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20 December 2013

Top 5 moments of 2013 - The longest-known doubles rubber


Photo: Paul ZimmerThe scoreboard

Each day this week we will be casting our memory back over 2013 to bring you the best moments from another fantastic year in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group.

The top moment in Davis Cup this year came at a very early stage in the competition but will not only be remembered as a highlight of 2013, it will go down in history.

Switzerland were hosting Czech Republic in the first round at the Palexpo in Geneva and both teams had scored routine victories on the opening day’s play courtesy of Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych.

The same two players were on the opposite side of the net for the doubles rubber on Sunday – Wawrinka partnered by Marco Chiudinelli; Berdych by Lukas Rosol – and what looked like a close encounter on paper proved to be more than that. It was record breaking.

With the match ebbing and flowing between both sides, it was forced into a fifth set with Czech Republic serving first. Three hours and 36 minutes later, the Czechs had finally found a way to break the serve of Chiudinelli having held an astonishing 23 times themselves.

The match surpassed the seven-hour mark by one minute and set records for most games in a doubles rubber since the inception of the World Group, most games in a doubles rubber since the tiebreak was introduced, the longest-known doubles rubber in elapsed time and most games in a doubles set in the World Group, not to mention the most games in the fifth set of a doubles rubber ever.

The players involved still look back on that encounter with a certain sense of disbelief at the drama that unfolded. Even the longest single stint of the famous Isner v Mahut match at Wimbledon was only played for four minutes longer than the doubles in February.

It seems unfair that one team had to lose but Wawrinka went on to have the best year of his career and Berdych went on to retain the Davis Cup title with his Czech side. 

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