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Serbia have been hit by the loss of Janko Tipsarevic after their number two player pulled out of Davis Cup final against Czech Republic with a heel injury.
The world number 36 has lost his battle to recover from the problem he sustained in Valencia last month.
The news is a huge blow to Serbia’s hopes of emulating their 2010 victory, and piles the pressure on world number two Novak Djokovic to win both of his singles rubbers in Belgrade.
With Viktor Troicki unable to overturn his suspension for missing a drugs test, Tipsarevic will be replaced by world number 117 Dusan Lajovic – leaving Nenad Zimonjic to concentrate on partnering Ilija Bozoljac in Saturday’s pivotal doubles.
World number two Novak Djokovic takes on Radek Stepanek in Friday’s opening singles rubber after which Lajovic clashes with world number seven Tomas Berdych in Belgrade’s Kombank Arena.
Lukas Rosol and Jan Hajek will then play the doubles for the defending champions against Zimonjic and Bozoljac, with the reverse singles to follow on Sunday.
The tie could come down to the final rubber, with Djokovic looking to extend his 12-match winning streak against Berdych on hard courts.
The 26-year-old has won his last 22 matches on the ATP Tour, winning the last four tournaments he has contested in Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and London
Djokovic said: “Tomas is one of the best players in the world and although he’s never beaten me on a hard court, we have had a lot of long and tough matches.”