QArgentina Claims First Ever Davis Cup with Photo Finish
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The Davis Cup final, hosted in Zagreb, was going team Croatia’s way until disaster on Sunday spelled a photo finish comeback for Argentina, as they claimed their first ever Davis Cup 3-2. The Argentinians, led by a rejuvenated and triumphant Juan Martin Del Potro lost a crucial doubles rubber and were a set away from runner-up status early on Sunday, but they won the final five sets of play in the 2016 Davis Cup final to earn a hard fought victory.
In Friday action Croatian stalwart Marin Cilic eased his way past Federico Delbonis in a fifth set. Delbonis fought hard to make it a match after going two sets down, but Cilic was simply too strong on hard courts. Del Potro evened up the tie though with a narrow four set victory over veteran Ivo Karlovic. The Tower of Tandil withered Dr. Ivo’s serve, and avoided tiebreaks in the three sets he won, dropping the only tiebreak played in the match.
Croatia was riding high when Cilic and Ivan Dodig dominated Del Potro and Leonardo Mayer in the doubles, but they were caught staring at the trophy when Cilic went two sets up against Del Potro on Sunday, and from that point the Argentine’s were able to turn everything around. Del Potro got breaks in the final three sets of his match with Cilic, and with his forehand clicking, he set up Delbonis in the decisive fifth rubber.
Delbonis didn’t disappoint, despite losing a tough match on Friday he was steady against Karlovic, who offered little on return, and was off on his own serve, dooming Croatia’s chances. In straight set fashion, Delbonis and his countryman claimed Davis Cup glory on the road. Argentina had made Davis Cup finals in recent history, but captain Daniel Orsanic was the one able to lead them to glory. The last three editions of the Davis Cup have now featured a different champion and next year’s could be no different.