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Italy sink Serbia to advance to Davis Cup final

Italy sink Serbia to advance to Davis Cup final
© Reuters
Jannik Sinner overcomes Novak Djokovic as Italy defeat Serbia 2-1 to advance to the final of the Davis Cup, where they will take on Australia.

Italy completed a remarkable turnaround to advance to the final of the Davis Cup with a 2-1 win over Serbia in Saturday's semi-final.

Miomir Kecmanovic got Serbia off to the perfect start with a 6-7[7] 6-2 6-1 beating of Lorenzo Musetti, but Jannik Sinner avenged his ATP Finals championship match defeat to Novak Djokovic with a mesmerising 6-2 2-6 7-5 win over the world number one.

Djokovic and Sinner would quickly return to the court for a winner-takes-all doubles clash also involving Kecmanovic and Lorenzo Sonego, where a 6-3 6-4 success for the Italians propelled Filippo Volandri's team into the showpiece match for the first time in 25 years.

Fresh from an enthralling success over Jack Draper in Serbia's quarter-final beating of Great Britain, Kecmanovic was off to a flyer against Musetti, breaking the Italian to 15 in his opening service game.

Kecmanovic's two-game advantage lasted until the world number 55 was attempting to serve out the set, as Musetti broke back at the most opportune time and fought back from 3-1 down in the tie-breaker to edge the opener.

However, the Italian was then made to pay for an untimely double fault in the sixth game of the second set, which allowed Kecmanovic to establish a 4-2 advantage, and the Serbian broke once more to level the contest with relative ease.

The wheels had well and truly come off for Musetti heading into the third set, as a fired-up Kecmanovic raced into a 5-0 lead and posted a third successive love hold to complete an emphatic fightback.

Sinner had all the motivation necessary to keep Italy's hopes alive at the hopes of Djokovic's, though, having fallen to the 36-year-old's superiority with the ATP Finals crown on the line, and the 22-year-old exploded out of the blocks with a double break for a 4-1 lead.

A rattled Djokovic quickly ceded the opening set, but history then repeated itself for Sinner, who lost the ATP Finals championship match on a double fault and was broken in the second set with an identical mistake.

Djokovic kept his unforced error count down to just three in the second set as the contest went the distance, and Italy were staring down the barrel of elimination in the 10th game of the final set, as Djokovic brought up three match points on the Sinner serve.

The 22-year-old had other ideas, though, as he astonishingly saved all three to hold right before breaking Djokovic himself in the 11th game, and a 12th ace of the day to bring up match point preceded a spectacular triumph.

There was little time for Sinner and Djokovic to recuperate as they joined forces with Sonego and Kecmanovic respectively for the pivotal doubles contest, where the Italians broke in the sixth game of a first set where the Serbians only managed two winners.

Following the restart, the two nations traded breaks in the third and fourth game of the second set, but the Serbians again found themselves with several break points in the sixth game - four to be exact - only to waste all of them.

Sinner and Sonego capitalised with a break of their own in the seventh, and with the Italians one point away from a date with Australia, Djokovic returned a Sinner serve into the net before the Azzurri celebrations began.

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts at the Davis Cup on November 23, 2023
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