Imperious Novak Djokovic sent Serbia into a Davis Cup semi-final against Croatia as the world number one inspired a comeback victory over Kazakhstan in Madrid on Wednesday.
Serbia had its back to the wall when Kazakh veteran Mikhail Kukushkin beat debutant Miomir Kecmanovic in a three-hour epic in the first singles rubber.
But Djokovic calmly levelled the tie with a straight-sets defeat of Alexander Bublik before returning to court to team up with Nikola Cacic and beat Kazakh pair Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
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Djokovic has played five out of a possible six rubbers at the Davis Cup Finals so far and looks in the mood to take the team to the title it won memorably in Belgrade in 2010.
When Cacic, who had struggled at times, drilled a low return to enable Serbia to clinch victory on their third match point, Djokovic and his team mates celebrated loudly.
Kazakhstan, who was cheered throughout by a noisy band of followers in the Madrid Arena, has now lost all six Davis Cup quarter-finals it has contested.
“I’m proud of the fighting spirit; we dropped off in the second set but we bounced back and held our nerves, I’m proud of Nikola and proud of this team,” Djokovic said on court.
Serbia will take on Croatia on Friday in Madrid with the other semi-final between Germany and either the Russian Federation or Sweden.