Djokovic's Double Duty Sends Serbia To Sydney
Djokovic and Viktor Troicki clinched the 2-1 tie victory in a deciding doubles match against France's Nicolas Mahut/Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-3, a win that was aided by a pro-Serbia crowd that waved their flags and roared after every point. Chants of “Serb-i-a! Serb-i-a! Serb-i-a!” reverberated off the Pat Rafter Arena roof.
Djokovic/Troicki saw four break points at 4-4 in the second set but the Frenchmen saved them all. The Serbians, however, dominated the Match Tie-break as Troicki served it out.
“I really show my emotion because I really care about playing for Serbia, but I also care about being on the team with my friends. These guys are some of my best friends in my life and I grew up with Viktor. We played so many doubles matches together in junior days,” Djokovic said.
Serbia wins Group A and becomes the second team to qualify for the Final Eight. Australia booked its place on Sunday as the Group F winners, also in Brisbane.
“We really feel not just like playing at home, even better than that. They're really fantastic, they're treating us unbelievable, and it was a great experience to play tonight in front of them,” Troicki said.
In singles, it took a few games, but Djokovic returned to his dominant self to force the finale. Djokovic beat Gael Monfils for the 16th time (16-0) 6-3, 6-2.
Serbia's No. 1 erased all seven break points faced in the first set, including two in the opening game. On return, he converted all three break points he saw. He and Monfils started their ATP Head2Head rivalry 15 years ago, at the 2005 US Open.
“I was unable to take the opportunities,” Monfils said. “He was very efficient on break points and I think the big points. Today I was a little bit struggling to win the big points.”
Highlights: Djokovic Stays Perfect Against Monfils
Paire, a three-time ATP Tour titlist, served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but was broken. Lajovic forced a tie-break, where Paire returned to his confident play, smashing flat backhands and cutting exquisite volleys to earn two match points at 6/4.
But Lajovic won the next four points to force a deciding set, and Paire was stunned. He broke two racquets, tossed a couple water bottles and needing consoling from Monfils, Nicolas Mahut and captain Gilles Simon.
“It was not easy. When you have a lot of chances and when you serve for the match, when you lead 6/4 in the tie-break, it's not easy," Paire said. "My team stayed with me, told me to stay focussed in the match. I was playing good so they told me to just keep like this and we'll see."
Highlights: Paire Regroups To Defeat Lajovic
He regrouped and attacked Lajovic's second serve to break in the 10th game of the deciding set and improve to 2-0 at the inaugural 24-team event.
The French No. 2 singles player credited the huddle with his teammates and coach for helping him maintain composure.
“Honestly, if I'm alone on court I can break more than the racquet; I can destroy all my racquets and leave the court. So that's why they told me, 'Just stay relaxed and you will see what happens. For the moment you play good, it's a good match, a lot of winners, some mistakes'. But it was very important for me to stay focussed for the team,” Paire said.
“When Gael came and told me, 'Yeah, you have to fight, you have to fight for the team', I did it, so that's why I'm happy.”