What a weekend for Croatian tennis. The Americans were on the verge of going through leading 2-0 after the day one of the clash, but Čilić, Dodig, and Čorić had a different plan.
July 17, 2106 is the date to go into the history books of Croatian tennis. After Ivo Karlović won the ATP title in Newport aged 37 years, his colleagues staged a miracle comeback against the US Davis Cup team and have qualified for the semi-finals of the World Group.
Croatia was 2-0 down after the Friday matches, and as the Bryan brothers were the opponents for the doubles clash, the hosts were getting ready for celebrations against the nation they never managed to beat in the history of the competition.
Željko Krajan, the Croatian coach had a plan in his mind, and his last minute change on Saturday proved to be decisive, as Marin Čilić played what he described as his best doubles performance of his life.
That gave the Croatian team the lifeline to stay in the match, but has also boosted the team’s confidence, and with Marin Čilić facing John Isner in the opening match of Sunday’s session the momentum was on the Croatian side now. The big-serving American has never experienced the win against the Croatian no.1 and when Marin has won the first set tie-break it was clear it would remain so.
Čilić cruised to win the match 7-6, 6-3, 6-4, and it was down to Borna Čorić and Jack Sock to play the decider in Portland.
The American was the favorite on paper, as he is ranked better than the Croatian youngster, but as it often does in Davis Cup matches, pressure did its part, and Čorić on the other hand has shown why some of the best tennis players see him as a future top ten player.
He started with a break of Sock’s serve in a opening game of the match, and played like he was the more experienced of the two. It ended with Borna serving out the perfect game when he was serving for the match, to end it with the final score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and the wild celebrations started in Portland.
The Croatian team will face France in September’s semifinals, which will be played in Croatia, and one can only imagine the atmosphere the home crowd will provide for the players. They deserved it, as it was the first time ever for the Croatian team to come back after losing the first two matches of the Davis Cup weekend.
Here is the video of the Croatian celebration in Portland: