Croatia wins the Davis Cup (Photo: HRT) Croatia wins the Davis Cup (Photo: HRT)

The home court advantage did not help the French. They did not succeed in defending the title, although they tried everything to do so. Marin Čilić led Croatia to become one of ten countries that can say they won the oldest team tennis competition more than once, which went into history in Lille and Croatia will be written into the history books as the last winner.

Marin Čilić wins his match against Pouille to take the Davis Cup (Photo: Sanjin Strukić/PIXSELL)

At the packed Pierre Mauroy stadium the Croatian players were welcomed by whistles from the home spectators, especially Mate Pavić and Marin Čilić, while they welcomed the French team and the entry of Lucas Pouille onto the court with elation. Ahead of the match messages of support by French coach Yannick Noah following yesterday’s win in the doubles match were played on the video wall. However Croatian supporters would not let themselves be outdone and cheered in support of Marin Čilić.

In the tied first set Croatia’s best tennis player did not serve well, but he did everything else well enough to prevent Lucas Pouille from getting a chance to break his serve. The set was decided by a tie-break. At 3:3 Čilić wn a series of four points in a row and took the first set that calmed the French crowd.

In the second set he continued with similar play. Pouille held on well, served well and managed to surprise Čilić a few times with short returns. This however was not enough to throw the world’s seventh ranked player out of tact. Čilić won his first break in the match to take a 4:2 lead and sealed it in the next game, in which the Frenchman managed to come to a tie, but not a chance for a break. At 5:2 Pouille managed to save his game when it was at 0:40 and then at an advantage for Čilić, only for Čilić to take a lead of 2:0 in sets after an unreturnable forehand in the next game.

Croatian players celebrate winning the Davis Cup (Photo: Sanjin Strukić/PIXSELL)

Many people recalled 2016 in Zagreb and the match against Del Potro, but the scenario in Lille did not include a turn around. A Break for 3:2 brought Čilić to the verge of winning. At 5:3, after two hours and 17 minutes of play Čilić was leading 0:40. Pouille served an ace for the first match point. In the second match point Čilić attacked, but missed a volley. In the third match point he hit a perfect lob and gave Croatia its second Davis Cup, the last in the format it has been played for 118 years.

Source: HRT