Croatia is through to the fourth Davis Cup final and third in the last five editions following a 2-1 victory over Serbia in Madrid. The cards were pretty much on the table ahead of this exciting tie. Novak Djokovic stood as the favorite against Marin Cilic, and the Croatian doubles looked good to deliver the deciding point if necessary.
It all came down to the opening rubber between the lower-ranked Borna Gojo and struggling Dusan Lajovic. Former Wake Forest University standout is yet to lose the singles match at this year's Davis Cup Finals, beating three rivals to take the pressure away from Marin Cilic, who is far from his best.
Gojo took down Lajovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 58 minutes, prevailing in a low-quality encounter with reliable performance in sets two and three to give Croatia a massive advantage thanks to their doubles squad. Lajovic served at 75%, which gave him nothing after making too many unforced errors and failing to impose his strokes.
Croatia defeated Serbia to reach the Davis Cup Finals title match.
Things did look well for the Serb after trailing 4-1 in the opener, rattling off five straight games to claim the opener 6-4 and gain a boost. Borna grabbed breaks in the second set's games two and six and held with ease in games seven and nine to wrap up the set 6-3 and force a decider.
Barely losing a point behind the initial shot, the Croat sailed towards the finish line with a couple of breaks, emerging at the top in game eight to deliver the first point for his country. Novak Djokovic secured the 19th consecutive Davis Cup singles victory, beating Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 39 minutes.
The Serb won 18 points more than the Croat, fending off all eight break chances and delivering three breaks to control the scoreboard and seal the deal in straight sets to introduce a deciding doubles rubber. Both players wasted two break chances in games three and four before Marin squandered a 40-0 advantage in game nine to fall behind after a double fault.
Serving for the set, Djokovic fended off four break chances in game ten to claim it 6-4 and gather a boost. Pushing strong on the return, Novak grabbed breaks in games three and five of the second set and sealed the deal on his serve at 5-2.
The world's leading doubles pair Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic defeated Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic 7-5, 6-1 in 72 minutes to push Croatia into the title clash against Russia and Germany. The Croats broke Krajinovic in the opener's game 12 and dominated set number two to emerge at the top and move closer to the third Davis Cup crown.