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‘It’s a huge disappointment’

Updated on: 27 November,2023 07:48 AM IST  |  Malaga (Spain)

Dejected Djokovic blames himself for Serbia’s 1-2 semi-final defeat to Italy; Sinner shimmers

‘It’s a huge disappointment’

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the Davis Cup semi-final against Italy in Spain on Saturday. Pics/AFP

Novak Djokovic said he accepts responsibility for Serbia’s Davis Cup semi-final defeat to Italy on Saturday night after failing to convert three match points against Jannik Sinner. 

The World No. 1 had his Italian counterpart on the ropes in the second singles rubber at 5-4 up, but allowed Sinner to recover and win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to force the doubles decider. 

Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic, who had won the opening singles rubber against Lorenzo Musetti, were defeated by Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-4 and leave Malaga disappointed.  “For me, personally, it’s a huge disappointment, because I take the responsibility, obviously having three match points, being so close to win it,” Djokovic told reporters.

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‘It’s unfortunate’

“Yeah, it’s unfortunate really. This is sport. When you lose for your country, you know, the bitter feeling is even greater.” Djokovic said it was “tough to swallow” the defeat, in a competition he was desperate to win with Serbia for the second time after their only triumph in 2010, which he was part of. 

The 36-year-old Serb, a record 24-time men’s Grand Slam winner, said he thought world number four Sinner’s level might dip, but the Italian was relentless. 

“I know Jannik’s quality, but, you know, I was thinking maybe he’s gonna drop a little bit, you know, in the doubles, but he didn’t,” said Djokovic.

Sinner, a clear winner

“He kept the level extremely high, and at the end of the singles match, also third set, I had a lot of chances to break him and was in his service games, but every time he needed, he found the serve.” 

Djokovic congratulated Sinner, who has now beaten him three times in four matches across 11 days. Sinner won in the ATP Finals group stage last week but Djokovic responded by beating the Italian to win the trophy. “They deserved it, they played really well, particularly Jannik, in singles against me and then doubles, as well,” added Djokovic. “He barely missed the ball the entire match ... you can only say congrats.”

Jannik SinnerJannik Sinner

It means a lot for us: Italy’s Jannik Sinner

A “proud” Jannik Sinner beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic twice in one day to send Italy into the Davis Cup final with a 2-1 win over Serbia on Saturday in Malaga. Italy, who won the trophy for the first and only time in 1976, will face 28-time winners Australia on Sunday. “For me it’s the first time we can play a final in Davis Cup, it means a lot for us. I have to be really proud about how I handled the situation,” said Sinner.

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