Croatia struck: they beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia and became the first finalist in the Davis Cup in 2021. The doubles sealed the victory in the semifinal series 2-1, in Madrid, on a hard surface and indoors.
The world’s No. 1 couple, formed by Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, achieved a key victory in one hour and 12 minutes over Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic with a score of 7-5 and 6-1.
Serbian team captain Viktor Troicki had changed the formation of the decisive doubles match in the semifinal against Croatia to include Krajinovic to pair with Djokovic, replacing Nikola Cacic, as announced before the singles.
A while earlier, Djokovic, world tennis leader, tied the Davis Cup semifinal 1-1 with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Marin Cilic, which meant little wear and tear and left him the strength to play the doubles. .
But the category and timing of Mektic and Pavic was key. A break at the end of the first set was essential, in a European duel with a long history of rivalry.
Rivals since 2008, old connoisseurs also of Davis – both have been champions – Djokovic and Cilic were hardly surprised. And he again weighed the level of No. 1 ATP in that single, the second in the series.
In the afternoon, the activity had started with another surprise success from Borna Gojo, who beat the Serbian Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-3 and 6-2 in the first point.
“It’s a great confidence boost,” he said. “I don’t have the opportunity to play with guys like these many times and I’m happy to have won. If I had been alone, I would have gone crazy and thrown the racket. But being with the team you have more responsibility and you have to keep pushing. I went able to refocus on what I had to do, “he said at a press conference.
Both antecedents, in 2010 and 2015, resulted in a clear victory for the Serbs, once at each one’s home and never on neutral ground, as happened at the Madrid Arena, the venue for the current final phase.