BRATISLAVA: Jelena Jankovic and Aleksandra Krunic saved two match points before rallying to win the decisive doubles match to give Serbia a 3-2 victory over Slovakia in the Fed Cup playoff series on Sunday.
Jankovic and Krunic, who teamed up for the first time in the Fed Cup, overcame Daniela Hantuchova and Magdalena Rybarikova 2-6, 7-5, 9-7 on the indoor clay court at Sibamac Arena in a match that lasted 3 hours, 17 minutes.
"All members of the team contributed to the victory," Serbian captain Dejan Vranes said.
The Serbian pair was trailing 5-1 in the second set but the Slovaks wasted two match points at the 10th game before losing the set.
"We kept fighting and never gave up and somehow we managed to end up as winners," Jankovic said.
"It's hard to say what just happened," Slovak captain Matej Liptak said. "I can't say what the turning point was."
The Slovaks broke Krunic in the third set for a 6-5 lead but Rybarikova failed to serve out the match before the Serbs converted their first match point.
"We were close to triumphing over one of the best teams in the world," said Hantuchova. "It's hard to forget a loss like that. We have a team that could win the entire competition."
Serbia returns to the elite eight-nation World Group after one year while Slovakia is relegated.
It was the first win for Serbia over Slovakia in the Fed Cup after two losses, including a 3-2 defeat last year at the World Group playoff.
The teams split the reverse singles earlier Sunday.
Ana Ivanovic retired from her match against Dominika Cibulkova in the first of the reverse singles to give Slovakia a 2-1 lead. Cibulkova was leading 6-4, 3-3 when Ivanovic retired with an abdominal muscle problem.
Jankovic defeated Hantuchova 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 to draw Serbia level at 2-2. The eighth-ranked Jankovic converted her second match point to break Hantuchova in the final game to win in 2 hours, 47 minutes.
Jankovic replaced Bojana Jovanovski, who was beaten by Cibulkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening singles on Saturday.