Serbia wins first Davis Cup title
BELGRADE, Serbia -- Serbia celebrated its first Davis Cup title Sunday, becoming only the second unseeded nation to win the trophy when Viktor Troicki beat Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to complete a 3-2 combeback win over France.
Troicki, who had replaced Janko Tipsarevic in the final singles match, dropped to the court in jubilation after his victory and his teammates fell into each other's arms to celebrate.
This is the best moment of my career and probably of my nation. This is like winning the World Cup for us.” -- Novak Djokovic
"This is unbelievable. I don't know how to react, what to do. This is the best moment of my life," Troicki said as his teammates kept their promise to have their heads shaved on court.
Croatia was the first unseeded nation to win the title, in 2005.
France was leading 2-1 in the best-of-five-series after winning the doubles Saturday in its bid to capture its 10th Davis Cup, and first since 2001.
Troicki then played some of his best tennis, constantly passing Llodra, leaving the serve-and-volley specialist standing stunned at the net.
"This is the best moment of my career and probably of my nation," Djokovic said. "This is like winning the World Cup for us."
Troicki, ranked 30th in the world, broke Llodra twice in each set and hit 58 winners compared to 32 for the Frenchman. The Serb won the match with another crosscourt passing shot that left Llodra flat-footed at the net.
"A lot of emotions went through my head at that moment, remembering when I was a kid and dreaming to one day play in such a match," Troicki said.
Serbia reached the final after beating the United States, Croatia and the Czech Republic. The team only reached the World Group for the first time in 2008, and twice had to win playoffs to stay in the top tier.
"My players showed that they are mentally the strongest team in the world," Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic said. "We showed we are No. 1."
His players posed with the enormous trophy on court in front of 16,000 flag-waving fans in Belgrade Arena.
The third-ranked Djokovic started the comeback, breaking the 12th-ranked Monfils twice in each of the first two sets.
Djokovic's first break came in the fourth game of the first set when Monfils attempted a 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.
"It was unbelievable today," Djokovic said. "Under the circumstances, maybe one of the best matches I have played this year. It was definitely a lot of pressure, expectations."
Djokovic had 18 unforced errors compared to Monfils' 37. The Serb, who won his seventh consecutive Davis Cup singles, had only one forced error, compared to the 15 for the Frenchman.
"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."
In the opening singles on Friday, Janko Tipsarevic succumbed to nerves and lost to Monfils, while Djokovic beat Gilles Simon in straight sets.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press