After Friday’s singles, in which logic prevailed, although barely in the case of Milos Raonic, Saturday’s doubles rubber became a must-win for Canada if they wanted to keep their hopes alive in the semifinal opposing them to Serbia.
Djokovic dominates logically
Novak Djokovic, despite having played the U.S. Open final only four days before and having only joined his team-mates late on Wednesday afternoon, was the logical choice to triumph in the first rubber, against Vasek Pospisil.
It is not that Pospisil played a bad match. He was, simply, no match for the World n°1, who easily won the first point for the home team, 6-2 6-0 6-4, in 1h40.
After all, Nole is not currently one of the three best clay-court players of the ATP (along with Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer) for nothing, and his performance in this first rubber, although at times, perhaps, not to his liking, was of the most convincing against a rival who is not very comfortable on that surface.
Raonic edges Tipsarevic in a marathon
The second singles rubber nearly went the way of Janko Tipsarevic and a 2-0 lead for the home team against Canada’s n°1 player, Milos Raonic.
The Serbians even admitted having chosen a slow indoor clay court in order to smother Raonic’s powerful serve, a surface where he cannot do as much damage.
However, despite spraining his ankle early in the third set, and despite 83 unforced errors, it is the Canadian who prevailed, saving one match point and making 105 winners (including 34 aces) to edge Tipsarevic, 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-3 10-8, in a 4h11 marathon.
A well-earned triumph for Raonic, and another tough loss for Tipsarevic, who won only five points less than his rival (165 to Raonic’s 170), which sent both teams to the doubles levelled at 1-1.
Nestor and Pospisil clinch a must-win rubber
With the semifinal tied at 1-1, the doubles was even more crucial for the Canadians. A loss, and the tie was almost assuredly lost, for Novak Djokovic should logically prevail over Milos Raonic.
A win, and it would force Djokovic to win to keep the tie alive, then put all the pressure on Janko Tipsarevic in a decisive rubber against Vasek Pospisil.
In the end, winning and joy were awaiting the visitors as Nestor and Pospisil triumphed over Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic in a 6-7(6), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-8, 4h21 marathon, showing that Belgrade-born Daniel Nestor is still, at 41 years of age, a force to be reckoned with, especially in Davis Cup, where he has been representing Canada for now 21 years.
A difficult loss for the locals, who now have their backs to the wall, hoping that logic will, indeed, prevail tomorrow in the first match reverse singles.
A huge win for the visitors, who are now in the driver’s seat, only one win away from reaching a first Davis Cup final.
The tables are set for tomorrow’s reverse singles. The only unknown is whether or not Milos Raonic will take the court against Novak Djokovic, as his injured ankle is still swollen, making his presence uncertain.
However, in all logic, the last Davis Cup finalist (the Czech Republic already qualified) might well be known in a decisive fifth rubber, which would be a very open one, between Janko Tipsarevic and Vasek Pospisil. Should this situation occur, considering Tipsarevic’s and Pospisil’s respective seasons, and the young Canadian’s past as Davis Cup hero, an upset is in the domain of the very possible.