Ar­gentina win in Zagreb

> Del­bo­nis, Del Potro seals maiden Davis Cup ti­tle against Croa­tia

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

Fswept aside Croa­tia’s Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in Sun­day’s de­cid­ing rub­ber as Ar­gentina clinched a first Davis Cup ti­tle with a stun­ning fight­back in Zagreb. Juan Martin del Potro, cheered on by Ar­gen­tine foot­ball leg­end Diego Maradona, staged an in­cred­i­ble come­back from two sets down to beat Marin Cilic in the open­ing re­verse sin­gles to level the tie at 2-2.

Left-han­der Del­bo­nis then tamed the big-serv­ing Karlovic as Ar­gentina, run­ners-up on four pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions, be­came just the 15th coun­try to lift the tro­phy in 116 years.

“This is one of those dreams that has come true. I tried to keep fo­cused to do what I had to do, that’s all I could think be­cause if I thought about any­thing else it would be a dis­as­ter,” said Del­bo­nis.

Ar­gentina coach Daniel Or­sanic added: “The guys were amaz­ing to­day. Juan Martin won an in­cred­i­ble match and Fed­erico played the match of his life.”

Del­bo­nis was beaten by Cilic in five sets in Fri­day’s first sin­gles match but blew away the 37year-old Karlovic, an op­po­nent ranked 21 places above him, in just over two hours.

The world No. 41 broke Karlovic – the old­est player to fea­ture in a Davis Cup sin­gles match since 43-year-old Aus­tralian Nor­man Brookes in 1920 – four times to help Ar­gentina ban­ish the mem­o­ries of los­ing fi­nals ap­pear­ances in 1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011.

But much of the credit will go to Del Potro af­ter the Olympic silver medal­list, who missed the ma­jor­ity of 2014 and 2015 through in­jury, out­lasted Cilic in an epic five-hour bat­tle of for­mer US Open cham­pi­ons.

“I was pos­i­tive all the time and did not let my head drop af­ter go­ing two sets down. This was an emo­tion­ally ex­haust­ing match and one of the big­gest wins of my ca­reer,” said Del Potro. – AFP


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