MALAGA, Spain (AP) — Jannik Sinner saved three match points before ending Novak Djokovic's streak of 21 straight wins in Davis Cup singles matches, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, to pull Italy level at 1-1 with Serbia in their semifinal showdown on Saturday.
Sinner's win avenged his loss to Djokovic for the ATP Finals title just six days earlier.
Djokovic’s previous singles loss in the Davis Cup was when he retired against Juan Martin del Potro in Serbia’s 2011 semifinal defeat against Argentina. Djokovic’s last loss in a completed singles match in the Davis Cup was in 2009.
Djokovic squandered a trio of match points before Sinner rallied and broke his next service game to go ahead 6-5 before serving out the match.
Miomir Kecmanovic beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-1 to give Serbia a 1-0 lead over Italy in the first singles match.
It was the third meeting between the top-ranked Djokovic and the fourth-ranked Sinner in 12 days. Sinner beat Djokovic in the ATP Finals group stage last week before Djokovic beat Sinner in the final to earn a record-breaking seventh ATP Finals title.
Djokovic and Sinner faced off again in doubles later Saturday, with Djokovic teaming up with Kecmanovic and Sinner with Lorenzo Sonego.
The winning team will face Australia in Sunday’s final on the same indoor hard court in Malaga, Spain.
In the first singles match, Musetti recovered from an early break to win a first-set tiebreaker. But Kecmanovic got stronger as the match went on and enjoyed a lopsided third set for his first win in three career meetings with Musetti.
In the second singles match, Sinner started strong and won back-to-back breaks for a 4-1 lead in the first set. Djokovic then hit back by breaking Sinner twice in the second set to force a decider.
Djokovic had five break chances, including the match points, in the third set, but Sinner saved them all.
Djokovic helped Serbia win its first and only Davis Cup title in 2010. On Thursday, he became the outright most successful Serbian player when he beat Cameron Norrie for his 44th victory in the competition.
Serbia is seeking its first final since 2013 when it lost to the Czech Republic in Belgrade.
Italy’s only title was in 1976. Its last final was in 1998.
AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis