Despite a Novak Djokovic singles win, defending champions Team Serbia crashed out of the ATP Cup last night after a close tie with Germany.
Serbian number two Dusan Lajovic lost the first match against Germany’s Jan-Leanard Struff, putting extra pressure on Djokovic to keep Serbia’s semi-finals hopes alive.
The world number one rose to the occasion in a tight encounter, coming back from a set down to Alexander Zverev to win his singles match 6-7, 6-2, 7-5.
Both Djokovic and Zverev then went immediately into a doubles clash representing their relevant countries with Germany eventually coming out top after a third set tie-breaker.
After the match Djokovic was quick to praise Zverev for his performance and said he’d enjoyed the ‘battle’ between them.
“It was a great match” said Djokovic.
“I thought Sascha was serving terrific, both singles and doubles today. He was a set up… I just returned well when I needed to and closed out the (singles) match.”
“We both got very tight, I think, [in] the last three games. He dropped his serve two times, I dropped my serve one time, match point, [and] lost that.
“I also came back in the last game, 6-5 in the third. It was a close one. I was 15/30 down and hit a big serve, almost 200km/h to his forehand.
“He was serving tremendously well, big second serves.
“It’s never easy playing against Sascha when he’s in form, and he’s in really good form. We pushed each other to the very limit, and I’m glad that I had such a battle with him.”
Team Serbia had been hoping to take the title for the second year running, but Djokovic was reflective on their exit.
“It’s unfortunate we lost the tie” he said.
“That’s what this competition is all about. It’s about the team, not about winning one match, (a) singles match. We’ll try another time.”
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