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Serbia level at 1-1 with Canada

ESPN staff
September 14, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Milos Raonic saved a match point before levelling Canada's Davis Cup semi-final against Serbia © Getty Images
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Milos Raonic served 34 aces to outlast Janko Tipsarevic in five sets and level the Davis Cup semi-final between Canada and Serbia at 1-1 after the opening singles matches.

Raonic beat Tipsarevic 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-3 10-8 in a four-hour, 11-minute marathon on an indoor clay court at the Belgrade Arena. Earlier, Novak Djokovic swept past Vasek Pospisil 6-2 6-0 6-4.

Tipsarevic had a match point against the big-serving Raonic when leading 5-4 in the fifth set.

Djokovic, coming off a four-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final on Monday, won 12 consecutive games midway through his match and had no problem dispatching Pospisil.

He said he was still recovering from the change of time zones and jet leg after arriving in the Serbian capital from New York on Wednesday.

"I'm glad the match was short," Djokovic said. "I forced him to make mistakes. I find additional inspiration while playing for my country."

Pospisil said Djokovic played "an amazing" match and gave him no chance.

"There is no excuse," Pospisil said. "He is the No. 1 player in the world for a reason."

Canada has never made it this far in the Davis Cup, while Serbia won the event in 2010. The doubles will be played on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday.

The winner of the best-of-five series will face either the Czech Republic or Argentina in the final in November.

The Czech Republic, who are seeking to defend their crown, took a 2-0 lead against Argentina after singles victories by Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych.

The Czechs are one win from their third final in five years.

Stepanek overcame a sluggish start in the first match, defeating Juan Monaco 7-6 (3) 6-3 6-2. Berdych followed with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Leonardo Mayer on the fast indoor hard court at the O2 Arena.

Argentina are without star player Juan Martin del Potro, who skipped the Davis Cup this season.

Berdych and Stepanek have a 12-1 record in Davis Cup doubles and can wrap up the series on Saturday against Carlos Berlocq and Horacio Zeballos.

"We are 2-0 up, that's what we wanted. Now, the most important thing is to get ready for the doubles," Berdych said.

Berdych looked relieved after he edged his opponent, ranked 93rd in the world, in more than three hours. He had to save a break point before converting his second match point when Mayer hit a forehand wide.

"I'm grateful for the result," he said. "The first two sets were not ideal from me."

Mayer said: "I tried to attack as much as I could. He was better."

Stepanek was playing his first Davis Cup singles match this year just days after winning his second grand slam doubles title, at the US Open on Sunday.

"I was trying to be active," said Stepanek, who hit 13 aces. "It was an important match for me. I faced a great opponent, but I wanted to use to my favour the surface and the fans."

Stepanek missed the first-round victory in Switzerland because of a neck operation and was able to play only doubles in the 3-1 quarter-final win in Kazakhstan. He and Berdych played all five matches in last year's final in Prague and beat Spain 3-2.

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