CILIC, DODIG PUT CROA­TIA IN THE LEAD

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MARIN CILIC and Ivan Dodig beat Ar­gen­tine pair Juan Martin del Potro and Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in yes­ter­day’s dou­bles to put Croa­tia 2-1 up in the Davis Cup fi­nal. Former US Open cham­pion Cilic gave Croa­tia the up­per hand in Zagreb by win­ning Fri­day’s open­ing sin­gles rub­ber against Fed­erico Del­bo­nis be­fore Del Potro lev­elled for Ar­gentina with a fourset win over Ivo Karlovic. Both Cilic and Del Potro (car­i­ca­ture) were drafted in for Satur­day’s dou­bles with the former team­ing up with Dodig to claim the first two sets in a tie-break be­fore wrap­ping up vic­tory af­ter Mayer dropped serve at 3-2 down in the third. “The at­mos­phere was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic as our fans car­ried us through­out the con­test,” said Cilic. Dodig added: “This is a once in a life­time ex­pe­ri­ence and I have to thank the fans for cre­at­ing a fan­tas­tic at­mos­phere. We will be root­ing for Marin to fin­ish the job to­mor­row.” Olympic sil­ver medal­list Del Potro, who has bounced back af­ter two in­jury-rav­aged sea­sons, must beat sixth-ranked Cilic in the re­v­erse sin­gles to keep alive Ar­gen­tine hopes of a first Davis Cup ti­tle. “Del Potro is an in­cred­i­bly good player but I am con­fi­dent I have enough left in the tank to fin­ish the job,” added Cilic. How­ever, should Del Potro ex­tend the tie 37year-old Karlovic – the old­est player to fea­ture in a Davis Cup sin­gles match since 43-year-old Aus­tralian Nor­man Brookes in 1920 – and Del­bo­nis would then face off in the de­cid­ing rub­ber.

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