Sunday, 5 December 2010
Djokovic levels the tie
U.S. Open runner-up Novak Djokovic doused Gael Monfils on Sunday to force a fifth and deciding rubber in the best-of-five Davis Cup final between host Serbia and France.
The world No. 3 Djokovic improved to 2-0 this week with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 handling of the 12th-ranked Monfils at Belgrade Arena. The Serbian star rolled in 2 hours, 14 minutes.
Monfils was threatening to get back into the match, as he served with a 4-3 lead in the third set, but Djokovic broke the acrobatic Frenchman, held his own serve, and then broke once again to close out the crucial rubber just like that.
Djokovic piled up seven service breaks on Day 3, compared to only two for Monfils, and tallied 33 more winners (94-61) en route to the clutch victory. The Serbian slugger managed three breaks in the tight third set.
The 2010 Davis Cup champion will be decided in Sunday's second reverse singles rubber between France's Michael Llodra and Serbian Viktor Troicki. The lefthanded Llodra was a last-minute replacement for Gilles Simon, while Troicki will step in for Janko Tipsarevic.
France grabbed a 2-1 lead here in Saturday's doubles bout when Llodra and Arnaud Clement, who trailed two-sets-to-love, came all the way back to stun their Serbian counterparts Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic 3-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Llodra and Clement needed 4 hours, 34 minutes to complete the gutsy comeback.
In Friday's opening singles, Monfils opened the best-of-five tie by pouncing all over Tipsarevic 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0, while the nightcap on the indoor hardcourts here saw the former Australian Open champion Djokovic humble Simon 6-3, 6-1, 7-5.
The visiting French, who are currently fifth in the Davis Cup rankings, are captained by Guy Forget, while the No. 4 Serbs are being led by Bogdan Obradovic.
The Serbs are playing in their first-ever Davis Cup final, while nine- time champion France is seeking its first title since 2001. Only the United States (32) and Australia (28) have lifted the Davis Cup more than the French.
Serbia is part of the former Yugoslavia, which went 4-4 all-time against the French in previous Davis Cup play. France and Serbia are meeting for the first time.