Serbia is in the Davis Cup semi-finals for the fifth time after a thrilling comeback over Kazakhstan. Mikhail Kukushkin put the wheels in motion for the Kazakhs to give a huge surprise by beating Miomir Kecmanovic 76 (5), 46, 76 (11) in an extraordinary match of 3 hours and 18 minutes, the longest and most dramatic of the Finals.
But then Novak Djokovic came back for Serbia. The world number one easily beat Alexander Bublik 63, 64 to equalize the tie and then came back to win the decisive doubles match 62, 26, 63 alongside Nikola Cacic against Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Serbia will now face archrival Croatia in the semi-finals on Friday. For Djokovic, it was an emotional night, and then he reflected on why winning a tie like this for Serbia is still such a thrill. "I think I am most proud of our fighting spirit," he said.
“I am proud of this team and I think we deserve to be in the semi-finals. Team competitions, particularly the Davis Cup, which is the most historic team competition we have in our sport, provokes the most beautiful emotions in me.
I am very motivated to play for Serbia." Captain Viktor Troicki praised Djokovic as the "savior and hero of our team" and praised him for his efforts." I am very grateful to have him as a fan and also as their captain. He did a lot for our tennis, not just in the Davis Cup, but in our entire nation.
He is giving everything for the team. Playing all the time, winning all the time, it's a lot of pressure."
Djokovic and Cacic did well
Novak Djokovic led Serbia to the semifinals of the Davis Cup, setting up a final four clash with Croatia after defeating Kazakhstan.
During his post-match conference, he spoke about how much playing in the Davis Cup meant to him. He also talked about the team's performance as well as his own. "I have spoken about the importance of the majors, and I don't know if you have seen it or heard it, but always when I said what are the biggest priorities for me at this stage of my career, I always said it's Grand Slams and playing for national team.
Those are the two most important goals, let's say, that I have throughout the years." After winning his singles match to level terms in the quarterfinals, Djokovic still thought the doubles match could go either way. He hasn't played much with Nikola Cacic and this was the decisive tie.
"Then again, as I said, doubles, anybody's game. Niko and I did not play too many times with each other, and this kind of format in Davis Cup, doubles are super important, you know, because if you lose one singles, doubles are deciding.
That was in our minds, of course, but I think we did very well to bounce back after second set, find the right energy and encouragement from our team, from our captain. Huge relief, but also excited about the next challenge."