Davis Cup Madrid: Russia Tops Croatia 3:0 in First Round

By 18 November 2019

November 18, 2019 - The Davis Cup debuted its new format on Monday in Madrid. Croatia kicked off their competition in Group B against Russia. 

The Croatia national tennis team lost the first duel on Monday, when Borna Gojo, a 21-year-old debutant for Croatia, was defeated by Andrey Rublev 3:6, 3:6 after an hour and eight minutes of play.

Borna Gojo (ATP-280), who only made his way into the world of professional tennis three months ago, had a poor start to the match against the favored Rublev, the 23rd best player in the world. He lost his service in the first game, but managed to collect himself and immediately return with a break. However, the remainder of the first set was a one-way street in which the Russian tennis player took Gojo’s serve two more times.

At the start of the second set, Gojo had two consecutive breaks but did not use them. Rublev then came to a break and routinely concluded the match in his favor.

Gojo played for American Wake Forest University and joined Croatia after Marin Cilic dropped out due to injury. Interim coach Franko Skugor opted for Gojo because he felt he could do better on a faster basis than Nino Serdarusic.

“I’m not satisfied, I had some chances, but I didn't serve well enough. My serve was not at the level as usual, and especially not at the level for this match. I also had occasions where I could be more aggressive, but I was nervous, so I played safely.  We will get the positive things out of this match and try to be as good as possible on Wednesday," Gojo said after his performance.

In the second match, Croatia’s best tennis player Borna Coric lost to Karen Khachanov 7:6(4), 4:6, 4:6.

Coric opened the match well, won the first set, but unfortunately lost his energy in the continuation of the match due to recent virus. Hachanov thus turned the result in his favor.

There was not too much excitement in the first set until it was 3:3 and both tennis players held their serves. Khachanov had three consecutive break points to lead 4:3. However, Borna managed to even it at 4:4. The set was then decided in the thirteenth game. Hachanov led 2:0 with a mini break, but Borna returned and had a tiebreak at 7:4.

In the second set, Khachanov managed to equalize, and the key was the seventh game in which Khachanov broke Coric for the 4:3 lead. In the next game, Borna had the opportunity to get back the game he lost, but failed.

Coric dwindled in the third set. In the fifth game, he saved four break points, but in the seventh game, he struggled and Khachanov came to a great advantage, which he defended until the end of the match.

It was their third encounter and the first win for the 17th best tennis player in the world. Coric won his first two matches in 2017 in Rotterdam and Milan.

“I played the first set great, I even surprised myself a little, the second set, in my opinion, I was better, I didn't break him at 3:3 and then everything went downhill. My strength fell and I could no longer get anything out. I’m sorry about the second set where; I thought I had the match in control, two, three points decided the match and he prevailed. I just didn't take my chances,” Coric said.

Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic played in the doubles match that followed against Khachanov and Rublev and lost 7:6 (3), 6:4. Thus, Croatia lost 0:3 to Russia on day one.

At this year's Davis Cup, eighteen teams are divided into six groups of three teams. The winners of the groups and the two best runner-up teams will advance to the quarterfinals. All matches are played in a format with two singles matches and one doubles match.

Croatia's group also includes Spain, led by the world number one tennis player Rafael Nadal.

Spain and Russia meet tomorrow, and in the last match in the group, the title defender Croatia will play against Spain on Wednesday.

Source: HRT

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