Friday, December 3, 2021

Croatia downs Djokovic, Serbia in Davis Cup semifinals

Novak Djokovic won in singles but lost in doubles today.
2019 photo by Harjanto Sumali
   The top-ranked doubles pair of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic lifted Croatia to a 2-1 victory over Serbia, featuring singles No. 1 Novak Djokovic, today in Madrid in the semifinals of the Davis Cup Finals.
   Mektic and Pavic, the reigning Wimbledon champions, defeated Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic 7-5, 6-1 in the deciding match.
   Borna Gojo had beaten Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to give Croatia a 1-0 lead. Djokovic pulled Serbia even with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open winner. Djokovic saved all eight break points against him, including four while serving for the first set at 5-4, and improved to 18-2 in the head-to-head series. 
   Gojo helped Wake Forest win its first NCAA team title and reached the singles final in 2018. Later that year, Croatia captured its first Davis Cup championship.
   Croatia will face the winner of Saturday's semifinal between the Russian Tennis Federation and Germany (live stream at 4 a.m. PST on and the CBS Sports App.) in Madrid on Sunday at 7 a.m. (CBSSN).
   The Russians have two of the top five singles players in the world, No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and No. 5 Andrey Rublev. Germany, meanwhile, is playing without No. 3 Alexander Zverev. The singles gold medalist in the Tokyo Olympics and recent ATP Finals champion boycotted the Davis Cup because of the format change two years ago.
   Juniors — Wild cards Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Md., and Michael Zheng, a Stanford commit from Montville, N.J., beat unseeded Gianluca Ballotta of Peru and Leanid Boika of Delray Beach, Fla., 6-1, 6-4 in the boys 18-and-under semifinals in the Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Fla.
   Kittay and Zheng are set to face No. 4 seeds Aleksander Orlikowsky and Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland on Saturday.
   Meanwhile, Rudy Quan of Sacramento, Calif., and Kristina Penickova of Campbell in the San Francisco Bay Area reached singles finals without completing their matches.
   Quan, a wild card, advanced by walkover against No. 2 seed Rei Sakamoto of Japan in the boys 16s. Penickova, seeded No. 3, defeated No. 11 Ana Avramovic of Orlando, Fla., 6-1, 3-0, retired in the girls 12s.
   Quan is scheduled to meet unseeded Lorenzo Carboni of Italy on Saturday. Carboni, who ousted No. 1 seed Juan David of Naples, Fla., in the quarterfinals, eliminated unseeded Andrew Delgado of High Point, N.C., 6-1, 7-6 (1). 
   Penickova is set to play No. 5 seed Anita Tu of Melbourne, Fla., on Saturday. Tu ousted No. 1 seed Lia Belibova of Moldova 6-4, 6-4.

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