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 are scheduled to face each other again in the deciding doubles match.
The winner will face Australia in Sunday’s final on the same indoor hard court in Malaga, Spain.
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
The Associated Press