Frances Tiafoe to Make U.S. Davis Cup Debut vs. Marin Cilic on Friday
Steve Johnson vs. Borna Coric to Open U.S. vs. Croatia Semifinal Tie
(September 13, 2018) Twenty-year-old Frances Tiafoe will make his Davis Cup debut on Friday in the United States’ World Group Semifinal tie vs. Croatia, taking on Marin Cilic in the day’s second singles match, after Steve Johnson and Borna Coric kick off the tie on outdoor red clay in Zadar.
“I’m extremely satisfied about it,” said Tiafoe. “I’m happy to be on the team, happy to get the opportunity and to be with a great group of guys. I’m just ready to go and to have a good week.”
Johnson, the top-ranked singles player nominated for the U.S. this week, was drawn first against the world No. 18 Coric at the St. Donatus Church in Old Town Zadar. The two-time NCAA singles champion Johnson won his only meeting against the 21-year old former US Open junior champion, a four-set victory on the red clay of Roland Garros in 2017.
Tiafoe will become the 141st player to represent the U.S. in Davis Cup and the third-youngest this century, following Andy Roddick (18) and teammate Ryan Harrison (19). His first test will be a trial-by-fire, of sorts, facing the world No. 6 on his home soil. Cilic is 26-10 in Davis Cup singles, and 11-4 on clay. Cilic is the highest-ranked player a Davis Cup rookie has had to face in his debut since teammate Sam Querrey drew world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Spain on clay in the 2008 Semifinals, a match in which a 20-year old Querrey won the first set, but lost the match in four.
“It’s been a process going on now for several months, actually, after we had the Quarterfinals victory – seeing who was going to be healthy, who was going to be available and looking at the matchups,” said U.S. Captain Jim Courier about determining the singles nominations. “So we’ve been processing for quite some time.”
Tennis Channel will air live daily coverage starting at 11 a.m. local/5 a.m. ET on Friday and Sunday and 2 p.m. local/8 a.m. ET on Saturday for doubles.
World doubles No.1 Mike Bryan and No. 54 Ryan Harrison were nominated in doubles against world doubles No. 4 Mate Pavic and No. 24 Ivan Dodig for Saturday’s doubles match. It’s a first-time pairing, Bryan and Harrison, though the two Americans have substantial individual doubles success on which to rely. Bryan is an 18-time Grand Slam doubles champion and the U.S. Davis Cup team’s all-time winningest doubles player, while Harrison won the 2017 French Open doubles title and helped clinch both of the U.S.’s First-Round and Quarterfinal victories this year.
ORDER OF PLAY
Friday, 11 a.m./5 a.m. ET
Steve Johnson (USA) v. Borna Coric (CRO)
Frances Tiafoe (USA) v. Marin Cilic (CRO)
Saturday, 2 p.m./8 a.m. ET
Mike Bryan/Ryan Harrison (USA) v. Ivan Dodig/Mate Pavic (CRO)
Sunday, 11 a.m./5 a.m. ET
Steve Johnson (USA) v. Marin Cilic (CRO)
Frances Tiafoe (USA) v. Borna Coric (CRO)