November 20, 2019 – The Croatia tennis team will not defend their title at the Davis Cup this year.
Gol.hr reports that the Croatia tennis team registered their second defeat in the final tournament of the new Davis Cup format. After losing to Russia 0:3 on Monday, the title defenders lost to Spain with an unreachable result of 0:2.
Roberto Bautista Agut scored the first point for Spain, beating Nikola Mektic 6:1, 6:3 in just 57 minutes of play. In the second match, Rafael Nadal, the world’s best tennis player, defeated Borna Gojo 6:4, 6:3 in 30 minutes.
Croatia was left with no prospect of reaching the quarterfinals, and thus without a chance to defend the title of Davis Cup.
Croatia needed a 3:0 win against Spain to stay in the top eight. However, without Marin Cilic, who did not travel to Madrid, and without Borna Coric, who retired from the tournament today due to exhaustion, it was nearly impossible to expect a 3:0 victory over Spain, led by Rafael Nadal.
After Coric pulled out on Tuesday, Nikola Mektic, who made his last singles appearance over two and a half years ago in the Cincinnati qualifiers, was chosen to save the day.
Mektic and Bautista Agut, currently the ninth-best tennis player in the world, had never played one another before tonight.
The Croatian tennis player won the first game, but that was all he showed in the rest of the set. With three breaks in 26 minutes, the Spaniard won the set with a score of 6:1. Agut continued his great series in the second set, receiving three games in a row. Mektic reduced it to 1:3, breaking Agut’s nine-game streak.
By the end of the set, the 30-year-old Zagreb native no longer lost his serve, but failed to make up for the break and ended the set with a score of 6:3 for the Spaniard.
In the second match, the 21-year-old debutant for Croatia solidly resisted Nadal, especially in the first set.
Gojo held on to 4:4 in the first set, saving four break points – three in the first game and one in the seventh game. Unfortunately, in the ninth game, Nadal took away Gojo’s serve and then safely served for 6:4 after 45 minutes of play. In the second set, he lost his serve in the first and ninth games for the final score of 6:3.
Recall, the young Croatian tennis player, who played for American Wake Forest University, joined the Croatia team after Marin Cilic’s injury.
Croatia will try to win a consolation point when Ivan Dodig and Ante Pavic face Marcel Granollers and Rafael Nadal in the final doubles match.
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