— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) September 16, 2018
Borna Again – Coric Beats Tiafoe in Five-Set Decider to Send Croatia to Davis Cup Final
(September 16, 2018) Borna Coric has become “the closer” for the Croatian Davis Cup team. On the Sportski Centar Visnjik’s red clay court in Zadar, the 21-year-old, ranked Mo. 18 came back in the fifth and deciding rubber to beat USA’s Frances Tiafoe 6-7(0), 6-1, 6-7(11), 6-1, 6-3 to clinch the tie 3-2, to send Croatia to the Davis Cup Final against France in November 23-25.
France versus Croatia, was also the World Cup final earlier this year.
The match took 4 hours, 6 minutes. This marks the third time that Coric has clinched a tie for Croatia in the fifth and decisive rubber. He did it to the US two years ago in Beaverton, Oregon. Croatia remains perfect against the US in Davis Cup play at 4-0.
Team USA leveled the tie in the first match of the day when Sam Querrey was substituted in for Steve Johnson and beat Marin Cilic for the first time in his career 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4. Cilic was leading 7-6, an up 6-1 in the second set tiebreak, before the rally began for the Californian.
Querrey won the next eight points in a row to take the second set and surged through the third and fourth sets.
“This is the most special day of my life, by far,” Coric said. “Playing here, under this crowd, as well. It was I don’t know how many people, but it was really full. They were really into the match, they were loud. They won the match. Not with me – I was playing – but if they are not them, I would lose in four sets for sure, because my head was … I don’t know how you say it, maybe ‘deep in the water,’ if you know what I mean.”
“I thought it was a pretty high-level,” Tiafoe said. “I would say I had a couple dips at some times. I mean, for the second and fourth, that can’t happen. It is what it is, tennis. I’m young, I’m going to learn from that. But in the fifth it could have gone either way. He raised his level. I raised my level. He was too good in the end. Hats off.”
“Obviously I’m not going to be happy. It’s not just about me. It’s not like I just lost a 3-out-of-5 in a Grand Slam. There’s so many people involved, added he 20-year-old American. “I was doing it for something more than myself, and it means way more. It’s definitely a tough loss, and I’m going to learn from it and definitely bounce back.”
“He ran down a lot of balls and has some unconventional shots,” Coric said of his opponent. “Absolutely, I think his legs are the most unbelievable, and I think he is one of the best defensive players on the tour, especially on the clay. He serves very heavy. I was returning very good today, but I think that he can serve very heavy. His forehand is very heavy, but like I said, I was really happy how I played.”
Team USA, as a semifinalist in 2018, automatically qualifies for the new-format 2019 Davis Cup championship rounds, to be played next November.
Borna Coric (CRO) d. Steve Johnson (USA), 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3
Marin Cilic (CRO)d. Frances Tiafoe (USA), 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(5)
Mike Bryan/Ryan Harrison (USA) d. Ivan Dodig/Mate Pavic (CRO), 7-5, 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-7(5), 7-6(5)
Sam Querrey (USA) d. Marin Cilic (CRO), 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4
Frances Tiafoe (USA) v. Borna Coric (CRO), 6-7(0), 6-1, 6-7(11), 6-1, 6-3