Djokovic keeps Serbia alive in desperate Davis Cup semi-final
Novak Djokovic rose to the occasion Sunday to give Serbia a fighting chance of reaching a first-ever Davis Cup final with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Tomas Berdych to level their semi-final tie 2-2 with the Czech Republic, dpa reported.
Home hopes were down to Janko Tipsarevic in the deciding fifth rubber as he played against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.
Djokovic, the losing US Open finalist on Monday, was unable to play his Friday opening rubber due to stomach illness and fatigue, and went down in Saturday doubles.
But the world number two staged a dramatic fightback on the final day indoors, recovering after losing the opening set and defeating the Wimbledon finalist Berdych in three and a quarter hours of battle.
Djokovic's win was not without drama, with treatment and a strapping on his knee after a fall as he lunged to try and return a smash midway through the second set, a stunning moment for 16,000 fans in the Belgrade arena.
The local hero managed to serve out the second set to turn the tide and seized the momentum from that point onwards.
The Serb had won two of their three previous meetings, with Berdych taking victory two months ago in a Wimbledon semi-final on the way to a losing title effort against Rafael Nadal.
Serbia is playing in its first World Group semi-final as an independent nation, bidding to reach a first Davis Cup final. Before this season, the Serbs had not won a World group tie.
The Czechs are aiming for back-to-back finals after losing 5-0 last December to Spain. The nation, formerly part of Czechoslovakia, won the trophy in 1980, beating Italy 4-1, and was runner-up in 1975.
Waiting for the winner of Belgrade will be nine-times champion France, who completed a 5-0 sweep of Argentina as new father Gilles Simon defeated Eduardo Schwank 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 and Arnaud Clement finished the weekend in Lyon over Horacio Zaballos, 7-5, 6-1.