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Djokovic pulls Serbia through to semis

Serbia reached the reformatted Davis Cup semi-finals in Madrid with a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan after the world No.1 Novak Djokovic came to the team’s rescue.

I’m proud of Nikola and this team and we deserve to be in the semi-finals Novak Djokovic

Mikhail Kukushkin won a thrilling opening rubber in which he saved four match points against Miomir Kecmanovic to defeat the Serbian 7-6(5) 4-6 7-6(11) after three hours, 18-minutes in what has proved to be the longest match of the week, and one of the best wins in the Kazakh’s career.

“It’s special,” said Kukushkin. “For us it’s always special. I’ve played in Davis Cup already 14 years. For us to play for our country, it’s a big honour. That’s why we give everything we can. We always fight till the very last point. Davis Cup matches are always No.1 priority.

“These kind of matches in Davis Cup motivate me to keep playing tennis. We play not for prize money or ranking points. Playing these kind of matches, to be on the big stage, big crowd, TV. It’s such drama on the court. That’s what motivates me to keep playing tennis.”

But then Djokovic stepped up to prevent the Kazhaks from progressing any further by first sweeping past Alexander Bublic 6-3 6-4 and then joining up with Nikola Cacic to lead the way in the doubles and defeat Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-2 2-6 6-3 after one hour and 39-minutes.

“This is our third match played together and every match is better. We are getting better on the court,” Cacic said. “We had a little bit of a problem in the second set actually, I got a little bit tight.

“But we managed to come back in the third set and I’m really happy.”

Novak Djokovic comes to the rescue

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Djokovic agreed on Eurosport: “We had a little drop energetically in the second set but we managed to bounce back. The start of the third set was crucial.

“The first couple of games we held our nerves and bridged the momentum to our side and that’s what we managed.”

“I’m proud of Nikola and this team and we deserve to be in the semi-finals.”

The Serbian captain Viktor Troicki concurred afterwards: “I’m proud of my team. The players gave their best. We were unlucky in the first match but luckily we made it through. Novak today was amazing in the singles and doubles, Nikola also helped him so much. I’m proud of the whole team.”

On Friday, Serbia will meet Croatia which means Marin Cilic and the tough doubles pairing of Mektic & Pavic, while Germany will find out who they face in their Saturday semi-final when the Russian Tennis Federation play Sweden and it will most likely be the former with the big-hitters Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev leading the way.



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