The first day of the Davis Cup tennis final between host France and host Serbia on Friday featured straight-set wins by both nations' No. 1 players. Frenchman Gael Monfils dispatched Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic, 6-1, 7-6, 6-0, in just over two hours.
Then Serbia's No. 1 Novak Djokovic made up for his teammate's loss with a 6-3, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Gilles Simon.
For once the formbook has held up in the Davis Cup. The first day of the 2010 final ended with Serbia and France all square, following two surprisingly one-sided matches Friday which provided less than four and a half hours of tennis. The two teams' No. 1s, Gael Monfils and Novak Djokovic, both emerged with impressive victories, but against such poor opposition that it's hard to know what to make of it. Janko Tipsarevic opened with two service double faults, and apart from the second set which went to a tiebreak, he only won one game.
"I was too much in my world thinking what I need to do and never looking on the other side thinking, 'Hey maybe he is also nervous' or grabbing a towel and waiting for the crowd to get into the match, or whatever. I was just too much into my own head thinking what I'm doing good or bad and I got lost in that," said Tipsarevic.
After barely 80 minutes, Djokovic led Gilles Simon by two sets to love. And when he served for the match at 5-4 in the third, he was set for a comfortable victory. Starting defeat in the face, Simon finally found some form, and delayed the inevitable by a further 20 minutes, but Djokovic was just too good on the day.
"Nothing is easy, you know, even though results-wise it was three and one the first two sets ((Djokovic won the first two sets, 6-3, 6-1)). But you know, at this level you've got to lay on top of your game to be able to win these matches. You feel pressure, you know, you feel the expectations. It's normal. It's Davis Cup Finals, first time for Serbia to be in such a big occasion. Let's see. It's 1-1, everything is open," Djokovic said.
The match time could be significant, because Serbia must be tempted to throw Djokovic into the doubles, which now takes on massive importance in the destination of the 99th Davis Cup title.