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Belgrade, Nov 14 (EFE).- Serbia's chances of capturing its second Davis Cup title suffered a significant blow Thursday when No. 2 singles player Janko Tipsarevic was ruled out of this weekend's final against the defending champion Czech Republic due to a heel injury.
Tipsarevic, a former world No. 8 who is currently ranked No. 36, was a key member of the 2010 Serbian squad that won the country's lone title at tennis' biggest international team competition.
In the semifinals of that year's Davis Cup, Tipsarevic defeated both Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, who remain the Czech Republic's No. 1 and No. 2 singles players.
Without Tipsarevic, who sustained the injury at an event in Valencia, Spain, last month, the host Serbians will turn to little-known Dusan Lajovic, who is ranked No. 117 and has played mainly at the challenger level this year.
Serbia's No. 3 singles player in recent years, 76th-ranked Viktor Troicki, is also unavailable because he is serving a suspension for a doping-code violation.
The Serbians still boast world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who comes into this weekend's final on a 22-match winning streak after cruising past top-ranked Rafael Nadal in Monday's championship match of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Djokovic may pair with Nenad Zimonjic in Saturday's doubles, which figures to be an all-important point in this year's Davis Cup final.
Berdych and Stepanek are a formidable team with a 13-1 Davis Cup record as a duo, but Serbia should put up stiff resistance in the doubles whether or not Djokovic plays.
In Davis Cup quarterfinal action earlier this year, Zimonjic, winner of three doubles Grand Slam titles, and partner Ilija Bozoljac stunned the powerhouse U.S. team of Mike and Bob Bryan in a five-set thriller.
The final will get underway Friday at the Kombank Arena in Belgrade, with Djokovic squaring off in the opening singles match against the wily veteran Stepanek before Berdych takes the court against Lajovic.