Djokovic keeps Serbian hopes alive with victory over Zverev at ATP Cup
Following the loss of compatriot Dusan Lajovic to Jan-Lennard Struff earlier in the day, Djokovic needed to defeat Zverev in order to send the tie to a deciding doubles rubber match. The World No.1 is undefeated at the ATP Cup, having won all his singles and doubles matches last year to lead Serbia to victory. Furthermore, he defeated Canada's Denis Shapovalov in their first Group A match earlier this week, setting up a "win-or-go-home" scenario against the Germans.
The first set saw no breaks of serve, as each man was precise yet dominant on serve. A tiebreak ensued, with Zverev surprisingly gaining the upperhand before claiming the set 7-6(3).
Spurred on by the limited crowd, Djokovic rallied back to dominate the second set. The Serbian obtained two breaks, relying on his shot-placement and speed to frustrate the World No.7. It came as no surprise when Djokovic claimed the second set 6-2, forcing the match into a deciding final set.
With Zverev regaining his composure, neither man yielded a break till the ninth game. It was here that Djokovic's mental strength and experience prevailed, as he broke the young German to get a 5-4 lead and serve for the match. However, Zverev fought back, relying on his heavy groundstrokes to apply pressure and break back. Nonetheless, it was the defending Australian Open champion who emerged victorious, breaking his opponent one last time to serve out the match and escape with a 6-7(3) 6-2 7-5 victory in two and a half hours.
Tied at one apiece, the Group A clash will be decided by a doubles match. The winner will advance to face Russia in the semifinals, with Team Russia featuring the dangerous duo of Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev.
ATP Tour on Twitter: "Djokovic stays unbeaten at the @ATPCup! 👏 🇷🇸 #TeamSerbia & 🇩🇪 #TeamGermany are tied at 1-1 after @DjokerNole scores a thrilling 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5 win over Zverev. #ATPCup | #SRBGER https://t.co/8mxlcRSxg7" / Twitter