An historic win for Argentina in the final of the 2016 Davis Cup in Zagreb on Sunday.
Argentina’s Federico Delbonis beat Ivo Karlović in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the final rubber to give Argentina a thrilling 3-2 win and their first ever Davis Cup title.
Karlović, who would have become the oldest man to win a singles rubber in a Davis Cup final in 104 years, could not find his range with his most powerful weapon – his serve – and Delbonis took full advantage.
Karlović was unable to find any way to break Delbonis’s serve, as the Argentine managed a break of serve in each of the first two sets, and twice in the third to win the deciding rubber comfortably.
Earlier in the day Croatian No. 1 and world No. 6 Marin Čilić had a chance to wrap up the final but was beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro in the first of the reverse singles matches.
Čilić was at his fantastic best, streaking out to a 2 set lead, but eventually went down in a five-set thriller 5-7, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.
Čilić started the rubber strong, holding serve in the opening game before immediately breaking Del Potro to take a 2-0 lead. Del Potro would break back but Čilić hung on to win the tie-breaker and the first set.
The second set was more comfortable for the large contingent of Croatian fans with Čilić breaking Del Potro twice to run away with it 6-2.
Del Potro got himself back into the match when he broke Čilić in the 12th game of the third set to take it 7-5, and again broke the Croatian in the fourth set to win it 6-4.
Del Potro, lifted by the boisterous Argentina fans, including Diego Maradona, served stronger out of the two in the fifth set to break Čilić twice. After almost 5 hours of tennis Del Potro took the match and the final into a deciding 5th rubber.
Ivan Dodig and Marin Čilić have given Croatia a 2-1 lead after the second day of the final of the 2016 Davis Cup in Zagreb.
Čilić backed up from his marathon 5-set win over Federico Delbonis on Friday to join his good friend and ‘Best Man’ Dodig to dispose of Argentina’s pair of Leonardo Mayer and Juan Martin Del Potro in the Double’s rubber.
The Croatian pairing, who famously beat the world’s best pairing, America’s Bryan brothers in the semi-final were too good for Mayer and Del Potro, winning in straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 6-3.
Juan Martin Del Potro has left the the final of the 2016 Davis Cup all square at 1-1 after the first day after beating Ivo Karlović in four sets.
In an action-packed opening day at a full Zagreb Arena on Friday, Del Potro put Argentina back on level terms after Marin Čilić had early given Croatia the lead when he beat Federico Delbonis in a 5-set thriller.
It could not have been a worse start for Karlović as he was broken in the very first game by Del Potro. That break was enough for the former world No. 4 to take the opening set 6-3.
Del Potro should have taken the second set also but blew two set points in the tie-breaker to let Karlović back in the match with the second set 7-6.
Del Potro regained control of the match when he broke Karlović’s serve in the 8th game of the third set to take it 6-3.
Karlović had no answer to Del Potro’s strong service game and could not find a way to break the Argentine to force a fifth set. Del Potro would break in the 11th game to take the fourth set and the match 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.
World No. 6 Čilić earlier gave Croatia a 1-0 lead over Argentina in the final of the 2016 Davis Cup.
Čilić beat Argentina’s No. 2 Delbonis in a classic Davis Cup thriller, winning in 5 sets 6-3, 7-5. 3-6, 1-6, 6-2 in front of a packed Zagreb Arena on Friday.
Čilić, fresh from the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London last week, started strong, breaking the left-handed Delbonis in the fourth game before going on to claim the first set 6-3.
The second set was a lot more closer contested than the first. Čilić had to wait until the scores were level at 5-5 before he broke Delbonis’s serve. Čilić made no mistake and served out to take a 2-0 lead over the World No. 41.
With the large group of Argentina fans starting to get more vocal, Delbonis fought back well in the third set and broke Čilić twice before giving up one serve himself to give Argentina their first set of the final 6-3. Riding the wave, Delbonis stormed away with the fourth set also, allowing the Croatian just one game to send the opening match of the final into a deciding 5th set.
Čilić left the court after the 4th set for a toilet break and he came back a different player than in the previous two sets, immediately breaking Delbonis. Čilić went on to break again to claim the 5th set and a thrilling match.