Djokovic Leads Serbia to Davis Cup Semifinals Against Italy

MALAGA, Spain:Novak Djokovic steered Serbia into the Davis Cup semi-finals with a straightforward 6-4 6-4 win over Britain’s Cameron Norrie to give his team a winning 2-0 lead on Thursday.

The 36-year-old world number one, looking to complete a remarkable year by helping his nation win the Davis Cup for the second time, was imperious as he outclassed Norrie.

Britain, missing the injured Andy Murray and Dan Evans, had banked on Jack Draper winning the opening singles against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic and their strong doubles partnership of Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski.

But world number 55 Kecmanovic produced a brilliant performance to beat Draper 7-6(2) 7-6(6) in a fierce battle.

That left Norrie needing to overcome record 24-times Grand Slam champion Djokovic for the first time in his career to keep the tie alive.

That never looked likely, however, as Djokovic, who won three of the year’s four Grand Slam titles and last week’s ATP Finals for a record seventh time, dissected the world number 18.

A single break of serve was enough for Djokovic in the opening set, the Serb silencing the raucous British fans with the clinical brilliance of his tennis.

Norrie dropped serve early in the second set but hung on grimly as he attempted to stall Djokovic’s march to victory.

It was futile in the end, though, as Djokovic wrapped it up with a flurry of aces to keep Serbia on course for a repeat of their 2010 triumph when Djokovic and his team mates famously shaved off their hair after victory over France in the final.

Earlier, in the Martin Carpena Arena which has seen big crowds for Final Eight, Italy kept alive their hopes of a first Davis Cup title since 1976.

The Dutch moved ahead as Botic van de Zandschulp won a titanic tussle against Matteo Arnaldi 6-7(6) 6-3 7-6(7).

But the in-form Sinner, beaten by Djokovic in the ATP Finals in Turin on Sunday, beat Tallon Griekspoor 7-6(3) 6-1 to send the tie to a deciding doubles.

Sinner teamed up with Lorenzo Sonego to beat Griekspoor and Wesley Koolhof 6-3 6-4 as Italy reached back-to-back semi-finals in the men’s team competition.

“It means a lot to me,” Sinner said. “But more importantly we’re through to the semi-finals. It’s the first time I can experience this.”