(Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic overpowered Dennis Novak after Dusan Lajovic battled past Gerald Melzer to give Serbia a 2-0 lead in their opener against Group F hosts Austria in the Davis Cup Finals in Innsbruck on Friday.
Djokovic, aiming to guide Serbia to their first title since 2010 and their second overall, made light work of his 28-year-old opponent, claiming a 6-3 6-2 victory in under an hour.
The 20-times major winner dropped just six points on serve and did not face a break point.
Lajovic had a much tougher time against Melzer, the younger brother of fellow professional Juergen, as he was forced to toil for a 7-6(5) 3-6 7-5 win.
The 31-year-old squandered a break advantage in the third set but recovered to convert his fourth match point and seal victory.
“It is the Davis Cup. It is the emotions, the stress, the pressure. It is the tight moments all the time,” said Lajovic. “He played some good tennis in the past couple of months, and had confidence and showed it today, playing great tennis.
Elsewhere, Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner secured emphatic wins in their singles rubbers to give Group E hosts Italy a 2-0 lead against the United States in Turin.
Debutant Sonego got the Italians off to the perfect start with a 6-3 7-6(4) victory over big-serving Reilly Opelka with a disciplined display that included only one unforced error.
“It was not easy to play here, but this crowd… It’s the first time in Davis Cup and I was so looking forward to this match — thank you everyone,” said the 26-year-old.
World number 10 Sinner, who made his debut at the season-ending ATP Finals this month, put the tie beyond doubt as he smashed 17 winners in a 6-2 6-0 thrashing of John Isner.
“Playing here was very special,” Sinner said. “Today we have won already, which is great. We have a great team and everyone is a great guy as well, so we are just trying to stay together. I am very honoured to be a part of this.”
In Madrid, Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta helped holders Spain to a 2-0 lead over debutants Ecuador.
Veteran Lopez breezed past Roberto Quiroz 6-3 6-3 before Carreno Busta fought back from a set down to beat Emilio Gomez 5-7 6-3 7-6(5).
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)