The Croatian tennis team wrote history on Sunday after defeating the defeating the defending champions France in Lille to take the championship. This is Croatia’s second Davis Cup title.
The Davis Cup final was pretty much decided in the first two rubbers itself when the World No. 12 Borna Coric and the World No. 7 Marin Cilic proved to be far too strong for their opponents. On day 1, the two players respectively defeated Jeremy Chardy and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets to take a dominating 2-0 lead.
With visitors just a win away from the title, it was up to the doubles team of Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut to pull their side back into the tie. Impressively, they defeated the Croatian doubles team of Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) in three hours and 38 minutes to make the score 2-1.
On Sunday afternoon at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, it was up to the World No. 32 Lucas Pouille to keep his side in the competition. Things weren’t going to be easy for the 24-year-old Frenchman, who faced none other than a scintillating Cilic in the fourth rubber.
Needless to mention, the Maharashtra Open semifinalist dispatched Pouille in straight sets with 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3, in just a little over two hours. This was his second win over Pouille, with the first one come in the 2016 edition of the Davis Cup.
The Croatian No. 1 won 89% of his first service points while his adversary could manage to win only 74%. Additionally, Cilic won three break points without going on break himself and kept his unforced errors count at 29, in contrast to Pouille’s 44.
With that win, Cilic has effectively won the Davis Cup for Croatia – their second one in the history. They last won the title back in 2005 and since then, they have spent more than 10 years in trying to repeat that feat again. This was also Croatia’s second appearance in the Davis Cup Final in the last three years.
They last reached the final in 2016 wherein, they lost to Argentina in the final by 2-3. This time, however, the Croatian contingent broke that jinx and secured the title in the fourth rubber itself.
In many ways, this win is quite symbolic for Croatia. The visitors have essentially avenged their defeat to France in the FIFA World Cup Final by taking the Davis Cup away from them. Moreover, Cilic and Coric reached their career-high singles ranking earlier this year and will be looking forward to starting the next season on the same line.