Cilic, Croats Roll French for 2nd Davis Cup Win

Arnold Nichols
November 28, 2018

Cilic beat Pouille 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 to give them an unassailable 3-1 lead over hosts and defending champions France.

'It's not every day that you become a world champion', said Cilic. 'For us it's a dream come true.

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.

French fans are passionate about the Davis Cup and they cranked up the volume with their choreographed chanting throughout the afternoon's action.

Whatever happens in the future, Croatia's win will have a special place in the record books as this was the last "one on one" final before the competition undergoes a major revamp.

This is the final staging of the team competition in its current format before it changes next year.

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.

Immediately, the 30-year-old former U.S. Open champion was swamped by a swarm of his team mates as Croatia could begin the party after emulating their triumph of 2005.

Noah had preferred Jeremy Chardy to Pouille in Friday's opening rubber, but the 40th-placed player lost to Borna Coric in straight sets, which further intrigued controversy about Noah's choice, considering that Pouille had won the decisive point for the 10-time winners against Belgium in last year's final.

But Cilic snuffed out that danger and turned up the power on his forehand to break at 5-5 before holding for a two-set lead.

"I do not know what I have done", he said.

Pouille took Cilic to a tie-break in the first set on the indoor clay in Lille but could not mount a challenge in the next two, losing in two hours, 19 minutes.

Cilic broke serve for the match, closing on his third match point.

"This time, I told them they were strong enough and that they would only have to focus on their game for this to happen".

It could have been a case of deja vu for Cilic as Croatia went into the third day of this year's final with a 2-1 advantage over France, who kept their hopes alive with a doubles win on Saturday.

Chardy had won five of his six Davis Cup singles matches but Friday's was the biggest he had ever been involved in.

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