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05 December 2010

As it happened: Djokovic sends Final into decider


GAME WATCH

By 

  • Chris Archer

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicNovak Djokovic (SRB)

GAME, SET, MATCH SERBIA 6-2 6-2 6-4

Djokovic 6-2 6-2 6-4 Monfils
We're heading to a deciding fifth rubber. As if this tie was ever going to end any differently! Monfils nets a backhand on the second match point and Belgrade Arena erupts once again. Djokovic proceeds to rip off his shirt and embarks on a lap of honour. Phenomenal performance from the world No. 3. He takes over the MC's microphone and fires up the crowd even more. The big question is now... who will play the fifth rubber?

Djokovic 6-2 6-2 5-4 *Monfils
Djokovic wins the first three points and, despite missing a backhand wide, clinches the game at 40-15 with a big serve out wide. Pressure firmly on Monfils now as Djokovic emerges from his chair waving his arms to conduct the Serbian fans into a crescendo of noise.

Djokovic* 6-2 6-2 4-4 Monfils
Monfils double faults to trail 0-30 and Djokovic takes advantage. A winning forehand volley at 15-40 secures the break and we're back all square. The Belgrade Arena roof almost had lift off!

Djokovic 6-2 6-2 3-4 *Monfils
Monfils comes out swinging on the first point, teeing off again and again until Djokovic's defence finally breaks down. More aggressive play from Monfils brings up two break points and he converts the second with a massive forehand winner down the line. There was a noticeable change in tactics for the Frenchman in that game. An agitated-looking Djokovic troops to his chair. Game on!

Djokovic* 6-2 6-2 3-3 Monfils
Big serving from Monfils results in an easy hold. Just what he needed. He'll need some more of that if he's got any chance of staging a comeback.

Djokovic 6-2 6-2 3-2 *Monfils
A forced backhand error from Monfils at 40-15 and Djokovic restores his lead. You get the feeling that the world No. 3 has weathered the storm now. There are no spare seats in the Belgrade Arena and the Serbian fans are getting behind their man every step of the way.

Djokovic* 6-2 6-2 2-2 Monfils
High quality tennis. Djokovic breaks straight back with four winners... two forehands from the baseline and two backhand passes. There were a couple of overhit dropshots from Monfils though. Poor choices of shot.

Djokovic 6-2 6-2 1-2 *Monfils
Monfils breaks from nowhere and sprints to his chair. He's back in it. Djokovic sprayed an inside out forehand into the trams at 30-40. Monfils has never come back from two sets down to win... it would be a good time to start from a French point of view.

Djokovic* 6-2 6-2 1-1 Monfils
Monfils almost double faults twice to lose the game from 30-30 but a Hawkeye challenge spared his blushes. After a few deuces he clings on when a backhand goes long from Djokovic.

Djokovic 6-2 6-2 1-0 *Monfils
Djokovic starts the third set as he has done the previous two... a comfortable hold. An ominous sign for Monfils. He needs to regain the spark that saw record a straight sets win over Janko Tipsarevic on Friday.


SECOND SET SERBIA 6-2

Djokovic* 6-2 6-2 0-0 Monfils
Djokovic breaks to open up a two-set lead when a weak dropshot from his opponent finishes in the bottom of the net. Monfils has run out of ideas and looks a beaten man... mountain to climb for the Frenchman now. Great point for Djokovic to go 40-0 up. He was on the major defensive and hung in a point he had no right to win. Monfils eventually sent a volley wide.

Djokovic 6-2 5-2 *Monfils
This is turning into a routine day at the office for Djokovic. He opens up a 40-0 lead but hands Monfils a point by hitting it straight at him when the court was wide open. No drama though. A lucky netcord falls out of reach of Monfils at 40-15.

Djokovic* 6-2 4-2 Monfils
Big trouble for Monfils as three more errors bring up 0-40. A big serve allows a temporary reprieve but a backhand sails long on the next point and Djokovic breaks to take a firm stranglehold on this match.

Djokovic 6-2 3-2 *Monfils
Djokovic seals another comfortable hold. Eli Weinstein just pointed out on Davis Cup Radio that at the start of this game Monfils has made 26 errors compared to just 8 from Djokovic. A telling statistic. You can listen to the live commentary by clicking the link on the right.

