The Davis Cup win for Croatia

Croatia denied hosts France back-to-back Davis Cup titles

Croatia captain Zeljko Krajan hailed his "dream team" after Marin Cilic sealed a second Davis Cup title for the Balkan nation by beating France's Lucas Pouille on Sunday.

The Frenchman saved two match points at 5-3 but was forced to watch when Cilic unleashed a superb lob that secured another break and the title.

"This is the one of the best teams we've ever had - it's like a dream team", Krajan said. "You can see that fans, they are enjoying themselves and I feel that in Croatia it's going to be incredible too", added the Croatian.

"To win these two matches it would have been necessary to make two ideal performances", Noah, whose team have won seven consecutive ties since losing to Croatia in 2016, said.

Victory for Croatia would give them their final Davis Cup crown since 2005, in the final staging of the historic team competition before a controversial change of format comes into place next year.

Marin Cilic celebrates after clinching Davis Cup glory for Croatia
Marin Cilic celebrates after clinching Davis Cup glory for Croatia

Earlier, the 12th-ranked Coric was flawless and Chardy was powerless to counter his deep groundstrokes in the first set, dropping 14 consecutive points at one point to trail 4-0. Pouille managed to save four set points in the eight game with a series of good serves before Cilic held his next service game to seal the set with a crosscourt forehand.

He opened a 5-3 lead then latched onto a Pouille serve to crush a forehand victor before converting his first set point with a dropshot of his own. In the 2016 final, he also played the first reverse singles with Croatia a point ahead, but lost in five sets to Juan Martin del Potro and Argentina went on to win 3-2. He was surrounded by the whole Croatian team on the court and covered his shoulders with the Croatian flag after the country's president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, warmly hugged him.

He did not drop a set in his two singles while Croatian number two Borna Coric had given the favourites a flying start on Friday with an easy win over Jeremy Chardy.

But Cilic was in no mood for history to repeat itself as he eased to a straight-sets victory over Lucas Pouille, outclassing and overpowering his opponent to dethrone the defending champions. "I think they're handsome winners and they deserve it". The French pair reached the final at the ATP Finals last week and is slightly favored against Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig on Saturday.



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