Belgium is ahead after the first singles match in the Davis Cup match in and against Croatia. Zizou Bergs (ATP 131) won in three sets against former US Open winner Marin Cilic (ATP 1,044) in the Varazdin Arena, which is played on hard court.
After two hours and 42 minutes the final score was 6-4, 4-6 and 6-4. Bergs missed a match ball on Cilic’s serve in the third set at 5-3, but then finished it off smoothly on his own serve. At the beginning of the third set, Bergs scored a great point:
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It was the first mutual match between 24-year-old Bergs and Cilic. He won the US Open in 2014 and is a former number three in the world. At the age of 35, he is making a comeback after a lot of injuries. “I have a lot of respect for Marin. We all know how tough it is to get to the top and he did that. In my eyes he is still a top player,” Bergs waved praise to Cilic afterwards. “I feel very good myself. I have big dreams and am ambitious. But I’m taking it step by step and today was a very important step in that process.”
Joris De Loore (ATP 192) will face Duje Ajdukovic (ATP 125) in the second singles match. The doubles will be completed first on Sunday. Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen face Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic. The two remaining singles matches will then be played.
Davis Cup Finals
The stakes this weekend are a place in the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, which will be organized in four cities in September. A place for the Final 8 in November (in Malaga) can be earned there. The loser plays play-offs against a country from World Group I. Last year, Belgium lost at this stage of the competition in South Korea (3-2) but then won at home in Hasselt against Uzbekistan (3-1).
Both countries are missing their best player(s) this weekend. David Goffin (ATP 134) withdrew from selection, prompting captain Steve Darcis to name Gauthier Onclin (ATP 254) as replacement. Borna Coric (ATP 37) matched the Croatians, Borna Gojo (ATP 91) dropped out with a back injury.