Djokovic double as Serbia reach Davis Cup semi-finals


Net gain: Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Kazakh Alexander Bublik © AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO

Madrid (AFP), December 1 – World number one Novak Djokovic doubled down to lead Serbia to the Davis Cup semi-finals for the fifth time on Wednesday with a victory from behind over Kazakhstan.

Serbia, 2010 champions, will face their Croatian neighbors for a place in the final.

Djokovic comfortably retained his 10-year unbeaten Davis Cup record, beating 36th Alexander Bublik, 6-3, 6-4 in 77 minutes to tie the quarter-final at 1-1.

The 34-year-old then teamed up with Nikola Cacic to defeat Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the deciding double.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mikhail Kukushkin saved four match points to defeat Miomir Kecmanovic and give the Kazakhs the opening point of the quarter-final.

Kukushkin, the world 182, triumphed over Kecmanovic, 69th, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (13/11) after more than three hours on the court.

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic has not lost a single game in the competition since his withdrawal to Juan Martin del Potro in Serbia’s semi-final loss to Argentina in 2011.

His victory over Bublik, secured by a break in either set, was his 18th in a row in singles.

Kecmanovic, preferred by top-ranked Serbia captain Viktor Troicki Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic, was on course for victory after winning seven straight on his way to a 3-0 lead in the deciding game in of the opening clash of the day.

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“You know this kind of game will definitely be special in my life,” said Kukushkin, 33, of Russian origin.

“I don’t even know what the score was in the tie-break. That’s why we love Davis Cup, it’s about those kinds of matches.

“I am so honored to play for my country. Our fans are the best in the world. They have given that kind of support for so many years. I fought a lot, it was such a difficult game.

Germany will face either Sweden or Russia in the other semi-final, with the final also being played in Madrid on Sunday.

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