Germany miss out on Dusseldorf final
Philipp Kohlschreiber saved six match points in a fightback against Janko Tipsarevic, but fell 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to the world No 8 as Germany missed out of a place in the final at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf on Friday.
The result gave the Serbs an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the tie and put them into the Saturday title match from the Blue group.
In the Red group, Argentina and the Czech Republic were playing for the honours at the eight nation event, which is the last major tuneup before Sunday's start of the French Open.
Radek Stepanek was facing Argentine Leonardo Mayer, with the Czechs holding a 1-0 overnight lead from Tomas Berdych's three-set win on Thursday over Carlos Berloq.
The 24th-ranked Kohlschreiber, who had won two of three previous meetings with Tipsarevic, rallied in the final set, coming from 1-4 down to level at five apiece.
The German, who won the Munich title this month, saved his first three match points in the tenth game as tensions mounted on another sunny afternoon on the Rochusclub clay.
The set eventually went into a tiebreaker, where Kohlschreiber salvaged three more Tipsarevic winning chances before the Serb sent his country into title contention Kohlschreiber put a forehand long after nearly two and a half hours.
"It was a great fight," said Kohlschreiber. "He is, after all, eighth in the world. "It would have been a big upset to win."
The German fired eight aces and saved nine of the 13 break points he faced.
Germany was defending the trophy which it also won in 2005, 1998, 1994 and 1989. Serbia won the event in 2009, the first title of his career for Tipsarevic, who has added two more since.
The Serb said that the team atmosphere always inspires him. "I always play better on a team, I like to have my teammates supporting me."
"I could have won easier," he said of his battle with Kohlschreiber. "I led 4-1 in the third and had three match points at one point. But in the end it doesn't matter - Serbia are in the final."