By Jake Davies
- The hosts Croatia seal the doubles rubber to take a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup Final
- Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig defeats Juan Martin Del Potro and Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (2) 7-6 (4) 6-3
- The Croats are one win from their first Davis Cup triumph since 2005.
ZAGREB, CROATIA – Croatia’s win in the often pivotal doubles rubber sets up a thriller finish with a potential clash between Marin Cilic & Juan Martin Del Potro first on on the last day.
Marin Cilic & Ivan Dodig defeat Juan Martin Del Potro & Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (2) 7-6 (4) 6-3
Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig gave the Croatians the lead going into the final day of the Davis Cup Final, as they impressed against the Argentinian makeshift team of Leonardo Mayer and Juan Martin Del Potro, taking the doubles rubber in straight sets.
There were no breaks of service in the opening set of the doubles rubber but Croatia looked much better and more solid in the tiebreak as they dropped just the two points.
The pairing of Cilic and Dodig was notably a lot stronger than the Argentinians. The Croatians had played doubles at Davis Cup level much more frequently and have beaten some of the best doubles players in the world this year. In the quarter-final, they beat the Bryan Brothers, who had only lost 4 matches in 28 doubles rubbers for the United States. Then in the Davis Cup semi-finals, Cilic and Dodig pulled off another great win by taking down the French duo of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who some consider as the greatest doubles team in the world as of now.
Croatia took a set and a break lead in the second set, but were pegged back by the Argentinians when Cilic and Dodig both crumbled on their respective forehand shots. The revival was short-lived when the Croatians took the second set tiebreak. They would go on to win the match in straight sets as they took advantage of a flailing Mayer, who lost his pivotal service game in the third set.
It could be a crucial win for the Croatians. Since 1981, only two teams have successfully turned a 1-2 deficit in their favour in a Davis Cup Final. Argentina will have to do this to ensure they win their first ever Davis Cup crown. They will be heavily reliant on the efforts of Del Potro, their No.1 player. He was integral to their success against Great Britain in the semi-finals and has to beat Cilic in order to keep the final alive for the Argentinians.
Many nomination changes may take place tomorrow, but it looks extremely likely that Cilic and Del Potro will meet in the fourth rubber, which looks an appetising match up on one of tennis’ biggest stages – a Davis Cup Final.
The fourth rubber will take place at 1pm GMT
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