ZAGREB, CROATIA: It was another long day in this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Croatia and Germany.
After three hours and 39 minutes, Germany finally broke service to win the third point in this closely-fought tie. Both sides had chances but Philipp Petzschner and Christopher Kas overcame Ivan Dodig and Ivo Karlovic to win 63 36 57 63 64 to take a lead into Sunday's reverse singles.
The battle of the No. 1's, Marin Cilic and Philipp Kohlschreiber, will be another tight match and it could go all the way with Ivan Dodig scheduled to play Florian Mayer second on Sunday.
The Croatian team might look back at the doubles as an opportunity missed, as they were two-sets-to-one up and playing better, before it all changed after they lost serve early in the fourth thanks to some brilliant returning by Petzschner, the reigning Wimbledon doubles champion.
The crucial moments went the way of the Germans in the fifth set. At 3-3, the Croatian pair saved two break points at 15-40, and at 4-3, the German pair came back from 0-30, before the crucial break happened.
In the ninth game of the final set, after some more fantastic returning by Petzschner, the Germans broke. "I've never seen such returning, no-one did that better against me than Petzschner," was the reaction from Karlovic.
The good news for Croatia is that they can still progress to the quarterfinals if they win both singles on Sunday. The bad news is that they have not come back from 1-2 down since 1993.
That year, Croatia beat Zimbabwe in Harare, with Goran Ivanisevic and Goran Prpic, the captain of this team, winning both singles rubbers on the Sunday. Ivanisevic beat Byron Black and Prpic beat Black's brother, Wayne, both without losing a set.
The good news for Germany is that in previous matches against Croatia, the team that won the doubles has always gone on to win the tie. So, if history has anything to do with this match, the Germans have the advantage.
Ivo Karlovic, who is coming back from achilles surgery, is cranking his serving arm back into action. He hit a world record 251kmph serve in the fourth set, which broke the previous world record of 249.4kmph by USA's Andy Roddick.
The Germans might have the lead, but captain Patrik Kuhnen is taking nothing for granted.
"We do have the lead, but it is still a 50-50 match," he said. "Which I have been saying all along. We will take nothing for granted, just play one match at the time."
Kohlschreiber takes a 4-2 lead into his match against Marin Cilic, winning three of the four matches they have played on hard court. Dodig and Mayer have never met before.
Captain Patrik Kuhnen, Christopher Kas and Philipp Petzschner (GER) - 5/3/11
Captain Goran Prpic (CRO) - 5/3/11