MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic rallied to overhaul Alexander Zverev 6-7(3) 6-2 7-5 in a high quality ATP Cup clash and help defending champions Serbia level their knockout tie against Germany after Spain qualified for the semi-finals in Melbourne on Friday.
A year after crashing out of the inaugural ATP Cup with a huge tally of double-faults, Alexander Zverev’s serving demons returned under pressure at Rod Laver Arena when he was broken twice late in the deciding set.
Uncharacteristically, Djokovic also dropped serve when looking to close out the match but made no mistake on his second chance, as Zverev conceded with a backhand that sailed long.
“I thought it was a great match. I thought we both played well,” Djokovic said on court after extending his unbeaten record to 11-0 at the ATP Cup.
“He definitely had a big serving match. It was so difficult to play against him today.
“Obviously in the last couple of games we were both quite tight.”
The Group A tie will be decided by the doubles, with Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff having beaten Dusan Lajovic 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the earlier match at Rod Laver Arena.
The winners will join Spain, Russia and Italy in the semi-finals.
With Rafa Nadal still sidelined with a back problem, Pablo Carrena Busta guided a depleted Spain into the last four by claiming a 6-3 6-4 win against Greece’s Michail Pervolarakis at John Cain Arena.
Though eliminated, Greece ended up winning the tie 2-1, with Stefanos Tsitsipas easing past Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 7-5.
Spain retired after losing the opening game of the doubles, handing Greece the win.