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10 July 2011

Defending champions through to semifinals



  • Ed Pearson

Photo: Arne ForsellJanko Tipsarevic (SRB)

HALMSTAD, SWEDEN: Serbia have advanced one step closer to retaining their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas trophy after Janko Tipsarevic clinched the vital third point of this quarterfinal tie with a 62 75 63 victory against Sweden’s Michael Ryderstedt in the fourth rubber.

Tipsarevic looked focused from the outset and picked up where he left off from Friday’s singles. He simply had too much firepower for Ryderstedt in the opening set and his clean striking of the ball ensured he easily took it 62.

But Ryderstedt refused to give up and when he forced an early break of serve in the second set it looked as though the momentum was going to swing in his favour. The Swede couldn’t consolidate his break, though, and started relying too much on the drop shot, which was becoming easier for the Serbian to read.

With little to separate the players for much of the second set, it was not until the 11th game that Tipsarevic, ranked No. 29 in the world, found a way to break his left-handed opponent’s serve once more to gain an advantage.

Tipsarevic easily served out the second set to take it 75 and in so doing left the home team feeling deflated. But credit to Ryderstedt, he came out fighting once again in the third set and played much better than his world ranking of No. 297 would suggest.

Tipsarevic broke again in the fifth game of the third set before consolidating the advantage by winning the point of the match. Ryderstedt played a great lob, which Tipsarevic somehow retrieved with an improvised shot with his back to the net and then the Swede mishit a smash that landed on the baseline but the Serbian coolly put it away to lead 4-2.

And despite holding his serve once more, Ryderstedt was broken in the final game of the match and the away fans erupted in delight.

Tipsarevic was pleased with the way he played and was delighted to win the final point for his team: “It feels really great. I know that Serbia was a huge favourite to win with Robin Soderling not here and Novak coming, but I’m happy to have helped my country once again get through to the semifinals.”

Far from being outplayed, Ryderstedt can walk away from this tie with his head held high and hopes to learn from his Davis Cup experience.

“It was a very tough weekend for me playing two players much higher ranked,” he said. “I fought hard, I did my best and I can learn a lot from this weekend. It gave me confidence and it gave me a lot of motivation to start working harder because I want to compete with these guys all the time.”

Serbia will now play Argentina in a home semifinal in September in what is sure to be a mouthwatering prospect. Tipsarevic knows Serbia will have a fight on their hands if they are to advance to the final for a second year running and thinks that David Nalbandian holds the key to Argentina’s fortunes in the competition.

"If David Nalbandian comes in really good shape then I feel it’s going to be really, really tricky,” he said. “Whichever surface we choose I think it’s going to be a really tough match.”

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Captain Bogdan Obradovic (SRB) - 10/07/2011

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) - 10/07/2011

Captain Thomas Enqvist (SWE) - 10/07/2011

Michael Ryderstedt (SWE) - 10/07/2011

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