Idaho: The United States trail Serbia 2-1 in their Davis Cup quarter-final after the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan lost to Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 5-7, 4-6, 15-13 on Saturday in a match that stretched to 4 hours and 23 minutes.
Zimonjic served three aces in the final game, closing out the victory with an ace on the second match point. It was a clutch performance by a multiple Grand Slam doubles champion. "For sure, it's the biggest win in the Davis Cup doubles for me," said the 36-year-old Zimonjic, who was instrumental in Serbia's only Davis Cup victory in 2010. "We were playing very good. This was definitely a great, great performance and great match from me."
Bozoljac is a 27-year-old journeyman who ranks 335 in singles and 1,150 in doubles. "Anybody who was supposed to play with Nenad was supposed to be the underdog against the Bryans," Bozoljac said. "We won and I just can't believe it happened. This is my best performance in Davis Cup so far. I knew if I give my 100 percent for one match, I could play on a really high level."
The Bryans have a 20-4 record together in Davis Cup doubles but have lost their past two Davis Cup matches in five sets this year - the only two times they've played five-set matches in Davis Cup action.
"We have to tip our hats to those guys," Bob Bryan said. "They played well all day, 36 aces and they didn't give us much opportunity, especially in the fifth. We're obviously disappointed that we let the team down."
Zimonjic was the star of the opening two sets. But in the final set, the steadying force was the inexperienced Bozoljac, who has a serve that kept the Bryans off-balance. In the final set, the Serbs had two break points on Bob Bryan's serve in the ninth game, but the Americans were able to save that service game.
Serbia again had two break points, this time on Mike Bryan's serve in the 27th game, and converted on a Mike Bryan error on the second break opportunity. In the final game, the Bryans had their only two opportunities to break serve in the final set, but Zimonjic saved them with a service winner and an ace.
Both teams won 217 points in the match, but most of the overall statistics favoured the Serbians. The Serbians had 125 winners and 36 aces to 80 winners and only 12 aces for the Bryans. The Bryans were forced into 81 errors but only pushed the Serbians to 47 errors.
Sunday's reverse singles matches will start with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic playing 20th-ranked Sam Querrey. The final match will be 44th-ranked Viktor Troicki of Serbia against 23rd-ranked John Isner.