Troicki seals Serbia’s maiden Davis Cup title
Originally published on: 05/12/10 23:46
Viktor Troicki etched his name into Serbia’s short sporting history with a 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory over France’s Michael Llodra in the decisive fifth Davis Cup final rubber to secure the fledgling nation’s greatest sporting triumph.
Troicki, who replaced Janko Tipsarevic in Sunday’s singles line-up for the hosts, had lost alongside Nenad Zimonjic to Llodra and Arnaud Clement in Saturday’s marathon doubles victory that gave the French a 2-1 lead coming into the final day of the tie.
But after Novak Djokovic dismantled Gael Monfils in the first of the reverse singles with a 6-2 6-2 6-4, the hopes of a nation chasing its maiden Davis Cup crown just 15 years after joining the competition rested on the 24-year-old’s shoulders.
Both captains opted to change their choice of No.2 players for the decisive rubber, with Llodra, undefeated in Davis Cup play in 2010, coming in for Gilles Simon.
Llodra began strongly, rushing the net incessantly and bringing up break points in Troicki’s firest service game, but Troicki soon got wise to the task in hand, settling down and picking his passing shots at will to dominate the first set.
Llodra did break at the start of the second, but it proved to be a false dawn as Troicki responded with a stunning eight-game streak that broke the 30-year-old’s spirit, a double-fault on break point at the start of the third all but ending his challenge.
The duo traded breaks mid-set but Troicki sealed the historic victory with a cross-court backhand return beyond the advancing Llodra after two hours and 12 minutes before being mobbed by his teammates.
Serbia are the 13th nation to win the Davis Cup in the 110-year history of the event.
“This is the most unbelievable moment of my life,” Troicki said afterwards.
“My players showed that they are mentally the strongest team in the world,” exclaimed Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic. “We showed we are No.1.”
“We had expected two difficult matches today,” France captain Guy Forget conceded. “But what we didn’t expect was that Viktor would be so good.”
Earleir in the day Novak Djokovic levelled the tie in blostering fashion in front of another raucous 16,000-strong Belgrade Arena crowd as he swept past Gael Monfils.
The world No.3 ran away with the first two sets, but had to survive a tense third, twice recovering from a break down before clinching victory.
“Under the circumstances, with huge pressure, I played an amazing match,” said Djokovic. “Everything was working.”
“It’s historic,” he added follwing Troicki’s victory. “This is our biggest success as individuals, as a team, as a country. We are not even aware of what we have done. This is the best moment of my career and probably of my nation. This is like winning the World Cup for us.”