Raonic comes back from the brink

Milos Raonic overcame Janko Tipsarevic in a thrilling five-sets to wrestle the initative away from Serbia and keep alive Canada’s hopes of a place in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final.

The World No. 11 fended off a match point in the fifth set to prevail 57 63 36 63 10-8 in 4 hours and 11 minutes and deny the hosts the chance to seal victory in the doubles rubber on Saturday.

Raonic struck four aces (and a double fault) in the five points of the final game of the match to secure an emphatic end to a physical and mental battle. Raonic extended his unbeaten streak against Tipsarevic to four matches and cancelled out Novak Djokovic’s straight sets win over Vasek Pospisil earlier in the day.

The World No. 1 had brushed aside Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 62 60 64 to give 2010 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas winners Serbia a 1-0 lead in their semifinal tie on Friday in front of a passionate 15,000-strong home crowd. The early exchanges did not suggest it would all be plain sailing for Djokovic, as Pospisil held his opening two serves comfortably with the home crowd favourite apparently still feeling the effects of what has been a long week for the 26-year old.

Having suffered a tough US Open final loss to Rafael Nadal on Monday, Djokovic rushed home from New York to get to Belgrade in time for Thursday’s draw and practice. Hence the Serb looked a bit weary as he took centre stage but quickly regained his composure and took the match by the scruff of the neck, winning 13 games in a row after trailing 2-1 in the opening set. Tormenting the 22-year old Canadian with punishing ground strokes from the baseline as well as successful forays to the net, a fired-up Djokovic rekindled the memories of Serbia’s epic 2010 season when they won the trophy in grand style at the same venue. He conjured an impressive 12 out of 14 points at the net, while world No.41 Pospisil faded after a bright start and although the Canadian held his own in winners and excelled in aces, he slumped to a total of 49 unforced errors in the one-sided contest.
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