Alex de Minaur’s in-game singles revival kept Australia from losing the white-painted Davis Cup to Croatia, and hopes for the quarter-finals were ragged.
Croatia’s world’s No. 1 double pair, Matepavic and Nicola Mektic, dismantled John Pierce and De Minaur 6-3 6-1 and won 3-0.
Australia must rely on defeating Hungary 3-0 within two days. Hungary also needs to get a chance to get out of Group D by defeating Croatia in the same dominant way.
The draw started in the worst possible way, and in a match Australia had to win, the young gun Alexei Popyrin was surprised by the world’s No. 276 Borna Coric on behalf of the injured Borna Coric. I was defeated.
Popyrin later clinched a tight three-setter against the same opponent in Melbourne in February and then defeated his 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 “probably the most in his fast-growing career. It’s pain. “
“I had a chance in the first set and a chance in the second set, but I think it was just one of the games he really felt serving,” Popyrin said.
“He served at a very high percentage, he served really well, didn’t hit many second serve at all in the match, didn’t give me much to go.
“I got those opportunities just by returning home. To be honest, I think he played much better than Melbourne. He is an excellent player and his ranking justifies his level. It’s not something to do. “
De Minaur, who won four of the last 14 games leading to the Davis Cup final, had to defeat 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic to maintain Australia’s hopes, but quickly fell behind.
The 22-year-old, who suddenly regained energy and launched team captain Lleyton Hewitt, went down 1-3 from the set, forcing Cilic to make a decisive set and soaring 2-0.
At that stage, Cilic was drowning in error after a great start when De Minaur passed the Croats and clinched the break with a ridiculous squash-like half volley that clipped the opposite baseline.
However, Cilic was stable again, demonstrating power over De Minaur and winning 6-1 5-7 6-4.
“I came out of Marin playing great tennis, probably for a set and a half,” De Minaur said.
“I managed to dig deeper, dig deeper, fight my way, and try to find something to get back to the match.
“I managed to sneak in the second set, but it’s a shame I couldn’t get the Australian points after a break.
“That really hurt me. If I could get out there and finish the job and win in that sense, this doubles would probably be completely different.”
Hewitt desperately replaced Alex Bolt with De Minaur to get something from his tie, but he and Pierce were not comparable to Pavić and Mectic.
“That was obviously a shame (and) it wasn’t the way we wanted to start the campaign,” Hewitt said.
“But to be honest, Croatia was doing very well in all three games.
“Their second guy (Gojo) was far above his ranking. I’ve seen him play a lot. When he’s on, he’s very tough. We knew that he obviously has a big serve.
“If Alexei took some of those opportunities early in the first set, that might have been another story, but as the match progressed, Borna was confident … it was a little more to Alexei. I put pressure on it. “
Australia’s hope to move forward after losing to Croatia 3-0
Source link Australia’s hope to move forward after losing to Croatia 3-0