Croatia led 2 to 1 heading into the final day of the Davis Cup. Marin Cilic is a top 10 player who had won matches on days 1 and 2. A home court crowd plus a surface selected to benefit the Croatians spelled doom for Argentina in my mind. I figured even if JMDP won vs. Cilic that Karlovic indoors with a home crowd would ace his way to a win. I was wrong. For 2 sets, I looked like a genius. I got all of the day 1 and day 2 matches right. Why should I fear being wrong when a top 10 player is up 2 sets in favorable confines?
I should have feared being wrong because Juan Martin del Potro is a different player when fighting for his country. In Rio, he beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to a tough 4 set loss to Andy Murray. That effort landed Delpo a silver medal. JMDP avenged his loss to Murray by beating the Scot in the UK in Davis Cup play. Beating Cilic could not be harder than beating Nole, Rafa, and Muzzard. Delpo dug into his reserves and rallied from 2 sets down for the first time in his career.
Karlovic has a top 5 weapon in his serve. The rest of his game is pretty limited. Delbonis holding his nerve and his serve meant that Ivo was going to have to win a lot of tie breaks. That never materialized as Delbonis beat the older man in straight sets. Croatia went from 1 set from a Davis Cup title to losing 6 consecutive sets and losing the Davis Cup from ahead. It is a stunning win and adds a great deal to Argentina’s rich tennis tradition. It also adds to the scattered yet sublime results of Juan Martin del Potro’s career.
What. A. Comeback. @delpotrojuan fought until the bitter end against Marin Cilic to take the #DavisCupFinal into a live 5th rubber! pic.twitter.com/rppiDkBn2N
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 27, 2016