Davis Cup Semifinals: Croatia Leads 2:0 After Day One in Zadar

Daniela Rogulj

Marin Čilić brought the second point to Croatia in the Davis Cup semifinals in Zadar. 

Borna Ćorić overcome Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3 and Marin Čilić mastered the 20-year-old debutant Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (5) to help Croatia lead 2:0 in the Davis Cup semifinals in Zadar, reports Gol.hr September 14, 2018. 

On Saturday, Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavić can bring the Croatia national team a total victory if they triumph in the doubles competition, which they have won for the last three years and nine consecutive matches.

Croatia has come to the overall victory after the first two days only twice, and both times in the first round and at home. In Poreč in 2009, Croatia overcame Chile 5-0, and a year later they won 5-0 over Ecuador.

After a very convincing performance by Borna Ćorić, Croatia’s best tennis player followed suit and sent a very clear message to the American debutant – 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe. 

The sixth best tennis player in the world took his task seriously, and in 26 minutes, won the first set where he had only given one game to the young American. Čilić kicked off the second set similarly when the fourth break in the match was at 4-1. Tiafoe, however, returned the break and began to show greater resistance to Čilić than in the first set. 

The American demonstrated this in the third set, in which both tennis players were very convincing with their service, and neither reached a new break. At the beginning of the decisive set, the 13th game saw the American player lead 3-0. On the other end, with a four-point series for Marin, Croatia’s best player won the tie-break of the second set. 

At 4-6, Tiafoe saved the first match point, though he couldn’t repeat his luck for the second. Čilić’s service overwhelmed the American player, and after two hours and 14 minutes, Čilić sealed the victory. Ćorić and Čilić needed only four hours and 38 minutes to bring Croatia to the door of their third final, the second in the last three editions of the Davis Cup.

More than 6,000 spectators watched Marin’s victory, which made him the most successful Croatian Davis Cup player with 37 wins. This was his 27th win in individual duels, while he also has 10 wins in doubles. Čilić has thus overcome Ivan Ljubičić’s record.

Čilić & Co. will have to do a bit more to bring the Davis Cup to Croatia for the second time in history, as Ljubičić and Mario Ančić did in 2005. If Croatia succeeds in defeating the Americans, they will play France or Spain in the Davis Cup final. 


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