Davis Cup Finals 2021: Croatia Advances to Final After Semifinals Win over SerbiaDecember 3, 2021
One half of the 2021 Davis Cup Finals has been set after Croatia defeated Serbia 2-1 in Friday's semifinal match.
Croatia was one of the most dominant teams during the group stage of the tournament. It won five of six matches overall and went 11-3 in 14 sets. Serbia barely made it into the knockout stage as the final team in the field thanks to a better set record (9-6) than the Spanish squad (9-7).
Both teams made it through the quarterfinal by going 1-1 in singles matches and winning the doubles match.
Croatia has had tremendous success in this tournament in recent years. The country reached the final in 2016 before losing to Argentina. It got over the hump two years later by defeating France in the final.
Serbia was playing in its second semifinal since 2013. The country has only won one Davis Cup title (2010).
2021 Davis Cup Final Results - Semifinal
Borna Gojo (CRO) def. Dusan Lajovic (SER): 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Novak Djokovic (SER) def. Marin Cilic (CRO): 6-4, 6-2
Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic (CRO) def. Filip Krajinovic/Novak Djokovic (SER): 7-5, 6-1
Novak Djokovic remains the go-to player for Serbia when the team needs a win. After Dusan Lajovic lost in the opener to Borna Gojo, the world's top-ranked player went into his singles match with Marin Cilic with his back against the wall to keep his country's hopes alive.
In typical Djokovic fashion, he made things look fairly easy in a 6-4, 6-2 win over his longtime rival. The 34-year-old was fantastic on serve, winning 75 percent of his first-serve points (30 of 40).
Davis Cup @DavisCup
* chef's kiss * <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DavisCupFinals?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DavisCupFinals</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/byRakuten?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#byRakuten</a> <a href="https://t.co/AGXSCuR3Vb">pic.twitter.com/AGXSCuR3Vb</a>
Cilic had opportunities in the first set. He had six break-point chances that would have swung the momentum, but he was unable to convert on any of them.
The second set was virtually all Djokovic. He hit three of his four aces and forced Cilic to commit 16 errors. Djoker has won all four of his singles matches thus far in the tournament and was 5-1 overall leading into the decisive doubles match.
Gojo got the Croatians off to a hot start with a comeback win over Lajovic. The 23-year-old dropped the first set thanks to some sloppy play. He committed a total of 30 errors, including 18 forced by Lajovic.
The second set saw Gojo completely turn things around. He hit three aces, won 12 of 17 first-serve points and took two of his three break-point opportunities.
Lajovic also hurt himself similar to the way Gojo did in the first set. He committed 15 unforced errors in the second set and only converted 11 of 22 first-serve opportunities into points.
The third set was pretty much all Gojo, who was able to force Lajovic into committing 13 errors. Lajovic didn't have one break-point opportunity in the final set. The win moved Gojo's singles record to 3-0 in this tournament.
Going into the doubles match, Serbia could have gone with the tandem of Djokovic and Nikola Cacic. That duo capped off their comeback win over Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Instead, Filip Krajinovic was subbed in for Cacic. Things didn't work out for the Serbians, who fell in straight sets to the Croatian duo of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.
It looked like the match was going to be close with a back-and-forth first set. Both teams took care of business on serve. Djokovic and Krajinovic had a 7-1 advantage in aces.
The difference came because Mektic and Pavic were able to break Serbia on serve in the 7-5 set victory.
Davis Cup @DavisCup
Nothing between these teams 👏<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DavisCupFinals?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DavisCupFinals</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/byRakuten?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#byRakuten</a> <a href="https://t.co/i9Gh89AKlv">pic.twitter.com/i9Gh89AKlv</a>
Croatia dominated the second set, winning six of seven games to secure its spot in Sunday's final.
Russia and Germany will compete in the second semifinal on Saturday to determine who will oppose the Croatians.