Coming into today’s rubbers with a 1-2 deficit, Serbia faced a monumental challenge in trying to win its first ever Davis Cup title. Yet, with an inspired performance from Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki, disappointment would not be in the cards. Backed by a raucous home crowd, the Serbs carried both singles matches against France to claim their initial Davis Cup title.
On Friday, Gael Monfils put France in the driver’s seat with a 6-1,7-6,6-0 victory over Janko Tipsarevic. Subsequently though, Djokovic dispatched a pesky Gilles Simon 6-3,6-1,7-5 to square the ties at one all.
On Saturday, Nenad Zimonjic and Troicki blew a two set to love advantage as Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement roared back to triumph 3-6,6-7,6-4,7-5,6-4.
With France ahead 2-1 and only three prior nations overcoming a doubles loss to take the Davis Cup, it was a near certainty that the Frenchmen would prevail. France could almost taste its tenth title, its first time since 2001.
In the opening rubber this afternoon, Djokovic took on Monfils. With his steady play, Djokovic quashed Monfils 6-2, 6-2,6-4 to push a decisive tie.
Picking style over substance, Monfils attempted an ill advised shot at 30-0 which proved unsuccessful. A series of errors followed to give Djokovic his initial break and a 3-1 lead. After a forehand up the line winner for break point, Monfils committed another mistake. Eventually, Djokovic expanded his advantage to 4-1 and broke a second time to wrap up the first set.
Despite a better start to the second set, serving at 2-3, Monfils made three consecutive miscues to go down love-40. When the Frenchman sent another backhand down the line long, Djokovic secured the break and consolidated for 5-2. With great defense, Djokovic obtained triple break/ set point. When Monfils’ slice forehand found the net, Djokovic pocketed the second set.
A Monfils double fault handed Djokovic a break point to commence the third set. Next, a called double fault which would have given Serbia the break was overturned by a Monfils challenge. Two more break points ensued, but, Monfils held serve for 1 all. Then, the Frenchman turned the tables on Djokovic, breaking for a 2-1 edge. France appeared revived. However, unable to escape his nature, in selecting bad shots, Monfils saw his advantage go up in smokes. Later though, Monfils provoked a forehand mistake from Djokovic to get double break point and by crushing a forehand winner up the line, Monfils converted for 4-3. Still, Djokovic promptly redeemed himself to level the set. After a comfortable game for 5-4, on a Monfils double fault, Djokovic arrived at double match point. With Monfils netting a backhand, Djokovic gave the thousands in the arena what they had hoped for, a fifth rubber.