11/22 11:13 CST Russia beats Serbia 2-1 to meet Canada in Davis Cup semis
Russia beats Serbia 2-1 to meet Canada in Davis Cup semis
By TALES AZZONI
AP Sports Writer
MADRID (AP) --- Novak Djokovic played singles and doubles matches but couldn't
prevent Serbia from losing to Russia 2-1 in the Davis Cup quarterfinals on
Djokovic defeated Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 in the second singles to even the
score at 1-1, then returned to the court about half an hour later to team up
with Viktor Troicki in the decisive doubles. They had three match points but
lost to Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8).
"It hurts really badly," Djokovic said. "These kinds of matches happen once in
maybe forever. That's it. The season is done and we're turning the next page."
The Russians converted on their first match point to put the team back in the
Davis Cup semifinals for the first time since 2008.
"Both teams had a lot of chances," said Rublev, who won the opening singles
against Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-2. "It was like a coin toss, and we won this
Russia will next face Canada, which eliminated Australia. The Russians are
seeking their third Davis Cup title, and first since 2006.
Serbia, the 2010 Davis Cup champion, was trying to return to the semifinals for
the first time since 2017, when the team lost to eventual champion France.
After his 15th straight Davis Cup singles victory, Djokovic struggled in the
doubles, although it was Troicki who squandered most of the chances in the
tight tiebreaker, including some during the match points.
"I probably feel the worst ever," Troicki said. "I never experienced such a
moment in my career, in my life. And I let my team down, and I apologize to
Djokovic, who hadn't played in the Davis Cup since 2017, couldn't hide his
frustration as Serbia trailed in the second set, complaining with the umpire
and hitting a ball deep into the stands after losing a point. He also requested
medical assistance on his right arm.
Serbia was trying to reach the last four for the fourth time since winning its
only Davis Cup title in 2010. It was runner-up once since then, in 2013.
Serbia cruised through the group stage without losing a set in singles. Its
only loss came in a dead doubles rubber against France.
Russia defeated defending champion Croatia in the group stage but then lost to
host Spain, advancing to the quarterfinals as one of the two best second-place
finishers. It was playing on two days' rest, while Serbia played on Wednesday
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