Filip Krajinovic leads Serbia to victory | ATP circuit

Filip Krajinovic doubled down on Saturday in the ATP Cup to guide Serbia to a 2-1 win over Norway in Group A in Sydney.

The world No.42 teamed up with Nikola Cacic to defeat Casper Ruud and Viktor Durasovic 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the deciding double after the two singles matches were separated.

“It was an incredible point at the end,” Krajinovic said during his interview on the pitch. “Thanks for watching and thanks Nikola for playing with me and we’re very happy to win today. It’s a great start. We’re happy to have won and we came here to go so far. ‘at the end if we can and we’ll do our best.

The Serbian tandem struck with power, closed the net effectively and broke three times, winning an epic rally on match point to win the draw after 86 minutes. The 2020 champion will face Chile next Monday.

“We’ve known each other for a long time, since we were kids and it was a lot of fun playing together today,” Cacic said. “I want to thank Filip for playing with me and everyone who stayed to support us.”

In the day’s opener at Ken Rosewall Arena, Krajinovic survived a scare in the second set to give Serbia a 1-0 lead, beating Durasovic 6-2, 7-5 to claim their first win of the season.

“I was a little nervous at the end of the second set,” Krajinovic said during his interview on the pitch. “I missed a few shots which is to be expected as this is my first game this year and there are a lot of expectations.”

The world No.42, making his ATP Cup singles debut, led by a set and a break as he struck regularly and returned with great depth on his backhand to force Durasovic to make mistakes in their first meeting ATP Head2Head.

However, with a 4-2 lead in the second set, Krajinovic lost three straight games, before regaining his focus to secure his victory over the world No.345 after 73 minutes. The 29-year-old broke four times and earned 79 percent (27/34) of his first serve points en route to his victory.

“It’s not easy to play for Serbia without Djokovic,” Krajinovic added. “The expectations are very high. Whatever you do is not enough as he is the # 1 and the greatest ever. I’m sure he’s watching us now and cheering us on.

Ruud then saw a spirited performance from Dusan Lajovic, beating the 31-year-old 6-3, 7-5 to tie the tie at 1-1.

The 23-year-old, who won five tour-level titles in an outstanding 2021 season, quickly found his best form for extended stretches in his first game of the year. However, he had to be patient, with Lajovic rallying twice after a breakdown in the second set, before finally falling after an hour and 40 minutes in Sydney.

“It was a high quality game from start to finish,” Ruud said during his interview on the pitch. “Towards the end, I got a little nervous. When you try to close the match, it’s normal. I haven’t played a game for four or five weeks now, so it’s a bit difficult to have that rhythm. I am very happy to have won my first victory and I am starting my year well.

Ruud looked to get around his forehand and target Lajovic’s backhand as he pinned the Serbian deep behind the backline. Although he wasted two match points on serve at 5-4, the Norwegian remained strong after the break, before holding the serve to triumph.

The world No.8 is the highest-ranked singles player in Group A and is making his second ATP Cup appearance, having won victories over John Isner and Fabio Fognini on his debut in 2020.

The ATP Cup format sees No.2 singles played first, followed by No.1 singles and doubles.