Croatia was considered the underdog in this duel
Marin Draganja and Nikola Mektić have played the best match of their careers and after four hours and 23 minutes before 2.500 fans in the Osijek Gradski Vrt stadium defeated the Spanish couple Feliciano and Marco Lopez with 6-7 (6), 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-4 and hence brought Croatia within a point to an unbelievable resolution and victory in the first round duel of the Davis Cup world group, Jutarnji List reported on February 4, 2017.
In the first set, with a total of six breaks, the Croatian couple missed out on a 4-2 advantage, while the experienced Spaniards, although they missed the set service at 6-5, won the first leg of the match in the tie-break.
But, as Franko Škugor on Friday showed firm character and did not falter after losing the first set, the same was done by Draganja and Mektić. They were up in the second set by 4-2 as well, but lost the advantage in the eighth game. In a new tie-break the couple led 5-2 and then lost four points in a row. However, with plenty of luck they saved a set-point by the Spanish, and used their second opportunity at 8-7 to even the set tally at 1-1.
In the third set all players guarded their service so it was again up to the tie-break lottery to decide the set. The Spanish had the beginning advantage of a mini-break, but the Croatian couple bounced back quickly. Feliciano Lopez made a double error at 5-5 and offered Mektić and Draganja the chance which they took and after two hours and 52 minutes they were within a set of a sensational win.
The current Roland Garros winners broke the service in the fourth set of Draganja twice and delayed the decision on the winner for the fifth set.
In it, thanks in part to two double errors by Feliciano Lopez, Croatian tennis players made a break in the first game. They had two chances for a double break and a 3-0 lead, while the Spanish at 4-2 managed to save a 15-40 score and two more break points.
At 5-4 Nikola Mektić served for the win and after four hours and 23 minutes had a match point. He stepped on the line and launched an ace for the incredible lead of Croatia 2-1 in matches after the second day.
On Sunday the first on the court will be Franko Škugor and Roberto Bautista Agut. If Škugor doesn’t win and push Croatia into quarterfinals, Ante Pavić will attempt to do against Pablo Carrena Busta. The incredible story in Osijek continues.