World No. 1 Djokovic lost to World No. 4 Jannik Sinner in the crucial second rubber of the Davis Cup semifinal between Serbia and Italy on Saturday. Sinner clawed his way into the match from the brink of defeat, staring the barrel, but saved all three match points in the 10th game of the third set.
Djokovic ended up on the wrong end of a 2-6, 6-2, 5-7 score at the hands of the hard-hitting 22-year-old, who would also confirm Italy's place in the final by winning the decisive doubles match together with Lorenzo Sonego. It was the fourth time in his career Djokovic lost while holding match points.
The spotlight belonged to Sinner and the Italian team, but the afternoon was one of heartbreak and devastation for Djokovic and Serbia who were pursuing their first Davis Cup title in 13 years. On the eve of the tournament, Djokovic called it one of his "greatest goals" of his season and it would have put the cherry on top of the perfectly iced season's cake.
But despite his seemingly unending dominance on the ATP Tour, Djokovic's record against Top 5 players in the aforementioned team competitions makes for grim reading. It has been his real kryptonite. Defeat to Sinner took his winless streak to 0-7 against such opposition.
Prior to that defeat, Djokovic had never lost a Davis Cup singles tie in 21 matches dating back to 2011. But Sinner inflicted Djokovic's fourth Top 5 defeat in the Davis Cup. Djokovic has previously lost Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Nikolay Davydenko in this event.
At the Olympics, he suffered heartbreak to Nadal in Beijing, Andy Murray in London, and Alexander Zverev in Tokyo. Remarkably all three meetings were at the semifinal stage.