Join Date: May 2006
Location: Paço de Arcos, Lisbon - Portugal
Re: DC Croatia - Serbia 9th-11th July
Serbia in driving seat after doubles win
Not even the fiercely partisan Croatian crowd could make any difference to the outcome of the doubles rubber in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinal in Split – not that they didn’t try.
When the visiting team have the joint best doubles player in the world in their side, as Serbia did in Nenad Zimonjic, it’s hard to avoid the inevitable.
Despite the substitution of Marin Cilic for Antonio Veic in Goran Prpic’s team, it is Serbia who head into the final day with the upper hand after Zimonjic and Janko Tipsarevic beat Cilic and Ivan Dodig 63 62 64.
As expected, the high noon showdown between Novak Djokovic, the world No. 2, and Cilic, the world No. 13, on Sunday will decide the outcome of this tie one way or another.
Victory for Djokovic would mean Serbia reach the semifinals of the competition for the first time in their history, while a win for Cilic would mean Croatia go into the fifth rubber as favourites. A home tie awaits the winners, almost certainly against Czech Republic, last year’s runners-up.
If it does go to the wire we can expect one of the most atmospheric and noisiest Davis Cup days in history between the two neighbouring countries. Carlos Ramos and Enric Molina are both experienced umpires, but they have had their work cut out here in the Spaladium Stadium trying to keep the crowd in order.
Heaven help either of them if there is anything riding on the fifth rubber between Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic and Serbia’s Viktor Troicki. It is doubtful whether they will even be heard, never mind obeyed.
Serbian quality prevails in doubles
The quality of the Serbian team’s return of serve was always going to be a problem for the Croatians and once Dodig was broken to love in the eighth game there was only ever going to be one outcome, no matter what the crowd had to say about it. The fans may be noisy and disrespectful towards the visiting team, but they are passionate and supportive of their team.
“The only problem is that some words you can understand,” said Tipsarevic. “Probably when you play in other countries they also say stuff but you don’t understand them.”
By the time Dodig - who plays largely at challenger level - was broken for a third time towards the end of the second set, even the crowd had accepted the outcome. The Croatians rallied to take a 2-0 lead in the third but the Serbian pair hit back by winning the next four games and the match was as good as over.
Bogdan Obradovic, the Serbian captain, thinks he has spotted a weakness in Cilic’s game. “I saw that Cilic was not serving that much good – and against [Viktor] Troicki – so I think his form is getting down a little bit, but still he is a very good player. I’m giving a much bigger advantage to Novak at the moment.”
Even Prpic wasn’t too sure whether the crowd was an advantage or disadvantage for Cilic, but he’s banking on the young man rising to the occasion to take it to a fifth and final rubber, whereupon he hopes the experience of Ljubicic will see them through to victory.
TIPSAREVIC GONZALEZ NALBANDIAN DJOKOVIC
Às vezes o teu maior inimigo és tu próprio.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein