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Sinner beats Djokovic twice to propel Italy to Davis Cup final

A ‘proud’ Jannik Sinner beat world number one Novak Djokovic twice at one point to propel Italy into the Davis Cup final with a 2-1 victory over Serbia on Saturday in Malaga. Italy, who won the trophy for the first and only time in 1976, will face 28-time winners Australia on Sunday.

Sinner, who has now triumphed three times in four clashes in 11 days against the normally unstoppable Djokovic, saved Italy in the tie by beating the 24-time Grand Slam winner 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in second. simple rubber.

Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego then beat Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4 in the deciding doubles to clinch victory, after Kecmanovic eliminated Lorenzo Musetti 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-1 during the first match. .

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World number 4 Sinner saved three match points as he faced Djokovic in singles action, with the 36-year-old arriving in stellar form.

“I have to be really proud of how I handled the situation,” Sinner said.

“Tomorrow we have an incredible opportunity, we all know that but we try to stay as relaxed as possible, keeping a smile on our face.”

Djokovic, who has won seven titles this year including three Grand Slams, was aiming to propel 2010 champions Serbia to the final for the first time in a decade.

Nonetheless, Sinner scored arguably the biggest victory of his career, becoming the first man to beat Djokovic in a Davis Cup singles match since Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in 2011, ending a streak of 21 consecutive matches.

“Congratulations to Italy for qualifying for (the) final,” Djokovic said.

“They deserved it, they played very well, especially Jannik, in singles against me, then in doubles as well.

“He barely missed the ball the whole game – so you can only say congratulations and hats off for a performance like that.”

Sinner won the first of his last four fights in the group stage of the ATP Finals, but although Djokovic took the second to win the title, Sinner delivered twice more in front of a packed house in the Martin Carpena’s enclosure.

Djokovic made headlines during the week by rowing with rowdy British fans and then displaying his fury at being asked to take a drug test before Thursday’s round of 16 match.

The Serbian was this time unimpressed by the rowdy Italian fans in the doubles defeat as he ended a brilliant year without the team title he craved.

Djokovic mastered

Sinner, aged 14 to 22, defeated Djokovic in the third and fifth games, taking a 5-1 lead.

The Italian completed his very good first set with an ace, scoring 12 winners against that of the discreet Djokovic, in just 38 minutes.

For a second he let it slip away, committing a double fault on the first break point that he conceded to fall behind 3-1 in the second.

Djokovic ruthlessly capitalized, sealing the set with another break when Sinner whipped in a long forehand.

The Serb had the momentum.

Djokovic led in the third set, with Sinner saving two break points and unable to force the Serb’s serve.

Sinner appeared to break down in the wild tenth game, giving up three match points, but then won five straight points to make it 5-5. He then broke Djokovic and held comfortably to triumph.

“For me personally, it’s a huge disappointment, because I take responsibility, clearly having three match points, being so close to victory,” Djokovic added.

Italy won the first set of the doubles by breaking Djokovic’s serve in the sixth game, as the Serbian duo struggled to connect.

Both teams traded breaks in the second set, with Italy battling four break points from Serbia to lead 3-3.

Djokovic responded to the crowd noise of Italian fans between points, sarcastically encouraging them to win more, before waving his hands like a conductor.

But it was Italy who were in tune and Sonego put them 4-3 with a smash, Serbia’s attempt ending when Djokovic pushed a Sinner serve into the net.

In the first rubber singles, Kecmanovic lost a nail-biting first set to Musetti but responded brilliantly.

He claimed victory with a powerful forehand winner, falling to the ground in joy, although at the end of a long day he was left feeling different.

Filippo Volandri’s team returns to the final 25 years after their last appearance, through Lleyton Hewitt’s Australia, who ended Finland’s fairytale run on Friday.

“For me it’s the first time we can play a Davis Cup final, it means a lot to us,” added Sinner.

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