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Djokovic pulls Serbia level with Croatia in Davis Cup semis

Novak Djokovic pulled Serbia even with Croatia at 1-1 in their Davis Cup semifinal by beating Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 on Friday.

The 20-time grand slam winner will try to clinch Serbia a berth in the final by playing in the deciding doubles.

Djokovic evened it up on the Madrid indoor hard court after Borna Gojo won the opening singles against Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Croatia's Borna Gojo returns the ball to Serbia's Dusan Lajovic during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

The top-ranked Djokovic is slated to team with Nikola Cacic to take on Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, the world’s top-ranked pair.

The first set of the second singles was tightly contested until Djokovic forced a break point with a winner at the net. Cilic then made his first mistake when he double-faulted to fall behind.

Cilic almost hit right back, but Djokovic went up a set when he saved four break points during an exhilarating game that closed after Cilic hit long.

Serbia's Dusan Lajovic crashes his racket after failing a point as he plays Croatia's Borna Gojo during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Djokovic cruised through the second set, thrilling the crowd with winners and an extraordinary defensive lob that landed in the corner and forced Cilic into swatting the ball wide.

Earlier, the 279th-ranked Gojo outplayed Lajovic after the Serb rallied from 4-1 down to take the first set. Gojo broke Lajovic's serve five times to give his team the early advantage.

Serbia and Croatia are meeting in the Davis Cup for the third time since they became independent nations following the breakup of Yugoslavia. Serbia won the previous two.

Croatia's Borna Gojo gestures as he plays Serbia's Dusan Lajovic during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Russia will face Germany on Saturday in the other semifinal.

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Serbia's Novak Djokovic grimaces as he plays Croatia's Marin Cilic during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Croatia's Marin Cilic gestures as he plays Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their Davis Cup tennis semi-final match at Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)