The end of the tennis season is reserved for the Davis Cup finals, held from November 25 to December 5. Croatia kicked off their group against Australia in Turin on Thursday.
Croatia national team coach Vedran Martić officially changed his lineup on Wednesday, and instead of the injured Borna Ćorić, he called up Nino Serdarušić. Thus, Marin Čilić, Nino Serdarušić, Borna Gojo, Nikola Mektić, and Mate Pavić are the forces that will represent Croatian tennis in Turin.
In the first 1st match of Group D between Croatia and Australia, Borna Gojo, currently, the 276th player in the world, defeated Alexei Popyrin, the 61st player in the world, 7:6 (5), 7:5. An hour before the match at Alpitour hall, coach Vedran Martić was uncertain between choosing Gojo or Nino Serdarušić as the second singles player, and in the end opted for the 23-year-old from Split, although he is ranked lower than the Zagreb native.
The second singles match followed between Marin Čilić (ATP-30) and Alex de Minaur (ATP-34). In a marathon of three sets, Marin Čilić found his way to victory topping the Australian 6:1, 5:7, 6:4.
Čilić violently started against De Minaur, took the first set (6:1) in 26 minutes, and took the 3:1 lead in the second set. De Minaur came back to win eight of the next 10 games and was up 2:0 in the deciding set. However, Marin came back with a vengeance and brought the winning point to the Croatia national team. This was their third duel and Čilić’s second victory.
Croatia was then represented in the doubles competition by the best duo in the world, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, against John Peers and Alex de Minaur. Mektić and Pavić won 6:3, 6:1!
Croatia is in Group D with Hungary and Australia, and if they win first place, they will also play against the winner of Group E (Italy, USA, Colombia) in the quarterfinals, also in Turin. Croatia will play against Hungary on Sunday.
The first phase of the competition is held in six groups, and the six group winners and the two best second-placed national teams will move forward. Two singles matches and one doubles match will be played.
Croatia, as the last winner of the ‘old’ Davis Cup in 2018 in Lille against France, did not become famous in Madrid two years ago. In the difficult group with Spain and Russia, they lost both matches 0:3, but there were objective reasons, such as Marin Čilić’s injury, who did not even travel to Madrid, and Borna Ćorić withdrew after the first match. More than anything, coach Željko Krajan was dismissed a few days prior, there was a conflict among the players, the Croatian Tennis Federation sided with the players, and Franko Škugor took over the coaching role.
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