Davis Cup previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Berdych, Stepanek vs. Lajovic

The Czech Republic is one win away from defending its Davis Cup title. If Tomas Berdych cannot clinch against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic on Sunday, it will come down to Radek Stepanek vs. Dusan Lajovic.

Novak Djokovic vs. Tomas Berdych

Djokovic and Berdych will be squaring off for the 17th time in their careers when they contest the fourth rubber of the Davis Cup final on Sunday afternoon in Belgrade, Serbia. The world No. 2 is dominating the head-to-head series 14-2, including 12-0 on hard courts. They most recently faced each other in this summer’s Wimbledon quarterfinals, with Djokovic prevailing 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3.

Both players are coming off straight-set wins during first-day singles action on Friday. Djokovic took care of Radek Stepanek in straight sets before Berdych evened the score with a straight-set defeat of Dusan Lajovic. The Czech also suited up for doubles, teaming with Stepanek to down Nenad Zimonjac and Ilija Bozoljac in straight sets. Djokovic is undefeated since the U.S. Open and he will be eager to extend that streak in what will be his last match of the year.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

Dusan Lajovic vs. Radek Stepanek

The 2013 Davis Cup is expected to come down to the fifth and final rubber of the title tie. If it does, Lajovic and Stepanek have the honors. Lajovic will not have the pressure that comes as a favorite, but this will be the biggest match of his life. The 23-year-old Serb’s tilt against Berdych was the first live Davis Cup rubber of his career. He registers at No. 117 in the world and is 5-13 lifetime at the ATP level.

On the other side of the coin, this is nothing new for Stepanek. The 34-year-old has contested six decisive fifth rubbers in his Davis Cup career, including in last season’s final (he beat Nicolas Almagro). Stepanek played relatively well against Djokovic and he was outstanding in the doubles match. This will be too tough of a situation for Lajovic to handle going up against a veteran opponent.

Pick: Stepanek in 3

2 Comments on Davis Cup previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Berdych, Stepanek vs. Lajovic

  1. Berdy is hanging on by his fingernails. Lost count of how many break points he has saved already in this first set.

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