ATP Cup Sydney: Croatia Records Second Group Win, Tops Poland 2:1

By 6 January 2020

January 7, 2020 - In their second appearance in Group E at the ATP Cup in Sydney, the Croatia tennis team reached their second victory, topping Poland 2:1. Marin Cilic secured the first point for Croatia against Kacper Zuk (7:6 (8), 6:4). Hubert Hurkacz equalized with a surprisingly convincing victory against Borna Coric (6:2, 6:2), though Croatia’s doubles team of Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic were better than Hurkacz and Lukasz Kubot 6:2, 6:1.

The young Kacper Zuk (20), the 448th best tennis player in the world who played his first-ever ATP match on Monday, was inspiring against Marin Cilic, and in the tie-break of the first set, he reached the set-point (6:5). However, it was Marin to find the path to victory in two sets.

"I think my level of play was good; I was aggressive, served well. If I have to choose something that I was not happy with, then it is definitely utilizing my chances to break,” Marin said after the match. Marin used only one of the 13 opportunities to take Zuk’s serve. Zuk, on the other hand, did not use any of his four breaks. 

Hubert Hurkacz (37th on the ATP list) dominated Borna Coric in the second match. The Zagreb native made as many as 26 unforced errors during the match and won a total of eight points on Hurkacz’s serve.

"It was one of the best matches of my career so far," the 22-year-old  Hurkacz admitted after the match.

As for the doubles, it was a cat-and-mouse game where Hurkacz and Kubot scored just nine points on the return serve. In addition to the Croatian victory, the match will be remembered for a fantastic move by Ivan Dodig at a 3-0 lead in the second set. Ivan instinctively played a fantastic lob behind his back, which resulted in the eruptive applause of fans. It was one of the most beautiful and impressive points ever seen in a doubles competition.

Croatia is now on the verge of winning the group and only needs one win in the match against Argentina, which is scheduled for Wednesday. 

The only way Croatia can fail to qualify for the quarterfinals is in the event of a 3:0 defeat to Argentina and Austria's 3:0 victory against Poland. In this case, Croatia would have the weakest ratio.

One win against Argentina would be enough to put Croatia at the top to secure the quarterfinals. 

Marin Cilic will play against Guido Pella and will be the first to secure Croatia's spot in the quarterfinals. If he fails, a fight between Borna Coric and Diego Schwartzman will follow, followed by a doubles match.

Given the first two rounds, the safest pair would be Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic, who’ve won both matches thus far. 

In any case, Croatia is in a great position to qualify for the quarterfinals of the premier ATP Cup, in which they would meet the winner of Group D. This will very likely be Russia, who only needs to defeat Norway to secure the first place. 

Source: HTS

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