The doubles between Zimonjic/Troicki-Llodra/Clement turned out to be the most exciting tennis match of the year. Nothing compares to Davis Cup, not even Federer vs.Nadal in a Grand Slam final…ok, maybe the 2008 Wimbledon final when Nadal won in five sets and had a planet/star named after him but even then the crowd was not as involved as in Belgrade.
In the beginning of the match the Serbian team was simply overpowering the French guys and the big surprise was Victor Toicki who played well above his normal standards in doubles which gave Nenad Zimonjic a chance to relax and solely focus on his own game and you start to wonder why Zimonjic didn’t become a really good singles player. I guess it has to do with his movement sideways, and the singles court being a little bit wider makes the difference.
Arnaud Clement was clearly the weakest link in the first two sets, mainly because he didn’t get enough “free” points on his 1st serve and the 2nd serve is “begging” to be punished and the Serbs did just that. A few years back Clement beat Fabrice Santoro at the French Open, at the time the longest match timewise in the history of the game, I know ’cause myself and John McEnroe had the previous record of 6 hours and 22 min. and I believe their match lasted 6 hrs and 44 min. Anyway, I nicknamed him the ” french swedish gentleman”, because he is not as “flashy” as a normal french player nor does he give up ever or show negative emotions….just like most Swedish players of the past..and it was true in this doublesmatch as well. He hung in there and eventually from the middle of the 3rd set until the end, he was easily the best player on the court. Llodra was the most consistent throughout the whole encounter and Zimonjic looked tired at the start of the 5th set but maybe the level of Troickis game dragged his partners spirit down with his own. A fair result though and a must result for the French and for the fans to see this Davis Cup final go the distance and be decided in a 5th deciding match! Easy to say as Novak Djokovic just beat Gail Monfils in three straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 and that was no surprise as Monfils tactics are very confusing to anyone watching but to his opponent. It seems like the “top” players are not intimidated by his “show” and Gail is not consistent enough in anything he does on the court even though he is getting better, he still has a long uphill road to the top. To be fair Novak has played two really solid singles matches and not having lost a set, he proved that he is maturing as a “teamleader” and as an ambassador for the sport in his home country so my hat’s of to him!Well done Djokovic!
Viktor Troicki vs. Michael Llodra is the deciding match and I would have to go with the French mainly because of the way Troicki fell apart in the doubles, it should be a very entertaining affair! You’ll hear from me straight afterwards, Mats.