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By Alberto Amalfi | Friday, November 22, 2019

 
Karen Khachanov, Andrey Rublev

Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev saved three match points edging Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8) to send Russia into the Davis Cup semifinals.

Photo credit: Davis Cup by Rakuten Facebook

Teetering on the ledge of loss, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev repelled match points pulling off a rousing comeback to carry Russia into the Davis Cup semifinals.

The two-man team saved three match points in the tie break out-dueling Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8) in the decisive doubles that clinched Russia's 2-1 win over Serbia in the Davis Cup Finals at Madrid's La Caja Magica.

More: Canada Stops Australia

Djokovic and Troicki held match points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7 in the tie break, but a resolute Russian side earned two mini-breaks and won three points in a row to pulled out a gripping victory.

The triumph sends Russia into its first Davis Cup semifinal since 2008.




Playing for its first Davis Cup final in 12 years, Russia will face Canada in tomorrow's semifinals.

Canada conquered Australia, which played without the injured Nick Kyrgios, 2-1 in its quarterfinal.

US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev withdrew from the Davis Cup finals to rest and recover from a grueling season.

In Medvedev's absence, Rublev and Khachanov have carried Russia combining to play all nine matches this week. The pair have thrived as a two-man team earning some creative social media praise along the way. Khachanov said they're just doing what needs to be done.





"Daniil was supposed to come, it was supposed to be four of us, but in the last minute he decide to rest," Khachanov said. "And his choice we understand, we can understand because he was playing a lot, a lot, a lot and he was completely empty.

"I mean, we had no other options because we are three. Anyway we are going to play all the singles, potentially all the singles. For the moment, we don't have doubles players in Russia. We would like to take more players, but there is, even if we want to take some doubles players, but there is only three of us, we play together better than other Russians."

A razor-sharp Rublev remained undefeated in singles thrashing Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-2. Rublev won eight of the first nine points played on Krajinovic's serve breaking twice in sucession in powering out to a 5-0 lead.

Rublev required just 52 minutes wrapping up a resounding win.

World No. 2 Djokovic answered immediately for Serbia despite a slick tweener from his opponent.

In a rematch of the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters final, Djokovic broke in the fourth game of the opening set.




The Wimbledon champion broke twice in a row closing out Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 to force the decisive doubles.

Khachanov and Rublev, who reached the Paris Masters doubles final earlier this month, were down a break at 1-3 when they rolled through five of the next six games building a one-set lead.

In the second set, the Serbs broke again for another 3-1 lead. And again Russia responded breaking back.



Djokovic and Troicki converted their third break points to snatch the second set and force a decider. 

Tension spiked in the tie break as the teams combined for six mini breaks in the first eight points before Russia's late-break rally.

Russia is bidding for its first Davis Cup final since 2007 when it fell to an American squad of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers in Portland. 


 

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