It was a successful opening day for the home team when Serbia took a 2-0 lead against Russia in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round tie in Nis on Friday.
Viktor Troicki recorded a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (6) win over Karen Kachanov (ATP #52). The dramatic match lasted four hours and 30 minutes.
Serbian second-ranked player was down 0-4 in the fifth set tie-breaker. He fought back to level at 5-all, then fended off a match point before clinching an epic victory.
In the second rubber, world no.2 Novak Djokovic was leading 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 1-0 when Daniil Medvedev (ATP #63) retired after two hours and 16 minutes of play.
The 29-year-old Belgrade native struggled in the opening set. He came back twice from a break deficit, but the young Russian broke twice more to gain advantage.
Medvedev raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Nole broke back in the fifth game and made another break in the ninth before holding his own serve with an ace.
The third set was a one-way traffic as Novak broke his rival three times. Medvedev retired with cramps after the first game of the fourth set. He received a warm applause from the spectators in the Cair Sports Centre.
Match statistics: aces (4-7), double faults (3-2), winners (21-24), unforced errors (37-41), total points won (105-95).
The doubles match is scheduled on Saturday at 16:00 CET. Serbia’s team captain Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki face Andrey Kuznetsov and Konstantin Kravchuk.
Team captains have the right to change the players until an hour before the match.