Cilic Clinches Second Davis Cup Crown For Croatia
Visiting nation notched three straight-sets singles wins
FRANCE 1, CROATIA 3
Lille, France (Indoor Clay)
Marin Cilic ended Croatia's 13-year wait for a second Davis Cup title on Sunday, beating Lucas Pouille 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3 at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille.
The World No. 7 needed two hours and 19 minutes to secure victory for the visiting nation, winning 89 per cent of first-serve points and landing 16 forehand winners. Cilic has now won a record 39 Davis Cup rubbers for Croatia (39-17), which includes 29 wins from 40 singles encounters.
“It’s not every day that you become a world champion,” said Cilic. “For us it’s a dream come true, for this nation, we are so passionate, you can see the fans are enjoying themselves. I feel that in Croatia it’s going to be incredible too.”
Cilic ends his season with 44 tour-level wins for the second straight year. The World No. 7 lifted his 18th tour-level title at the Fever-Tree Championships in June, saving one championship point to overcome Novak Djokovic. Cilic has claimed at least one tour-level title in each of the past 11 ATP World Tour seasons.
After falling to a 3-2 loss against Argentina in the 2016 final, Croatia was appearing in its third Davis Cup final. In 2005, Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic led Croatia to its maiden title in the team competition against Slovakia in Bratislava.
France was aiming to become only the second team ever to recover from a 2-0 deficit in a Davis Cup final. Captain Yannick Noah's decision to replace Jeremy Chardy with Lucas Pouille proved to be unsuccessful, with Pouille falling short in his attempt to recreate his 2017 final heroics. Last year, the 24-year-old defeated Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 in his first live fifth rubber to earn France its 10th Davis Cup title.