 7-6(3).
The Serb continued to pressure Pospisil early in the second set and secured an early break point for a 3-0 lead. The Vancouver native had nursed an elbow injury early in the first set and it appeared to pester him further in the second set. The 23rd ranked Tipsarevic took advantage of the opportunity and clutched the set 6-2. The third set was much of the same as Tipsarevic devastated Pospisil’s forehand to break ahead once again, yet Pospisil refused to surrender the match and forced his way back into the set and into a deciding tiebreak. To the delight of the Serbian crowd, Tipsarevic edged ahead in the tiebreak and ultimately won the match for his country.
“This is really special, one of the happiest moments in my professional career.” said Tipsarevic. “Tennis as a sport is probably number one in the country. Serbia, 10 or 15 years ago, had a lot of political problems and tennis was the last thing on people’s minds, but not any more. “I think it will be a pretty open match against the Czech Republic. They have Tomas Berdych of course and have a strong doubles team. It’s going to be very tough and I expect a very dramatic final.”
Serbia will return to the Davis Cup Finals for the first time since their historic run to the title in 2010. They will meet defending champion Czech Republic on November 15-17.