Djokovic will lead off for Serbs against Czechs

9:36 AM, Nov 14, 2013   |    comments
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Belgrade, Serbia ( - 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 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 former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych and the 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 Jaroslav Navratil.

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.

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