Davis Cup Finals 2023: Great Britain knocked out by Serbia in quarter-finals
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Great Britain are out of the Davis Cup Finals having lost 2-0 to Serbia in the quarter-finals in Malaga.
Jack Draper and Cam Norrie put up a strong fight in the two singles rubbers but on the day, Miomir Kecmanovic and world No.1 Novak Djokovic found the clinical edge needed to see Serbia through to a semi-final with Italy.
In only his second match for the Brits, Draper narrowly lost to Kecmanovic 7-6(2), 7-6(6), while Norrie was defeated by the 24-time Grand Slam champion 6-4, 6-4.
The result means that Great Britain will have to play a qualifying tie next year to reach the Finals Group Stages in September. The draw for the Qualifiers will take place on Sunday 26 November.
The tie got off to an electric start with one of the matches of the competition so far between Draper and Kecmanovic. Currently sat just five places apart in the ATP rankings, the pair fought blow-for-blow for over two hours in a highly physical and entertaining contest.
Both players showed their quality – particularly on serve – but Kecmanovic’s clean striking and consistency gave him the decisive edge. The Serbian didn’t face a break point throughout the match and made just 16 unforced errors to the Brit’s 52.
Draper played an exceptional couple of sets – holding off four break points, including two set points in the first set – to push the world No.55 to two tie-breaks. Ultimately it came down to fine margins and a couple of double faults from Draper in the opener followed by a wayward forehand from the Brit at 6-6 in the second gave Kecmanovic the crucial victory for his country.
“Sometimes in a lot of these matches, like, we work hard, it's not often physical,” Draper said. “It's more mental. There was obviously a lot of pressure on the match. There's nerves. Second Davis Cup tie. Playing against a really good player, difficult match, you know, there's a lot of nervous energy.
“There was definitely a few ups-and-downs in the way I was feeling physically, because that's what nerves do. I gave myself the best opportunity to stay in the match. Gave myself chances. I think I got beaten by a better player today, to be honest.
“I'm really proud of the improvements I made this year. I think, you know, even today, though I lost the match, I'm trying to play in the right way.”
It was then over to British No.1 Norrie to take on the most challenging feat in tennis right now – overthrowing record-breaking Grand Slam champion Djokovic coming in on a 20-match winning streak.
Any signs of a hangover from an impressive run at the Nitto ATP Finals were soon squashed as the Serbian managed to clinch the only two breaks of the day at the start of both sets. Djokovic put in a vintage display on the return of serve, but Norrie battled hard against the world No.1, saving 10 break points to keep himself within touching distance.
While Djokovic just proved too strong on the night, Norrie will take plenty of positives from a tough contest.
"He served really well today, and he served really well last week as well," Norrie said. "He didn't give me too much. I was just trying to go in and challenge him.
"I think I definitely brought a much better level, so I was kind of proud of how I competed, but it was still tough to lose that one. I could see him hurting a little bit down at the other end, so that was good and a good test for my game."