Serbia through to first Davis Cup final
Originally published on: 20/09/10 09:54
Janko Tipsarevic was crowned the hero of Belgrade after beating Radek Stepanek in the deciding rubber of Serbia’s Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic to book the hosts’ a spot in their first Davis Cup final.
With world No.2 Novak Djokovic missing from the first round of singles rubbers after coming down with gastroenteritis, it was left to Tipsarevic to anchor the team.
His opening victory against Tomas Berdych leveled the tie after Radek Stepanek has beaten Djokovic’s replacement Viktor Troicki.
And although Djokovic returned to partner doubles world No.3 Nenad Zimonjic in Saturday’s doubles rubber, the duo fell to their Czech counterparts in four sets to trail 2-1 going into the final day.
But after Djokovic leveled the tie once more with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Berdych, Tipsarevic routed Stepanek 6-0 7-6(6) 6-4 to send the 15,000-strong Belgrade Arena into raptures when he sealed victory on his third match point.
The Serbian players fell into each other’s arms, then dropped to the floor and formed a circle around a Serbian flag.
“Thank you, that’s what we needed, you raised us from the dead,” Tipsarevic told the Serbian fans.
They will now face France in the final after Gilles Simon and Arnaud Clement completed a 5-0 whitewash of Argentina in the other semi-final.
Elsewhere, Mardy Fish ensured that Patrick McEnroe’s tenure as US Davis Cup captain ended on a high note by winning a marathon fourth rubber to seal the tie against Colombia 3-1 and maintain the founding nation’s World Group status.
Fish’s 3-6 6-3 7-5 4-6 8-6 victory against Santiago Giraldo – his third win of the tie – denied the South American hosts their first appearance in the World Group.
Australia have missed out on their chance to rejoin the elite 16-team competition next year after losing both reverse rubbers against Belgium.
The 28-time champions had led 2-1 going into the final day’s play, which was delayed until Monday by rain in Cairns, but a 7-6(8) 6-4 6-7(0) 7-6(2) win for Olivier Rochus against Peter Luczak, who had replaced the injured Lleyton Hewitt, left the door open for a Belgian comeback.
And Steve Darcis duly delivered, downing Carsten Ball 7-6(4) 6-3 6-4 to maintain their World Group status for another year.