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By Chris Oddo | Friday November 25, 2016

 
Cilic

Marin Cilic took an early two sets to love lead before defeating Federico Delbonis in five sets on Friday in Zagreb.

Photo Source: Justin Setterfied/Getty

Marin Cilic gave Croatia a 1-0 lead in the Davis Cup final by defeating Federico Delbonis in five sets, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2.

Cilic took an early two sets to love lead, but Delbonis battled back to force a fifth set in front of a spirited crowd in Zagreb.

“Well the crowd obviously helped me to stay in there,” Cilic said. “It was not easy after being two sets to love up. Federico played great tennis from the middle of the third until the end of the fourth. He was not missing much. He was playing really aggressive and it wasn’t easy, absolutely.”

Cilic had chances to close out Delbonis in straights sets, but was foiled after missing break chances midway through the third set.

“I didn’t convert a couple of break points at three-all,” he said. “Probably that would have sealed the victory in three sets, but you know it’s a best-of-five sets match and it’s Davis Cup. You have to always plan that there are going to be some ups and downs during the match. Luckily I was strong in the end.”


Juan Martin del Potro will try to bring Argentina level in Friday’s second rubber. He will take on Ivo Karlovic. Argentina has never won the Davis Cup. They have lost all four of their previous finals.

“It’s a final,” Cilic said. “Just a pleasure to be playing in this kind of atmosphere. Argentine fans are definitely amazing and they are definitely bringing a lot of atmosphere here but also the Croatian crowd is really magnificent.”

 

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