Tennis-Serbia take 2-1 lead over Australia in Davis Cup

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BELGRADE, Sep 22 (Reuters) Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic beat Lleyton Hewitt and Paul Hanley 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-2 in the doubles to give Serbia a 2-1 lead over Australia in their Davis Cup World Group playoff today.

Australia took the opening set before the Serbs, roared on by a raucous 20,000 crowd, fought back to triumph thanks to a razor-sharp performance by Djokovic.

World doubles number five Zimonjic was slow to find his rhythm but Djokovic who turned the tide with powerful serving and a string of winners in his first Davis Cup doubles.

Djokovic and Zimonjic took five games in a row from 4-4 in the second set before holding serve comfortably to send the home fans into raptures after two hours 53 minutes.

World number three Djokovic, who appealed for louder support from the fans after yesterday's singles, was delighted.

''I can't describe how I feel right now and this is surely the biggest doubles win of my career,'' he said.

''We want the same kind of atmosphere for the reverse singles tomorrow to finish off the job.'' The Serbs made 34 unforced errors to Australia's 20 but won 61 percent of their first serve points and forced 28 errors from the winners of as many Davis Cup titles.

Former world number one Hewitt, who has to beat Djokovic in the mouthwatering first reverse singles tomorrow, praised the home team for their comeback and said he faced a tough task.

''I have to find a way to silence this home crowd tomorrow but that's easier said than done and we will see what happens,'' he told reporters.

''All credit to them because they served well on some big points and got out of a lot of tight games and that's what swung the match their way.'' ''We were in control and missed some good opportunities at 2-0 up in the second set and we lost momentum after that.'' Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic will face Paul Luczak in the second reverse singles tomorrow.


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