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Kukushkin edges Kecmanovic in three-hour thriller as Kazakhstan lead Serbia 1-0 in Davis Cup quarter-finals

World No 1 Novak Djokovic plays Alexander Bublik in the second singles

Mikhail Kukushkin Davis Cup 2021 AI / Reuters / Panoramic

2021 Davis Cup | Draw | Schedule 

Veteran Mikhail Kukushkin earned one of the most memorable victories of his career as he saved four match points to beat Miomir Kecmanovic in a thrilling battle on Wednesday to give Kazakhstan a surprise 1-0 lead over Serbia in the Davis Cup quarter-finals.

On his Davis Cup debut, Miomir Kecmanovic looked to have the match won at 5-3, 40-15 in the third set but world No 182 Kukushkin went for broke and it worked as he broke back and then won a titanic final-set tiebreak 13-11.

“This kind of match for sure is special,” Kukushkin said. “It was three hours, 18 minutes, it was a roller-coaster, a lot of match points. I don’t even know what the score was in the tiebreak. It’s why we love Davis Cup.”

World No 1 Novak Djokovic was due to play Alexander Bublik in the second singles. The winner of the tie will play Croatia in the semi-finals.

Kukushkin led by a set and 4-2 before world No 69 Kecmanovic woke up, winning seven straight games as he levelled and led 3-0 in the third. He extended the lead to 5-3 but the 33-year-old Kukushkin broke back, saving two match points in the ninth game and two more in the tiebreak before clinching a famous victory on his fifth match point.

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