ZAGREB, CROATIA: It was another long day in Croatia's Davis Cup history. Marin Cilic defeated Florian Mayer 46 60 46 63 61 in three hours and 12 minutes to give Croatia an early lead but it took four hours, 38 minutes for Philipp Kohlschreiber to break down Ivan Dodig 64 36 46 76(6) 64 and level the score.
Cilic got Croatia off to a flying start, finally finding a way past Mayer. Cilic lost to the German last year at Wimbledon and at the Zagreb Open last month but things began to change. Mayer is an unusual player, constantly changing pace, which is sometimes tough to read and that troubled Cilic.
"After the third set I started to play better. More aggressive and that helped me,” revealed the Croatian.
"One of the reasons I lost was that set. Should have won 61, then everything changed, he got the momentum, I was too defensive,” said Mayer.
An early break in the third set gave the Croat what he needed and from then on he looked the more likely winner. The fifth set was one-way traffic. When Mayer double-faulted to go 4-1 down there was no way of coming back.
Dodig had never played a live Davis Cup rubber before today. He got the nod from the captain Goran Prpic because of his recent form, and he paid his captain back for his confidence in him.
In a dramatic five set match, the fourth was the most crucial. It could have gone either way before Kohlschreiber finally won the tie-break after saving a match point with a great forehand at 5-6. He took the set after Dodig double-faulted at set point. Dodig also made another one to go 3-4 down in the tie-break and that gave the German a chance, which he duly took.
Still there was more to come. The German broke in the first game of the fifth set after Dodig blew a 30-love lead. The Croatian came back to level the match at 4-4, but could not keep it up. Dodig could not hold and this time Kohlschreiber did not give him another chance. He served a perfect game to clinch the rubber.
"It was very even, both of us had chances, Dodig was very tough, so i'm happy to go through", said the German. Kohlschreiber won his fourth five-set Davis Cup match.
Dodig was close, but not close enough. "It was a matter of a point here, and there. I felt I played a very good match, I should have won the fourth set".
The tie is finely balanced at 1-1 overnight with Saturday’s doubles starting at 15:00 hours local time. Germany have nominated Philipp Petzschner and Christopher Kas, while for Croatia Dodig and Ivo Karlovic. Nominations can be changed up to one hour before the match.
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) - 04/03/2011
Marin Cilic (CRO) - 04/03/2011