Serbia progressed into the quarter-finals of the United Cup with a hard-fought victory over the Czech Republic team in a tie that went all the way to the mixed doubles match.
Marketa Vondrousova gave the Czechs the lead in the opening singles match, defeating Olga Danilovic 6-1 3-6 6-3 in two hours and six minutes.
Novak Djokovic then played through a wrist injury to beat Jiri Lehecka 6-1 6-7(3) 6-1 and level at 1-1 before Danilovic and Hamad Medjedovic combined to power Serbia to victory and set up a last-eight clash with Australia.
Vondrousova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, was pushed by Danilovic, who is ranked 110 places below her.
She dominated the opening set but dropped her serve early in the second as the momentum swung to the Serb. Danilovic led 3-0 before being pegged back to 3-3 but won the next three games to level the contest and force a decider.
Vondrousova again lost her opening service game of the set before reeling off five in a row to close in on victory at 5-1.
Danilovic got one of the breaks back to make it 5-3 but it only delayed the inevitable, as the Czech eventually got the job done with a deep forehand volley.
Djokovic, Serbia’s talisman, got his country level despite battling a wrist problem against Lehecka. The world No. 1 looked on course for a serene win when he wrapped up the first set 6-1 and went a break clear in the second but the Czech hit back.
Lehecka won four games in a row and served for the set before eventually levelling the match via a tie-break.
But Djokovic found form again when it mattered most and made light work of the third set, racing to a 5-0 lead and comfortably serving it out.
Djokovic then turned cheerleader for the decisive mixed doubles. Serbia needed to win a set to top Group E and progress to the last eight, but that was thrust into doubt when Czech duo Miriam Kolodziejova and Petr Nouza sealed the opener.
But Danilovic and Medjedovic responded to earn a thrilling 4-6 7-6(2) 10-8 victory and book Serbia’s spot in the quarter-finals.
Poland will take on China in the only other last-eight clash that has been determined.
Chile topple Greece
In Group B, Chile bounced back from defeat against Canada to beat Greece 2-1.
Nicolas Jarry won in three sets to give the Chileans the lead before Maria Sakkari levelled for the Greeks.
Sakkari returned for the mixed doubles alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas but fell to Daniela Seguel and Tomas Barrios Vera in three sets.
The result means Greece have to beat Canada in the final round-robin match of the group to have any hope of progressing.
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