Novak Djokovic leads Serbia beats Austria in the Davis Cup Finals
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic secured a victory for Serbia, 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez got defending champion Spain off to a solid start.
In the Davis Cup Finals on Friday, top-ranked Novak Djokovic clinched a victory for Serbia, 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez got defending champion Spain off to a strong start, and a young Italian squad cruised through the 32-time champion United States.
After Dusan Lajovic overcame Gerald Melzer in three sets to open the best-of-three series in Group F, Djokovic defeated Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 to establish Serbia a 2-0 lead over host Austria in Innsbruck. Djokovic now has a 15-match winning streak in Davis Cup singles matches.
“It’s amazing to be back playing for Serbia,” says the player “Djokovic, who helped Serbia win the Davis Cup in 2010, but failed to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics in either singles or mixed doubles, added. “It’s been a tough year, but playing for your nation always gives you drive.”
From 3-3 in the first set, Djokovic won seven straight games to seize control. “I’m pretty happy with how I finished today’s match,” he stated.
Djokovic was also supposed to participate in a crucial doubles match, but after winning his singles match, he was replaced by Nikola Cacic. With a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Roberto Quiroz at home in Madrid, Lopez handed Spain an early lead over Ecuador in Group A. Then, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6, Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Emilio Gomez (5).
When Carlos Alcaraz was forced to withdraw from the team after testing positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, Lopez was catapulted into singles play, with Spain already missing injured Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut.
Meanwhile, the United States got off to a shaky start in Turin against host Italy. In Group E, Lorenzo Sonego defeated Reilly Opelka 6-3, 7-6 (4) in his hometown, and Jannik Sinner crushed John Isner 6-2, 6-0. In doubles, Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock defeated Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (5), 6-2, bringing the score to 2-1. Even so, it was a promising start for an Italian squad that was missing its star player, Matteo Berrettini, who is injured.
“Today was a day of firsts: Sonego and Sinner made their Davis Cup debuts, I made my debut as captain, Musetti also made his debut and played with Fognini for the first time,” stated Filippo Volandri, Italy’s captain. “However, this is merely the beginning.”
On indoor hard courts, each match is a best-of-three series with two singles and one doubles match. The top six teams from each group, as well as the two second-place teams with the best set and game records, will progress to the quarterfinals. In Madrid, the semifinals and final will be held.
Lopez, who used to be ranked No. 12 in the world, has dropped out of the top 100 in both singles and doubles. His career has lasted so long that he has already begun his post-playing career as the event director for the Madrid Open.
“I still have a strong desire to play the game.” “This is self-evident,” Lopez stated. “I’ve been hoping for a chance like this.” I didn’t expect to be playing this week, but a lot of things transpired… I ended up having a fantastic game.”
The big-serving Opelka double-faulted to give Sonego the lone break of the match, and then made a couple more errors in the tiebreaker, allowing the Italian to win with a volley winner on his first match point. Isner, who is also one of the best servers on the circuit, only held serve twice against Sinner, a 20-year-old newcomer to the top-10.
“I can’t recall ever losing a match so easily,” Isner added. “Perhaps this is the first… There were no free points for me. It was quite difficult for me. He was locked in. He has a lot of confidence and hits the ball exceptionally well… I don’t think I could have beaten him tonight even if I had played at my very best.”