Marin Cilic gave Croatia their second Davis Cup title on Sunday by beating Frenchman Lucas Pouille 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-3, which assured his team a decisive advantage. 3-1 in the final played in the Pierre Mauroy stadium.
The number seven in the world was relentless to crush any hope of a return of the Frenchman. Pouille, 24, did not get a single break point and, despite having pressed Cilic in the first set, lost the last four points of the tie-break and never managed to recover.
Cilic squandered four set points when Pouille was 0-40 and 2-5 in the second set, but with his solid service he was able to take advantage of two sets.
The crowd of 22,000 people, mainly French, offered their support to Pouille, but the contingent of Croatia, adorned with its red and white badge, was what soon began to celebrate.
Cilic broke the serve of his opponent to reach a 3-2 lead in the third set and then pointed to the jugular when Pouille served 3-5. The Frenchman saved two match points when he was 0-40, but Cilic did not relax and closed the match.
Immediately, the former United States Open champion was surrounded by his teammates, and the Croats started celebrating after imitating his 2005 win.
"Not every day you become world champion," said Cilic, wrapped in a Croatian flag on the court.
"For us, it is a dream come true for this nation, you can see that the fans are very passionate and they are here having fun, in Croatia will also be incredible," he added.
The selection of Croatia is one step away from his second Davis Cup title. The team captained by Zeljko Krajan swept the first day of the big final in the city of Lille, although it fell on a doubles day on Saturday.
On Friday, Borna Coric defeated Jeremy Chardy 3-0 with a 2-6, 5-7 and 4-6 break. Afterwards, Marin Cilic increased the Croatian lead after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 3 sets 3-6, 5-7 and 4-6.
The Croatian title was in the hands of the couple formed by Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig, but failed before the pair formed by Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. 6-4, 6-4 3-6 and 7-6 (3) in three hours and 39 minutes were the partial results that keep French alive.
The duel, which would have been decisive in the case of the Croatian triumph, fell to the side of the French favorites in that game, so the last Davis Cup, in its traditional format, will be solved in the singles of this Sunday between Jeremy Chardy. Marin Cilic.
Croatia maintains their favorite condition because they only need one of their first two rackets, Marin Cilic, seventh in the world, or Borna Coric, twelfth, to add another point. If Cilic beat Chardy, the fifth game may not be played.
Davis Cup Final 2018: At what time does France play against France? Croatia?
Mexico – 7:00
Peru – 8:00
Ecuador – 8:00 AM
Colombia – 8:00
Bolivia – 9:00
Argentina – 10h00
Chile – 10h00
Uruguay – 10h00
Paraguay – 10h00
Spain – 2:00 p.m.
France – 14:00
Davis Cup Final 2018: When will France play? Croatia?
Friday, November 23 (people)
Jeremy Chardy 0-3 Borna Coric (2-6 / 5-7 / 4-6)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 0-3 Marin Cilic (3-6 / 5-7 / 4-6)
Saturday November 24 (Pairs)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert / Nicolas Mahut 3-1 Mate Pavic / Ivan Dodig (6-4, 6-4 3-6 and 7-6 (3))
Sunday, November 25 (people)
Jeremy Chardy Vs. Marin Cilic
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Vs. Borna Coric
Davis Cup Final 2018: who makes the selection of France?
Yannick Noah (captain)
Davis Cup Final 2018: who is the team of Croatia?
Zeljko Krajan (captain)
Davis Cup Final 2018: clashes between France and Croatia in the tournament
France 4-1 Croatia – First round of the World Group (06-08 February 2004).
Croatia 3-2 France – Group of World Semifinals (16-18 September 2016).
Davis Cup Final 2018: disputed titles and finals
1. United States 32 victories (final 61)
2. Australia 28 (47)
3. Great Britain 10 (20)
4. France 10 (18)
5. Sweden 7 (12)
6. Spain 5 (9)
7. Czech Republic 3 * (5)
8. Germany 3 (5)
9. Russia 2 (5)
10. Croatia 1 (2)
* 1 title under the name Czechoslovakia (1980)