Novak Djokovic’s Serbia are out of the Davis Cup after a dramatic quarterfinal loss to Russia in Madrid.
The world No.2 levelled the tie with an impressive 6-3 6-3 victory over Karen Khachanov in singles on Friday after Andrey Rublev had thumped Filip Krajinovic 6-1 6-2.
Russia go on to face Canada, while the other semifinal will see hosts Spain take on Great Britain.
The semi-finals are set!
???????? Russia vs Canada ???????? (#RUSCAN)
???????? Great Britain vs Spain ???????? (#GBRESP)#DavisCupMadridFinals #byRakuten pic.twitter.com/67RMxH99M1
— Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals (@DavisCupFinals) November 23, 2019
With the tie coming down to a deciding doubles rubber, Djokovic was subbed in to partner Viktor Troicki against Khachanov and Rublev, but it was the Russians who came out on top 6-4 4-6 7-6(8).
Serbia had three match points but could not take any of them, with Troicki scooping a horrible volley long on the third one, and Russia made them pay to reach the last four for the first time since 2008 with a 6-4 4-6 7-6(8) victory.
A distraught Troicki, who won the deciding rubber in the 2010 final, blamed himself, saying: “I probably feel the worst ever.
“I never experienced such a moment in my career, in my life. And I let my team down, and I apologise to them.
“We had chances to finish it. We didn’t do it. I messed up in the crucial moments.”
Djokovic added: “It hurts really badly. These kinds of matches happen once in maybe forever. That’s it. The season is done and we’re turning the next page.”
The Russians converted on their first match point to put the team back in the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time since 2008 where they will face Canada – victors over Australia the previous evening – on Saturday.
Khachanov and Rublev, who have played all the rubbers between them this tournament in the absence of US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev, fell to the court in an embrace at the moment of victory after beating the Serbs.
“Both teams had a lot of chances,” said Rublev. “It was like a coin toss, and we won this coin toss.”
Grab the tissues, this is an emotional one to watch ????
Hear from @nenadzim after Serbia's loss, describing his team as "The Golden Generation"
Thank you, Team Serbia ????????#DavisCupMadridFinals pic.twitter.com/jlHhxqTFht
— Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals (@DavisCupFinals) November 22, 2019
Rafael Nadal swept past Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-2 in the second singles rubber to lead Spain to victory against Argentina.
The world No.1 then teamed up with Marcel Granollers in the doubles to defeat Maximo Gonzalez and Leonardo Mayer 6-4 4-6 6-3 and hand Spain a 2-1 victory.
Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans guided Great Britain into the semifinals with victory over Germany.
With Andy Murray was once again left out amid doubts about his fitness, Edmund enjoyed another impressive victory over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, coming through 6-3 7-5.
Evans then saw off Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 3-6 7-6 to seal a place in the last four for Leon Smith’s team.
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