ATP Cup: Novak Djokovic edges Kevin Anderson as Serbia tops South Africa

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ATP Cup: Novak Djokovic edges Kevin Anderson as Serbia tops South Africa

In the first match of the day, Dusan Lajovic defeated Lloyd Harris 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes after a great fight. The young South African fired 15 aces but his second serve let him down, winning only 13 out of 33 points and suffering two breaks from eight opportunities offered to Dusan.

The Serb got broken three times but still did enough to cross the finish line first, despite the fact he couldn't steal rival's serve in the opening two sets. Lloyd had the upper hand in the opening set, dominating with serve and forehand to sail through his service games and delivering breaks in games one and nine for a commanding 6-3 advantage.

The youngster fended off four break chances earlier in the second set and it was Lajovic who produced one powerful hold after another, reaching the tie break and taking it 7-4 to force a decider. There, they traded breaks in games four and five to stay neck and neck before Dusan claimed 12 of the last 14 points, earning a break in game eight and sealing the deal in the next game to push Serbia in front.

In the battle of the top-ranked players, world no. 2 Novak Djokovic prevailed over Kevin Anderson 7-6, 7-6 after one of the most intense battles of the tournament so far. It was their 11th meeting and the ninth victory for Novak who had to dig deep to prevail in straight sets and secure the overall win for the Serbs.

It was a tight encounter right from the start, with one break on each side in the opening set and a lot of intense moments and crucial points that went to Djokovic in the end. World no. 2 made a convincing start, racing into a 4-1 lead before Kevin pulled the break back in game seven, fending off break chances a few minutes later to level the score at 4-4 and saving a set point at 5-6 to reach a tie break.

There, Novak grabbed three mini-breaks to take it 7-5 with an ace after grueling 75 minutes! Anderson had a colossal chance to take set number two, wasting three break chances at 4-3 and a set point at 6-5 in the tie break when his forehand caught the net.

Novak won the next point as well with a forehand winner, sealing the deal with a volley winner in the 14th point to emerge at the top and open the season with a win.