BELGRADE, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Serbian world number two Novak Djokovic forced the Davis Cup final against holders Czech Republic into a decisive fifth rubber on Sunday with a 6-4 7-6(5) 6-2 win over Tomas Berdych in the opening reverse singles.
The home team’s Dusan Lajovic will face Radek Stepanek with Serbia chasing their second title after beating France in 2010, while the Czechs aim to become the first team to retain the silverware since Spain won back-to-back honours in 2008 and 2009.
Djokovic came out on top after a titanic tussle in the opening two sets, converting his 10th break point in the final game of the first to gain the upper hand and then clinched a rollercoaster tiebreak in the second after winning the last three points.
Both players produced tennis of the highest quality, rifling in aces, passing shots and volleys in a packed Kombank Arena where 17,000 fans created a cracking atmosphere.
Having failed to get back into the match after leading 4-2 in the tiebreak, Berdych was on the back foot in the third set as the effervescent Djokovic turned on the heat with the support of passionate home supporters and a brass band playing an ancient Serb battlesong.
He broke the Czech’s serve in the opening game of the third set and raced through it to seal his victory with an ace after two hours and 41 minutes of absorbing tennis, drawing a standing ovation from the terraces. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Alison Wildey)