Miomir Kecmanovic orchestrated a remarkable comeback after dropping the first set, overcoming Lorenzo Musetti with a scoreline of 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-1, securing a crucial 1-0 lead for Serbia in the Davis Cup semi-finals on Saturday.
The world number one, Novak Djokovic, is now set to face the fourth-ranked Italian, Jannik Sinner, in the second singles rubber, with the aim of steering his country to Sunday's final against Australia.
Despite Musetti's surprising selection by Italy coach Filippo Volandri over Matteo Arnaldi, who played in the previous singles match against the Netherlands, the 21-year-old demonstrated resilience and skill in a closely contested first set.
Despite facing an early service break, Musetti fought back to level at 5-5, securing the first break that Kecmanovic had conceded in the tournament.
However, Kecmanovic responded strongly in the tense tiebreak, ultimately conceding the set to Musetti. The Serbian player regrouped and dominated the second set, breaking Musetti twice to secure a 6-2 victory.
In the third set, Kecmanovic continued his momentum, breaking twice more to build an impressive 5-0 lead.
Despite Musetti attempting to stage a comeback, Kecmanovic sealed the match with a powerful forehand winner, securing a 1-0 lead for Serbia.
Reflecting on his comeback, Kecmanovic expressed pride in his fighting spirit, stating, "To come back from a setdown was really tough, so I'm really proud of the way that I fought."
With Djokovic set to play in the second singles rubber, Kecmanovic expressed hope in the world number one's ability to contribute to Serbia's success in the Davis Cup.