KRALJEVO, Serbia (AP) — Serbia reached the Davis Cup quarterfinals when Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic beat Croatian duo Marin Draganja and Franko Skugor 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday’s doubles to take an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
The top-ranked Djokovic was a late replacement for Viktor Troicki, who had a tough five-set victory over Croatian teen Borna Coric in the opening singles on Friday. Djokovic beat Mate Delic on the first day.
Djokovic hurt his finger in the doubles in a fall in the second set but was able to play on.
“Our ambition is to reach the finals,” Zimonjic said, thanking Djokovic for playing in the doubles.
The result turns Sunday’s reverse singles into two meaningless matches.
Serbia will play either Argentina or Brazil in the quarterfinals.
It was the second meeting between Serbia and Croatia since the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. In 2010, Djokovic led Serbia to a quarterfinal victory in Split en route to its first and only title. Croatia won the Davis Cup in 2005.
Tensions between the two former Yugoslav republics are still high and both Croatian and Serbian players were surprised by the warm welcome the Croats received in the small Serbian town of Kraljevo, where some 3,000 spectators packed the local sports hall.
“By far, my best impression is the atmosphere,” Djokovic said.
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