Germany beats Novak Djokovic’s Serbia; Italy advance in Davis Cup
Even Novak Djokovic couldn’t help Serbia avoid losing to Germany in the group stage of the Davis Cup final.
After Djokovic helped Serbia equalize at 1-1 by beating Jan-Lennard Struff, the world’s highest-ranked male player immediately joined Nikola Cacic in doubles.
But German pair Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz showed more courage in a narrow 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 win to make the decision and the win tied 2-1.
“It’s a great performance to beat the team that has the world number 1,” said German captain Michael Kohlmann. “Before the draw we all thought we had a good chance. We really believed in it and it paid off.”
Serbia could still advance to the quarter-finals, which will include two finalists with the six group winners. But Germany can seal their place as Group F winners with a victory over Austria, which Serbia have already beaten.
Playing without an audience in Innsbruck due to virus restrictions imposed by Austrian authorities, Germany took the lead when Dominik Koepfer defeated Filip Krajinovic 7-6, 6-4.
Djokovic beat Struff 6-2, 6-4 in the Serbs’ 50th Davis Cup game. After a short break he was back for the double which lasted over two hours.
“We will have to wait until tomorrow and see (if we move forward),” said Serbian captain Viktor Troicki.
“Filip had a hard blow, and in doubles, what to say after that game? A 7-6 loss in the third (set), and we had a lot of chances. I’m still proud of my team. T our day at the end. I hope we still have a chance. “
Italy became the first team to reserve their place in the last eight after beating Colombia to take two points in Group E, which they also share with the United States.
Lorenzo Sonego defeated Nicolas Mejia 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, and Jannik Sinner followed with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Daniel Elahi Galan, in the matches in Turin.
Second Daniil Medvedev helped Russia beat Ecuador, setting up a clash with Spain to decide who will win the group.
Medvedev beat Emilio Gmez 6-0, 6-2 after breaking his serve five times to give Russia an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
“I wanted it to stay clean from the first to the last point of the game and I’m happy to bring the point to the team,” said the US Open champion.
Andrey Rublev, fifth, started the game with a tougher than expected 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 win over Roberto Quiroz. Rublev returned to help Aslan Karatsev win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 doubles against Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo.
Defending champions Russia and Spain have one point in Group A, which is played in Madrid. They will meet on Sunday in the Spanish capital with the expectation of a good audience.
Great Britain, Australia and Kazakhstan also won their draw on Saturday.
Great Britain beat France 2-1 after winning both singles in Innsbruck. Daniel Evans beat Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 6-4, while Cameron Norrie beat Arthur Rinderknech 6-2, 7-6.
Norrie, 12th, defeated a dozen aces from Rinderknech after breaking her serve twice. Evans broke Mannarino’s serve three times.
Rinderknech teamed up with Nicolas Mahut to reclaim the double point for France by beating Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski 6-1, 6-4.
Great Britain and France have a point in Group C. Great Britain faces the useless Czech Republic, which has already lost to France on Sunday with the chance to seal its place in the quarter-finals.
Sweden were one win away from moving from Group B after Elias Ymer had nine aces to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-6 in the first single against Kazakhstan, played in Madrid.
But his brother Mikael Ymer fell to Alexander Bublik in three sets before the Kazakhs clinched the doubles return.
Bublik lost his first set but rebounded to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 while scoring 10 aces. Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov then dismissed Andre Goransson and Robert Lindstedt 6-3, 6-3.
Kazakhstan can win their sixth quarterfinal appearance if they beat Canada, which has already lost to Sweden.
Australia avoided elimination after coming from behind to dominate Hungary 2-1 in Turin.
Hungarian Zsombor Piros beat John Millman 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, but Alex de Minaur equalized after beating Marton Fucsovics in more than three hours, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6.
Australian pair Alex Bolt and John Peers then outlasted Piros and Fabian Marozsan 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
Australia, 28 times winners, have one point from two draws in Group D. Croatia have one point before facing Hungary, who have zero.
“It was a war of attrition (for de Minaur),” said Captain Lleyton Hewitt.
“In doubles our boys were in control, but you never know in doubles. But I think we really deserved it.
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