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Pouille confirmed for Sunday singles in Davis Cup final

28 November 2018

Marin Cilic beat France s Lucas Pouille in straight sets on Sunday to give Croatia an unassailable lead in the Davis Cup final.

Chardy was outplayed by Borna Coric on Friday while Cilic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who is a doubt for Sunday because of a muscle injury picked up in that straight-sets defeat.

Former US Open champion Cilic struggled with his first serve in the opening set, yet still didn't face a single break point.

After suffering a gut-wrenching loss in 2016, Marin Cilic described Croatia's Davis Cup triumph as a "dream come true".

But Cilic snuffed out that danger and turned up the power on his forehand to break at 5-5 before holding for a two-set lead.

He broke again for 3-2 in the third set after a Tsonga double fault, and held on. Two went begging but Cilic would not be denied a third time as his glorious forehand lob put the disappointment of two years ago to bed.

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France stayed in the match on Saturday when Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeated Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic of Croatia in four sets. Already secured their places in the final of the World group semi-finalists this season (Croatia, France, Spain, USA), and the remaining 12 will be determined by the results of the playoffs.

It was the last final in the traditional format before a radical but controversial reorganisation of the venerable competition.

The hosts trailed 2-1 and needed to win both reverse singles on the final day to become the first team since 1939 to overturn a 2-0 deficit in a final, but their hopes of a comeback were soon dashed. Tennis players since 2007, it held 7 face-to-face matches - Cilic was leading 5:2, but the last meeting in February 2017 there for Tsonga. After getting his legs massaged by Croatia captain Zeljko Krajan, he briefly left the court after the seventh game for treatment but did not look hampered once he returned. I have seen a few generations of players, I have seen a lot of tennis, a lot of wins, a lot of matches lost too.

The 2019 competition will do away with the home and away format after an opening qualification round and will culminate in an 18-nation finals week in Madrid in November.

I thought Lucas started well in the first set and just a single point made the difference.

In that match in Zagreb, he was two sets to the good against Juan Martin del Potro and required just one more set to give Croatia a match-winning 3-1 lead.

Pouille confirmed for Sunday singles in Davis Cup final