Djokovic will lead off for Serbs against Czechs

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Updated: November 14, 2013

Belgrade, Serbia (SportsNetwork.com) – The Davis Cup World Group final will
commence Friday with an opening singles rubber between former world No. 1
star Novak Djokovic and Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.

The host Serbs announced that one-time world No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic will be
unable to play this weekend as he continues to recover from a right heel
injury he suffered in Valencia, Spain, last month.

Following Djokovic-Stepanek on Day 1 will be a bout between world No. 7 Czech
slugger Tomas Berdych and Tipsarevic’s replacement, 117th-ranked Dusan
Lajovic.

Saturday’s doubles rubber currently pits a Serbian duo of Nenad Zimonjic and
Ilija Bozoljac against a Czech tandem of Lukas Rosol and Jan Hajek, but recent
history would suggest that the former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych and 34-year-
old Stepanek will play for the visitors in that one on the indoor hardcourt at
Belgrade Arena.

Sunday’s reverse singles have the red-hot world No. 2 Djokovic battling
Berdych and Stepanek taking on the 23-year-old Lajovic.

The Australian Open titlist Djokovic has won his last 22 matches, including a
title just this week at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.

The Czechs are the reigning Davis Cup champs, having beaten Spain in last
year’s best-of-five final in Prague when the heroic Stepanek won a fifth and
deciding rubber.

The Serbs are captained by Bogdan Obradovic, while the Czechs, appearing in
their third final in five years, are skippered by interim captain Vladimir
Safarik, who is filling on for Jaroslav Navratil after he was hospitalized
last week with a blood clot.

Serbia and the Czech Republic have split their two previous meetings. The
Czechs beat the visiting Serbs in a quarterfinal matchup last year, while host
Serbia prevailed in a semifinal in 2010, the year the Serbs corralled their
lone Davis Cup title.