Serbia will meet Russia in the Davis Cup Finals quarter-final on Friday following another commanding triumph over France. Following his victory over Yuichi Sugita, Filip Krajinovic produced another excellent performance to topple Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-6 in an hour and 48 minutes and send Serbia in front.
Jo-Wilfried fired 18 aces but his second serve let him down, fending off nine out of ten break chances to stay in touch but never looking comfortable on the return, taking only 14 points there and wasting the only break point to propel Filip towards the finish line.
Krajinovic delivered one of his best serving performances of the season in the opening set, losing two points behind the initial shot and creating first break chances at 3-3. Tsonga fended off three of those to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard before Filip grabbed a break in the 11th game after a loose forehand from the Frenchman, securing the set with a service winner a few minutes later for a 7-5.
Jo-Wilfried survived three break points in the first game of the second set and earned that lone opportunity on the return at 2-1, denied by Krajinovic who leveled the score at 2-2 before eight solid holds on both sides to reach a tie break.
There, the Serb scored the crucial mini-break in the 12th point to wrap up the triumph and gain the momentum for Novak Djokovic who faced Benoit Paire in the second rubber. The Frenchman stood no chance against world no. 2 who scored a 6-3, 6-3 triumph in 70 minutes to push Serbia into the quarter-final.
Djokovic fended off two break chances in the very first game of the match, controlling the scoreboard after that and crumbling Paire with deep and accurate shots that proved to be too much to handle for world no 24. Novak grabbed a break in the eighth game and converted the third set point in the next game for a 6-3, looking good to bring the encounter home without any troubles.
Benoit suffered a break in the third game of the second set after a backhand down the line winner from Djokovic who landed a return winner at 5-3 to cross the finish line and complete another rock-solid performance from the Serbian squad ahead of the more challenging Russian test on Friday.