Davis Cup Final: Clinical Cilic seals it for Croatia

Marin Cilic clinched Croatia second Davis Cup title as he beat France Lucas Pouille 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3 to give his side a decisive 3-1 lead in the final at Stade Pierre Mauroy on Sunday.
The powerful World No. 7 was relentless as he snuffed out any hope of a famous French fightback giving Pouille little chance of sending the showpiece into a fifth rubber. Pouille, 24, did not have a single break point and despite pushing Cilic hard in the first set, he lost the last four points of the tiebreak and never threatened a comeback. Cilic wasted four set points when Pouille battled back from 0-40 down at 2-5 in the second set but with his own serve rock-solid he calmly moved into a two-set lead.
The mainly French 22,000 crowd kept roaring its support for Pouille, but it was the Croatia contingent, decked out in their distinctive red and white, who would soon be celebrating. Cilic broke for a 3-2 lead in the third set and then closed in for the kill when Pouille served at 3-5. The Frenchman saved two match points from 0-40 but Cilic would not be denied and finished it off with a lob. Immediately the 30-year-old former U.S. Open champion was swamped by a swarm of his team mates as Croatia could begin the party after emulating its triumph of 2005.
Croatia sports-mad President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was among the fans at courtside to savour a landmark title which offered some consolation after France beat Croatia in this year football World Cup final.
It is not every day that you become a World champion, Cilic, draped in a Croatian flag, said on court. For us it is a dream come true, for this nation. Croatia will enter the history books as winner of the last final played in the traditional format before the 118-year-old team competition gets a major revamp. Next November a new format will see 18 teams assemble in Madrid for a World Cup-style event to decide the champion.



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