Djokovic cruises as Serbs savour future cup final


BASEL: Holder Novak Djokovic led the way with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of recent training partner Ernests Gulbis as the bulk of Serbia’s Davis Cup squad made it to the second round of the Swiss Indoors Tuesday.
World number three Djokovic had practised last week in Geneva with the Latvian, with whom he grew up at tennis school in Munich, and used the fresh experience on court to roll to victory, his third of four in their series.
Gulbis was broken in the final game and ended his exit with a double-fault after 71 minutes and four breaks of serve. Djokovic, 2-1 in titles this season after winning his second last month in Beijing, will now play one of two qualifiers — Daniel Brand of Germany and Finn Jarkko Nieminen — in the second round.
Djokovic’s Davis Cup teammates Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki also advanced with only a month to go before Serbia host France in the December 3-5 Davis final in Belgrade, an historic event for the young nation. Tipsarevic began at the St Jakobshalle with a defeat of Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4 while Troicki followed the script with a 6-3, 6-0 win over German Michael Berrer.
Troicki rained down over seven aces and never faced a break point as he advanced in just 49 minutes. “I’ve played well in the last few events, I feel happy,” said the winner.
“My good form came at the end of the season. The Serbs are hoping to make history with an upset victory over the French, with 20,000 fans expected in the stands each day for the tie. Tipsarevic, ranked 46th, will play top-seed and 3-time champion Federer in the second round.
Djokovic ended the Swiss’s run of home titles at the event where he once worked as a ballboy with a victory in the 2009 final. Richard Gasquet of France, a quarter-finalist in 2009, eliminated Asia’s lone tournament representative as he defeated Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-3, 6-1. Colombian Santiago Giraldo beat Karol Beck of Slovakia 6-2, 6-1.