Canada’s Davis Cup semifinal with Serbia is headed to a fifth and deciding match after world No. 1 Novak Djokovic took down No. 11 Milos Raonic in straight sets on Sunday.
Djokovic won 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-2 in the first match of the day at Kombank Arena.
Canada’s hopes now rest with 23-year old Vasek Pospisil, who has to beat No. 23 Janko Tipsarevic for Canada to get their first ever berth in a Davis Cup final.
Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., came in with a slight ankle injury that he picked up in his win over Tipsarevic on Friday.
“I didn’t feel limited. I just felt like I was dealing with discomfort,” said Raonic in his post-match press conference.
“It was getting worse and worse, little by little and I was sort of trying to put it all out there and fight through that situation as much as I could and try to pretty much nullify it in my mind and get through as much as I can.”
Djokovic finished the two hour, eight minute long match with some sublime shot-making in the third set. Djokovic flourished on the clay court, a surface on which Raonic has had his struggles.
It was a close first set that took just over an hour with the players trading breaks in the fifth and sixth games before Djokovic took control early in the tiebreaker.
“I think I made one mistake on that tiebreak to make it 5-0, so I didn’t really make too many terrible errors,” said Raonic. “I wish I could have not kept falling behind first. I did get to break him twice but it was always when I was behind.”
The small bastion of Canadian support has been loud all weekend but Djokovic used the home crowd to his advantage when Raonic had a chance to break in the fourth game of the second set.
Djokovic fought off double break point and when he got back to deuce, he threw his hands into the air, imploring his compatriots to make themselves heard. They were more than happy to help, and when Djokovic won the game, he reacted with a big fist pump.
Serbia won their only Davis Cup to date in the same venue in 2010.
The winner will face the Czech Republic, which defeated Argentina in the other semifinal.