Serbia edges past Canada to open title defense
The headline tie of the day saw Milos Raonic get the Canadians off to a solid start, firing 10 aces and losing just eight points on serve in a relatively comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dusan Lajovic.
The Canadian number two needed just one break in the eighth game of the opening set and sealed it with an ace a game later. A break in the second set made the difference as Raonic wrapped up the victory in an hour, 20 minutes.
"I think I was sharp", he said. "I was there in a lot of return games. I kept putting on pressure. I missed a few break point opportunities, but I kept sticking around and took care of my serve, which is always important."
Djokovic got the Serbs even, not facing a break point in a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 victory over Denis Shapovalov in one hour, 53 minutes. The world number one needed just one break in each set to send the tie to a deciding doubles match.
"It was a very close match", he said. "Playing Shapo is always a great challenge on hard courts. He's such a dynamic, explosive player; very talented. I thought we played on a very high level, so i'm pleased with how i've started the season."
In that doubles match, Djokovic teamed up with Filip Krajinovic to knock off Shapovalov and Raonic 7-5, 7-6 (4) to send Serbia to the top of Group A.
The Serbs got the only break of the first set in the 12th game and came through a second set tiebreaker with Djokovic hailing his partner as the key to the victory.
"Filip Krajinovic was the key", he stated. "The way he played today was phenomenal. He came out [with] very solid returning. He found his serve, great rhythm. [He] just played some really key shots in the second set when we needed it most."