The Serbian Davis Cup team is in a tight spot as they will need to win the final two rubbers on the third day of the tie to ensure their second ever championships. With Berdych and Stepanek’s win yesterday in the doubles rubber, and Novak Djokovic’s (Player Profile) surprising absence from the contest, there is added pressure on the World No. 2 to perform at his best against the Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych (Player Profile). A loss tomorrow afternoon would mean the end of Serbia’s dream of regaining the Davis Cup, while a win would leave the decision in the hands of Radek Stepanek and Dusan Lajovic in the fifth and final rubber. Check out the Djokovic vs Berdych Head to Head.
Djokovic won his opening rubber against Radek Stepanek in straight sets but it was not one of the former No. 1′s best performances. He appeared shaky and tired in the opening set as he took an early lead over Stepanek but failed to serve out the first set at 5-3 as he committed an unusual amount of errors, eventually closing out the set 7-5. He would play a more relaxed game the following two sets to secure the early lead over the Czech Republic.
In a relatively comfortable performance, Berdych broke once in each of the first two sets, and twice in the third to earn the victory in 2 hours and 54 minutes against Lajovic. The Serb had replaced the injured Tipsarevic but was unable to take on the role of the team’s saviour. Berdych is aware of the tough task ahead of him, so he admits that it was vital for their team to win the doubles contest today.
“When you look at Novak and how he is playing it’s like Playstation. So the best way is to unplug electricity.”
This is the 17th meeting between the two top competitors and their second at the Davis Cup. Their last encounter was in the 2010 semi-finals, where Serbia topped Czech Republic 3-2 in the tie. The meeting between Djokovic and Berdych three years ago also took place in the fourth rubber, with Djokovic leaving victorious with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 scoreline. Considering that meeting also took place on the hard courts in Belgrade in front of the electric Serbian crowd, it is likely that Djokovic will be expected to win that relatively comfortable fashion. While their last Davis Cup contest was three years ago, Berdych was taking part in his best year on the tour in 2010 and was still unable to topple the Serb. He has since defeated Djokovic only once on the ATP tour, brining their overall record to 14-2 in favour of Djokovic. While the pressure may be on Novak to win, he is generally more than capable of living up to expectations.
Prediction: Djokovic in Four Sets
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