Krajinovic Leads Serbia To Victory

World No. 42 defeats Durasovic in singles and doubles

Filip Krajinovic did double duty Saturday at ATP Cup to guide Serbia to a 2-1 victory against Norway in Group A in Sydney.

The World No. 42 teamed with Nikola Cacic to overcome Casper Ruud and Viktor Durasovic 7-6(3), 6-3 in the decisive doubles rubber after the two singles matches were split.

“It was an amazing point at the end,” Krajinovic said in his on-court interview. “Thank you for watching and thank you for Nikola for playing with me and we are very happy to win today. It is a very good start. We are happy we won and we came here to go all the way if we can and we are going to give our best.”

The Serbian tandem hit with power, closed the net effectively throughout and broke three times, winning an epic exchange on match point to clinch the tie after 86 minutes. The 2020 champion next plays Chile on Monday.

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

In the first match of the day on Ken Rosewall Arena, Krajinovic had survived a scare in the second set to give Serbia a 1-0 lead, defeating Durasovic 6-2, 7-5 to earn his first win of the season.

“I was a little bit nervous at the end of the second set,” Krajinovic said in his on-court interview. “I missed some shots, which is normal as it is my first match this year and there are a lot of expectations.”

The World No. 42, who was making his ATP Cup singles debut, led by a set and a break as he hit consistently and returned with great depth on his backhand to force Durasovic into errors in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

However, from 4-2 ahead in the second set, Krajinovic lost three consecutive games, before he regained his focus to secure his victory against the World No. 345 after 73 minutes. The 29-year-old broke four times and won 79 per cent (27/34) of his first-serve points en route to his win.

“It is not easy to play for Serbia without Djokovic,” Krajinovic added. “The expectations are very big. Whatever you do is not enough because he is No. 1 and the greatest of all time. I am sure he is watching us now and cheering for us.”

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

The 23-year-old, who won five tour-level titles in a standout 2021 season, quickly found his best form for large periods in his first match of the year. However, he had to be patient, with Lajovic twice rallying from a break down in the second set, before eventually falling after one hour and 40 minutes in Sydney.

“It was a high-quality match from the beginning until the end,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “Near the end I got a bit nervous. When you are trying to close out the match it is normal. I haven’t been playing matches for four or five weeks now, so it is a bit difficult to get that rhythm going. I am very happy to get my first win and I am starting my year off well.”

Ruud looked to run around his forehand and target Lajovic’s backhand throughout as he pinned the Serbian deep behind the baseline. Despite squandering two match points on serve at 5-4, the Norwegian remained strong on return to break, before holding serve to triumph.

The World No. 8 is the highest-ranked singles player in Group A and is making his second ATP Cup appearance, after earning victories against John Isner and Fabio Fognini on debut in 2020.

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