Serbia celebrated their first Davis Cup title on Sunday as Viktor Troicki thrashed France’s Michael Llodra to secure a memorable 3-2 victory inside a rocking Belgrade Arena.
Chants of Viktor and Serbia reverberated around the imposing 17,000-capacity venue as Troicki,a late swap for the deciding rubber,won 6-2 6-2 6-3 against a powerless opponent who cracked under the pressure.
Serbia begun the day 2-1 in arrears against the nine-times champions after losing a cliffhanger doubles rubber on Saturday,but first Novak Djokovic pummelled Gael Monfils to level the tie before Troicki finished the job. After claiming the first set with ease he went 2-0 down in the second but reeled off eight consecutive games to a cacophony of beating drums and chanting.
Llodra raised the tension levels when he broke serve to close to 3-4 in the third set but Troicki,with Djokovic and the rest of his team willing him on at courtside,held his nerve. A weak Llodra volley brought up two match points and the party could start in earnest when Troicki fired a backhand winner past the despairing Frenchman.
Earlier,Djokovic swept past Gael Monfils on Sunday as Serbia leveled the Davis Cup final against France at 2-2. Djokovic won 6-2,6-2,6-4 in the first reverse singles of the best-of-five series. The first break for the Serb came in the fourth game of the first set when Monfils attempted a cheeky forehand through his legs while leading 30-0. He failed,had to change his racket after hitting it on the turf,and lost the next four points.
Djokovic won the set with a forehand that grazed the net. Monfils put up tougher resistance in the third set,saving three break points at 1-0 and then breaking Djokovic’s serve for 2-1. Djokovic broke back,but then again failed to hold his serve for 4-3 to the Frenchman.
Djokovic had another break for 4-4 after a crosscourt volley. He held on to his serve and then broke Monfils to secure the victory. “I don’t know if I had a chance,” said Monfils,whose record against Djokovic fell to 0-6. “He was better than me tonight.” Just like Serbia over France.