Djokovic* 6-2 2-2 Monfils
Monfils bounces a smash into the crowd to go up 30-15 but a backhand pass clips the net and goes over his racket on the next point. The game goes to deuce and Monfils secures the hold when Djokovic sends a backhand long.

Djokovic 6-2 2-1 *Monfils
Djokovic approaches the net at 30-15 and Monfils misses the attempted backhand pass. The Serb nets a backhand slice on the first game point but a weak backhand return from Monfils floats long on the next point.

Djokovic* 6-2 1-1 Monfils
Great hold for Monfils, coming back from 0-30 win it after a deuce. This hasn't really been a contest yet but Monfils will be hoping to use that escape to gain some momentum. I thought he would cause Djokovic some problems today but it hasn't been the case so far. Still early days.

Djokovic 6-2 1-0 *Monfils
Djokovic continues where he left off in the first set. A hold to love courtesy of some more Monfils errors from the back of the court. The world No. 3 jogs to the chair and is greeted by a happy Bogdan Obradovic. Djokovic is looking good in this match.


FIRST SET SERBIA 6-2

Djokovic* 6-2 0-0 Monfils
A pair of wayward forehands and a poor drop shot from Monfils and Djokovic has two set points. The first is saved with a crosscourt backhand winner but a lucky net cord at 40-30 hands Djokovic the opening set. A despairing dive from Monfils wasn't enough.

Djokovic 5-2 *Monfils
An unsuccessful Hawkeye challenge for Monfils at 30-15 hands his opponent two game points. He saves the first one with a laser backhand down the line and then a Djokovic error and a winning pass bring up his first break point. Not converted though. Djokovic regains his composure to hold on. Missed opportunity for the Frenchman.

Djokovic* 4-2 Monfils
Monfils opens up a 30-0 lead as Djokovic pushes a backhand return into the trams. A rare foray to the net ends with a volley into the open court and then an unreturnable serve at 40-15 seals the game.

Djokovic 4-1 *Monfils
Another love game for Djokovic. He's made a great start. A big kick serve at 40-0 had too much action on it for Monfils to deal with and the backhand return sailed wide. Tie referee Stefan Fransson is talking to the chair umpire at the change of ends. I wonder what he's saying!

Djokovic* 3-1 Monfils
First blood to Djokovic. Three straight Monfils errors from the baseline were to blame. The crowd is getting involved again (like yesterday) with whistles and boos for the Frenchman. The umpire will have his work cut out to keep control.

Djokovic 2-1 *Monfils
Djokovic holds to love. Monfils has started this match playing a long way behind the baseline. He'll need to be more aggressive and assert himself more if he's beat the world No. 3.

Djokovic* 1-1 Monfils
Monfils replies with a hold of his own, using the wide serve well early in the game to the deuce court. Fantastic slam dunk Sampras-style smash at 30-15. Great athleticism.

Djokovic 1-0 *Monfils
Perfect start for Djokovic. That will settle his nerves. Opens with an unreturnable serve and then a long rally ends with a winning backhand pass from the Serb. He chases down a drop shot at 30-0 and then another unreturnable seals the first game.

Djokovic* 0-0 Monfils
Djokovic wins the toss and chooses to serve. He is kept waiting by a few VIPs being slow to take their seats. We're all set now... game on!


What a day we have in prospect... what a day!!! The players enter the court and the crowd goes crazy. Serious shivers down my spine right now.

The Belgrade Arena is packed. The expectation for this rubber has been enormous all weekend and now the time has finally arrived.

Both players jog out to meet each other at the net for the customary pre-match photos and then Djokovic breaks into a sprint to the baseline. Very Rafa-esque.

Almost ready to go...


Serbia looks to its No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, in the vital fourth rubber of this thrilling Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final.

Standing in his way is Gael Monfils. The Frenchman made light work of Janko Tipsarevic in the first rubber but is confronted with a very different prospect today.

In five meetings, Monfils has yet to defeat his Serbian opponent. The last time the players met was in the quarterfinals at this year's US Open.

Djokovic won in straight sets that day. What he would give for a repeat performance in what is sure to be an emotionally charged rubber at the Belgrade Arena this afternoon.

Play is due to start at 1pm (12noon GMT).

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