Tennis – Davis Cup Quarterfinals – Serbia v Kazakhstan – Madrid Arena, Madrid, Spain – December 1, 2021 Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan celebrates after his singles match against Miomir Kecmanovic REUTERS / Susana Vera’s Serbia
December 2, 2021
MADRID (Reuters) – Serious Novak Djokovic brought Serbia into the Davis Cup semi-finals against Croatia as the world number one that inspired a comeback win over Kazakhstan in Madrid on Wednesday.
Serbia counter-attacked when former Kazakh veteran Mikhail Kukushkin defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in a epic three-hour match in the first singles event.
But Djokovic calmly leveled with a loss to Alexander Bublik in a straight set before returning to the court with Nikola Cacic and beating Kazakhstan pair Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-2 2-6 6-3.
Djokovic has played five of the six possible at the Davis Cup Finals so far and is in the mood to take the team to the memorable title they won in Belgrade in 2010.
When Cacic, who struggled in the second set, struck back low to help Serbia win their third match, Djokovic and his teammates celebrated loudly.
Kazakhstan, who were cheered throughout by a rowdy band of spectators at the Madrid Arena, have now lost all six Davis Cup quarterfinals they have contested.
“I am proud of my fighting spirit; we gave up in the second set but we came back and kept our mentality, I’m proud of Nikola and proud of this team,” Djokovic said on the pitch.
Serbia will meet Croatia on Friday in Madrid with the semi-final remaining between Germany and the Russian Federation or Sweden.
Kazakhstan came close to the semi-finals as 33-year-old Kukushkin overcame a three-hour 18-minute battle against 22-year-old Kecmanovic.
He took a 2-5 lead in the deciding set and saved four match points before converting his fifth match point in a nerve-wracking tiebreak to win 7-6 (5) 4-6. 7-6 (11).
Kecmanovic made a little mistake but just couldn’t get rid of his opponent in a game that turned one way and another.
Serbia captain Viktor Troicki was voted to join world number 69 Kecmanovic ahead of more experienced picks and it seems to have paid off as the player completed the task.
Kukushkin, currently ranked 182 but once in the top 40, got off to a slow start when he dropped the opening serve game, but his experience showed as he took the first set by tiebreaker and led 4-2 with a tiebreaker. break in the second set.
However, Kecmanovic found another level, and won seven games in a row to claim the second set and take a 3-0 lead in the deciding set before Kukushkin scored.
Kukushkin saved five break points to avoid a 4-0 lead and, throwing caution into the wind, he saved three as Kecmanovic served 5-3.
Kecmanovic was the first to hit the match point in the tiebreak but beat a long forehand 6-5.
The Serbian showed great tenacity to take 4 points in the match but Kukushkin finally got the job done as he took the breaker with a score of 13-11.
Djokovic never struggled against the unpredictable Bublik in a 6-3 6-4 victory – his 17th consecutive singles win in the Davis Cup.
His class then tells the decider as he gets his team across the line.
(Reported by Martyn Herman, edited by Clare Fallon)
https://www.oann.com/tennis-kukushkin-wins-epic-to-give-kazakhs-lead-over-serbia-in-davis-cup-quarter-final/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tennis-kukushkin-wins-epic-to-give-kazakhs-lead-over-serbia-in-davis-cup-quarter-final Tennis-inspired Djokovic sends Serbia into Davis Cup semi-finals