DAVIS CUP TENNIS • 10SBALLS SHARES RICKY’S REVIEW

Written by: on 16th September 2018
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Croatia vs USA
DAVIS CUP TENNIS • 10SBALLS SHARES RICKY'S REVIEW

epa07024901 Frances Tiiafoe of USA in action against Borna Coric of Croatia during the the Davis Cup semi final tie between Croatia and the USA in Zadar, Croatia, 16 September 2018. EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT  |
Frances Tiiafoe of USA in action against Borna Coric of Croatia during the the Davis Cup semi final tie between Croatia and the USA in Zadar, Croatia, 16 September 2018. EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT

 

 

United States makes it interesting, but Croatia survives in marathon Davis Cup semifinal

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

After just six sets of tennis on Friday that saw Croatia seize a 2-0 lead over the visiting United States in the Davis Cup semifinals, it looked like it would be a straightforward weekend.

 

But if there is one thing we have learned from this competition, at least under it’s current format that is ending after 2018, it’s two expect the unexpected. And the unexpected happened again on the red clay of Zadar, as 14 sets over the final two days were required to decide a winner between these two countries.

 

The United States almost completed what would have been a legendary Davis Cup comeback, but Croatia managed to hold off the underdogs 3-2 to book a spot alongside France in November’s final. Borna Coric provided the clinching point with 6-7(0), 6-1, 6-7(11), 6-1, 6-3 victory over Frances Tiafoe after four hours and six minutes.

 

The Croats should never have found itself on the brink of defeat. They were two points away from sweeping the Americans 3-0 when Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison were serving to stay in Saturday’s doubles match and trailing 15-30 late in the fifth set. After the visitors ended up taking that point, they produced even more dramatics in Sunday’s first singles contest. Croatia No. 1 singles player Marin Cilic led Sam Querrey by a set and 6-1 in the second-set ‘breaker, but Querrey unbelievably fought off five straight set points, eventually evened the match, and went on to pull off a 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 upset.

 

That set the stage for a roller-coaster affair between Coric and Tiafoe. The 20-year-old Tiafoe took two of the first three sets in tiebreakers, but on both occasions Coric responded with a breadstick in the ensuing set. Too solid in the fifth, the 21-year-old broke for a 3-2 advantage and broke Tiafoe again at 5-3 to secure the victory.

 

Said Coric, “This is the most special moment of my whole life…by far.”

 

Croatia will pay a visit France in late November in a showdown for the last Davis Cup title before the competition format changes drastically starting in 2019. It is the same matchup, of course, that took place in the 2018 World Cup final, won by France 4-2.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

 

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