Djokovic, Nadal Win 3-Setters At ATP Cup, Square Off For 55th Time Sunday
by Staff | January 11th, 2020, 5:03 pm

The dream final is set at the inaugural ATP Cup in Sydney where Spain will battle Serbia in the final Sunday night.

Serbia held off a deep Russian team behind Novak Djokovic thrilling win over Daniil Medvedev 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to give Serbia and insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Dusan Lajovic pulled off the upset in the opener beating Karen Khachanov 7-5, 7-6(1). That set the stage for Djokovic and Medvedev who had beaten the Serb in their last two meetings.

Djokovic, though, was too strong early for Medvedev, but the Russian found his form in the second, locking down on defense, extending the rallies and early on, forcing 10-minute plus games and breaking Djokovic three times.

In the third, Djokovic got the break at 2-all then hung off, swatting away break chances to serve it out and put Serbia in the final.

“Exciting, exhausting, joyful, dreadful all at once,” Djokovic said. “At one point we both refused to miss from baseline, so it was a lot of rallies and it was very exhausting. Very physical battle, but also mental battle.

“He showed why he’s one of the best players in the world, why he’s Top 5. This kind of consistency and this kind of solid game from back of the court, big serves got him to where he is. He deserves to be there.

“Definitely one of the most exciting matches I have played against him or any other top player last few years.”

Medvedev suffered his first lost of the event.

“I think I’m not that far, but to stay not that far and maybe get even closer, I have to continue to work hard,” Medvedev said. “I have to continue to be consistent, to have this level of play that I had in the last two sets over months, maybe years.

“If not, that’s the strength of these guys that they are always there, always in the semifinals, finals of Slams, and that’s the most important.”

Serbia now gets Spain who edged Australia 3-0. Roberto Bautista Agut got things rolling cruising past Nick Kyrgios 6-1, 6-4.

It was then up to Alex De Minaur to keep Australia alive, but he had to beat Rafael Nadal. Early on, it looked for the youngster who broke quickly and took the opener. In the second, served 5-all, 30-all but De Minaur couldn’t make any ground. Nadal held, then broke to level and ran away with the third for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win.

“It was tough at the beginning of the match as Alex was playing at a very high level and my energy was a little lower than usual. Yesterday was a very long day in heavy conditions,” Nadal said.

“I just tried to change a little bit the dynamic, tried to change a little bit the energy of the match in that moment and tried to make the opponent feel something different that it’s not going the same way that it had been going for the last 30 minutes.”

De Minaur had come up big for the home nation all week, but fell just short Saturday.

“He changed his game plan a bit more,” De Minaur said. “He started to step up in the court a bit more and not let me dictate as much. Therefore, I felt like I had to push a bit more, and that’s when the mistakes came.

“For me to play the match, I’ve got to play a very aggressive game. I’m red-lining for a lot of that match, so a couple missed balls here and there, and he ended up just being too good.”

In the final, Bautista Agut will take on Lajovic, then it’s the blockbuster between Nadal and Djokovic.

The two legends will meet for a 55th time with

“It’s going to be a super tough final against Serbia,” Nadal said. “Novak likes to play here and Serbia has a great team and is playing very well. But Roberto played an amazing match this afternoon and we have a good team, so we are ready for it.

“Physically, I guess he is a little ahead of me. Djokovic plays on a surface that is perhaps his favourite,” added Nadal. “I know I have a complicated game, but if I play at my best level I hope to have my chances. Then, we have other matches in the tie that can help us achieve something important.”

Djokovic leads Rafa 28-26 (19-7 for Novak on hard courts). And on hard courts, Djokovic is 8-0 in matches and 17-0 in sets against Nadal since their 2013 US Open final.

They split two meetings last year with Djokovic winning the Australian Open final and Nadal getting revenge on clay in the Rome title match.

If it goes to a doubles, Nadal will team with Pablo Carreno Busta against Djokovic and Viktor Troicki. Nadal has already recently led his team to the Laver Cup and Davis Cup titles.

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22 Comments for Djokovic, Nadal Win 3-Setters At ATP Cup, Square Off For 55th Time Sunday

Wog Boy Says:


Wog Boy Says:

If you are not familiar with ATP cup, this match has 650 points value for these particular players, winner was getting 325 points, loser nothing, if Serbia wins, which I doubt, Nole will get extra 75 points.

So far in ATP cup Nole earned 675 points (6 wins) and Rafa 265 (4 wins, 2 losses).

Dave Says:

I agree. I think Serbia loses. I just don’t trust Viktor in the biggest moments.

Dave Says:

And there is the first choke from Viktor on a big point already in the first game of the match.

