INNSBRUCK/STARNBERG, November 26, 2021
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has returned to the Finals to spearhead Serbia’s quest for a second Davis Cup title. Serbia won their opening tie in Group F 3-0 against Austria, one of the competition’s three host countries, on Friday afternoon in Innsbruck.
In the second singles rubber, Djokovic defeated Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 to give his team an unassailable 2-0 lead. The 34-year-old from Belgrade won 83 per cent of his first-service points and capitalized on two of his five break-point chances to secure victory in 59 minutes.
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 26, 2021
“It feels great to play for Serbia again,” Djokovic said after his 35th Davis Cup singles win, the most ever by a Serbian player. “We are part of an individual sport, but I love to play for my country and I try to play when they need me. It has been a long year, but you always find extra motivation playing for your country.”
Lajovic fights past Melzer
Earlier in the day, Dusan Lajovic had to go the distance to overcome World No. 287 Gerald Melzer 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 to give Serbia a 1-0 lead. The World No. 33 fired 29 winners and recovered from squandering a break advantage in the third set, converting his fourth match point to seal victory in two hours and 42 minutes.
“It is the Davis Cup. It is the emotions, the stress, the pressure,” Lajovic said. “It is the tight moments all the time. He played some good tennis in the past couple of months, and had confidence and showed it today, playing great tennis. My team helped me so much and I want to wish Novak [Djokovic] good luck for the next match.”
Melzer, who missed more than two years on the circuit with a chronic ankle injury, made his first Davis Cup appearance since 2018. The 31-year-old showed some solid performances during the South American clay-court swing on the ATP Challenger Tour over the last two months crowned by lifting the trophy of the DirecTV Open Bogota in Colombia.
“To be honest, he actually wasn’t on my radar for the Finals,” Davis Cup captain Stefan Koubek told Tennis TourTalk during his virtual pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday. Two days later, Melzer was on the court at the Olympiahalle to represent his country for the first time in three years and – despite the result – he disappoint his team.
“I felt like I was the better player, so it was painful to lose the first set. I came back in the second. Also in the third I think I had my chances to even go up a break,” said Melzer.
In the doubles rubber, Nikola Cacic and Filip Krajinovic battled past Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 after two hours and seven minutes to complete a clean sweep for Serbia.
DAY TWO RESULTS
Group A – Spain defeated Ecuador 3-0
Madrid Arena, Madrid, Spain
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. Roberto Quiroz (ECU) 6-3 6-3
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) d. Emilio Gomez (ECU) 5-7 6-3 7-6(5)
Pablo Carreno Busta/Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Gonzalo Escobar/Diego Hidalgo (ECU) 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(2)
Group F – Serbia defeated Austria 3-0
Olympiahalle, Innsbruck, Austria
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) d. Gerald Melzer (AUT) 7-6(5) 3-6 7-5
Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-3 6-2
Nikola Cacic/Filip Krajinovic (SRB) d. Oliver Marach/Philipp Oswald (AUT) 7-6(4) 4-6 6-3
Group E – Italy defeated USA 2-1
Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) d. Reilly Opelka (USA) 6-3 7-6(4)
Jannik Sinner (ITA) d. John Isner (USA) 6-2 6-0
Rajeev Ram/Jack Sock (USA) d. Fabio Fognini/Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 7-6(5) 6-2