After a clash between seasoned veterans, Canada will now have to battle back from a 1-2 deficit against Croatia following the second day of action at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round tie in Osijek. Daniel Nestor (Toronto) and Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver) fell to their Croatian opponents Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in five sets 2-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
With a near perfect performance during the first two sets, the Canadian duo were leading 4-1 and seemed to be headed for an easy victory. However, the Croatians managed to get their first break, which renewed their energy and helped them get back into the match. Cilic and Dodig elevated their game and battled back to give a very important second point to Croatia. This was Cilic’s first match since playing in the Australian Open final.
After his singles loss yesterday, Pospisil was hoping to redeem himself and get the point for his country in the doubles match.
“This is definitely a hard loss to process. We were playing so well at the start of the match, we were in control, but they were able to get that first break in the third set, which was the turning point,” stated Pospisil.
Nestor is participating in his 52nd Davis Cup tie. His overall record is now 48 wins and 27 losses, which is a Canadian record.
“It’s disappointing. We knew that we were playing against a very good team and we got off to a perfect start,” explained Nestor. “However, when you take on such a strong team and you get the chance to close out the match, you need to take advantage of those opportunities, otherwise, it will come back to haunt you.”
The Canadian duo now holds a record of six wins and five losses in Davis Cup action.
“I knew that they were nervous at the start of the match, but also that they were capable of raising their level at any moment. That’s what they did at 1-4 in the third set,” said Dancevic. “Cilic hit a few good forehands and was able to get the crowd into the match. In my opinion, they (Cilic and Dodig) are one of the best Davis Cup doubles teams and they proved it today. That was a high quality match. I am proud of Daniel and Vasek. They left it all out on the court and as the captain, I couldn’t ask for more.”
After Saturday’s loss, Canada will have to win both singles rubbers on Sunday to advance to the quarter-finals, a place they haven’t been since 2015. Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) will attempt to even out the score when he faces Borna Coric at 8 am ET on Sunday, a clash that features two young stars from the ATP World Tour.
If Shapovalov manages to level the score, the fifth match is currently set to feature Pospisil for Canada and Viktor Galovic for Croatia. The captains have up to an hour prior to the start of the first match to make any changes to their line-up. Croatia’s captain Zeljko Krajan could be tempted to bring in Marin Cilic to play in the fifth and decisive rubber.
SHAPOVALOV VS. CORIC – This will be their first meeting
|18 years old||21 years old|
|World no. 48||World no. 47|
|Career-high: world no. 51 (January 2018)||Career-high: world no. 33 (July 2015)|
|4th Davis Cup tie||9th Davis Cup tie|
|Davis Cup record: 4-2||Davis Cup record: 6-6|
POSPISIL VS. GALOVIC – This will be their first meeting
|27 years old||27 years old|
|World no. 85||World no. 181|
|Career-high: world no. 25
|Career-high: world no. 179
|16th Davis Cup tie||2nd Davis Cup tie|
|Davis Cup record: 17-16||Davis Cup record: 1-1|
Davis Cup World Group first round tie
Canada vs. Croatia
February 2-4, 2018
Sportska Dvorana Gradski Vrt, Osijek
|Friday, February 2nd||First singles match||Coric d. Pospisil 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2|
|Friday, February 2nd||Second singles match||Shapovalov d. Galovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-2|
|Saturday, February 3rd||Doubles match||Dodig/Skugor d. Nestor/Pospisil 2-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 6-2|
|Sunday, February 4th||Third singles match||Shapovalov vs Coric|
|Sunday, February 4th||Fourth singles match||Pospisil vs Galovic|
The matches will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360.
Photos by: Kyle Clapham