Wog Boy Says:

Agree, I like Viktor, but he is a choker. My hope was and is that rush of adrenaline can get the over the line, but that’s a slim hope since Nole isn’t really good double player either.
Time for bed here, but I will be checking results before I fall a sleep, 😁

Van Persie Says:


thank you for the info reg. ranking points. Did not know it🙂

Daniel Says:

Saw highlights (too early for me on Sunday) and seems Djoko’s was on fire, a lot of aces too.
Now 19-0 straight sets on HC and 9-0. Pretty safe to say unless Djoko is ill or injured, Nadal’l won’t beat him on HC ever again. Just slicing back waiting Djoko to miss won’t cut it, specially with Nadal almost 34.

These points bumb will be great for Djoko. If he defends his AO and Nadal doesn’t make finals he can regain #1 after AO.

AO couldn’t come in a better time to maybe boost some moral in Australia. Terrible scenario there.

Wog Boy Says:

Dave, I think Viktor did hear us rubbishing him and said, look at me now:)

Van Persie Says:

Huge congrats to Serbija!
Viktor served terrific today.

Wow, I did not expect this.

Sydney is serbijan land today🙂

Van Persie Says:

Nole really loves playing in Australia 🙂

Wog Boy Says:

Congratulations Team Serbia

It was just fair for Spain to win DC in Madrid on their home ground same as for Serbia to win inaugural ATP Cup in Sydney on their home ground;)

Wog Boy Says:

Last but not least, all credit to Duci Lajovic, without his unexpected 4 wins Serbia wouldn’t make final.
Now I really have go to bed.

czarlazar Says:

The match point against Nadal was vintage Djoker, especially the inside out forehand deep into the corner two shots before the end. And the backhands he ripped at 4-4 in the tiebreak were as good as he’s ever hit. Absolute confidence and controlled aggression — same as the young Novak in 2008 in winning his first GS title in Melbourne. He may be ultra slim but is packing a big punch and I like his chances at the Aus Open this year. Anybody else fancy a rematch between these two legends in the final on Feb. 2nd?

Alison Hodge Says:

Czarlazer Anybody else fancy a rematch between these two legends in the final on Feb 2 nd ?, no sorry count me out, can see why Novak fans would though :-/

Django Says:

Wow, redemption for Victor. I think Serbs would rather have traded the Davis Cup for this one, only for Tipsys sake.

Dave Says:

Viktor was a pleasant surprise. Nadal just doesn’t look comfortable playing Djokovic on hardcourts anymore. And like Daniel said, at almost 34 years old I don’t see it getting any better either.

Wog Boy Says:

I fancy Nole’s chances if it comes to that, but there are 6 matches for both of them before they get there.
I watched all of 6 Nole’s matches, he is still not up there, he needs fine tuning and more stamina. He struggles against flat hitting players who stay on base line or step in the court, Rafa is opposite of that on HCs what suits Nole perfectly.
The positives from this tournament are big, he had to beat 3 top 10 players, 1 top 20 player, one former top 10 and one #33 to win ATP cup.
The biggest problems he didn’t have with Rafa, but with Anderson, Shapovalov and Medvedev, all of them serving big and were hitting flat, hard and refused to move away from the base line.
Also good thing is that he finally won 2 three setters after losing so many of them since Doha and Agut last
Nole has more problems with young guns than the other 2, somehow he is encouraging them to give their best against him while the other 2 are discouraging them, if you know what I mean.
So let’s take one match at the time and hope for best, Happy New Year (our one) and Sv Vasilije, we might even ask Sv Vasilije to nudge Nole, just a bit;)

Czarlazar Says:

WB: good analysis, as always, and I was also happy he finally won some 3 setters (especially against Medvedev) because I doubt his diet is helping his stamina. I was sad to see how he exited New York, as it seemed he was suffering more in the head than the elbow, because of his nemesis Wawrinka across the net. However, with a little luck and help from Sveti Vasilije, there’s no reason why he couldn’t defend his title on Feb. 2nd. Sure wish he’d start eating animal protein again, at least fish, which he apparently abandoned after last year’s final. He’s eccentric, but our main hope and source of pride so we have to support our dear boy. Happy New Year and let’s go Nole!

Czarlazar Says:

P.S.: Viktor Troicki hasn’t always disappointed on the big stage. Let’s not forget his singles win against France in Dec. 2010 that won the Davis Cup for Serbia. This is his second major team contribution for his country and I salute him for delivering under pressure!

Django Says:

Someone said Nikola Milojevic on Serb team received $137,000 for being on the team and he didn’t play one match.

Wog Boy Says:

That’s correct Django. Nikola is very lucky man. There is participation fee depending on ranking and all the players share equal money for the win regardless if they played or not. Here are detailed explanation how much one team member earns in ATP Cup:

Wog Boy Says:

Share the money for each win and Serbia had them six.

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