Davis Cup previews and predictions: Cilic vs. Del Potro, Karlovic vs. Delbonis

Marin Cilic will have a chance to clinch the Davis Cup title for Croatia when he goes up against Juan Martin Del Potro on Sunday in Zagreb. If Del Potro keeps Argentina alive, the fifth rubber would feature Ivo Karlovic and Federico Delbonis.

(ARG) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (CRO) Marin Cilic

Cilic and Del Potro will be squaring off for the 11th time in their careers and for the first time in more than three years when they contest the fourth rubber of the Davis Cup final on Sunday afternoon. Del Potro is dominating the head-to-head series 8-2, including 4-1 on hard courts and 1-0 in Davis Cup. In a 2012 quarterfinal tie, the Argentine–armed with home-court advantage and playing on clay–clobbered Cilic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. The two U.S. Open champions have not met since the 2013 Paris Masters, where Del Potro got the job done 6-4, 7-6(3).

They just saw each other on opposite sides of the net on Saturday, when Cilic and Ivan Dodig beat Del Potro and Leonardo Mayer 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 6-3 in a crucial doubles rubber. That result was preceded by singles victories for both men on Friday. Cilic got the tie started by holding off Federico Delbonis 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2 in three hours and 30 minutes. Del Potro answered for Argentina with a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5 defeat of Ivo Karlovic that lasted three hours and 18 minutes. Cilic has played a ton of recent tennis, having also suited up for three matches at the World Tour Finals. He will have to be better than he was against Delbonis–especially in the third and fourth sets–if he wants to seriously compete with Del Potro.

Pick: Del Potro in 4

(ARG) Federico Delbonis vs. (CRO) Ivo Karlovic

Karlovic vs. Delbonis will decide the Davis Cup title if the fifth rubber is live following the outcome of Cilic vs. Del Potro. This would be the fifth career meeting between Karlovic and Delbonis, with the Croat holding a 3-1 advantage in the head-to-head series. In typical Karlovic fashion, they have twice played matches that went to final sets while featuring tiebreakers in every set. Two years ago in Vienna, Karlovic prevailed 6-7(1), 7-6(9), 7-6(2) in a contest that did not include a single break point. Earlier this fall in Tokyo, Karlovic again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat–this time via a 7-6(6), 6-7(6), 7-6(5) decision during which both men broke serve once in the third set before Karlovic saved two match points at 4-5.
Ivo 2
At 37 years old, Karlovic is playing the best tennis of his career. His 2016 campaign is highlighted by two titles and a runner-up performance in Washington, D.C. The world No. 20 accounted himself well for the most part against Del Potro on Friday but was doomed by 12 double-faults. Delbonis also put up a commendable fight in his first rubber before going down to Cilic in five sets. The 26-year-old Argentine is a respectable 26-24 for the season and registers at No. 41 in the world. Predictably, however, Delbonis has struggled since the conclusion of the clay-court swing–during which he captured a title in Casablanca. On an indoor hard-court surface and with the home fans behind him, an in-form Karlovic should have a slight edge.

Pick: Karlovic in 4

10 Comments on Davis Cup previews and predictions: Cilic vs. Del Potro, Karlovic vs. Delbonis

  1. It, it’s just…
    So happy for Delpo, and F-Lo is too.
    Feliciano López ✔ @feliciano_lopez
    Vamos vamos Argentina…vamos vamos…
    1:38 PM – 27 Nov 2016

    • Yeah I mean pretty solid 2016 for Delbonis as well lol. Ended with 27 wins and 24 losses, won an ATP title in the process, and achieved a career high of 33 at one point and ends ranked 41. Also reached Aus open 3rd round. He was in a bit of a slump after the clay swing though but still good overall year for him. He also took down Murray on his way to the Indian wells fourth round. He’s got that win back in 2013 over Fed to make the Hamburg final but fed was out of form then still it was a great win so I mean the guys been around for a while. But yeah this is a huge confidence boost after a poor second half of the season he could do some real damage in 2017. He’s gotta defend those third round points in Melbourne though?

  2. I’m so happy Argentina won!!
    I think no one deserved to win this title more than Delpo.. all his injuries, how close he was from retiring, beating most of the top10 in only a few months.
    It was a big revenge for him, as a few years back Argentina lost a big chance of winning the Cup against Spain (without Rafa) when Delpo played the WTF and got injured.
    He’s inspiring.

    And how the low ranked players (Pella, Mayer, Delbonis..) performed during the whole competition was also unbelievable. All of them got decisive wins against much better ranked players.

    This is probably the Davis Cup winner with the lowest players’ rankings. And besides Delpotro’s untrue ranking (38), Mayer (137) is losing games in Challengers in early rounds, Delbonis (41) arrived to this tie winning only 3 ATP games (and losing 12) since the FO, and Pella (80) is playing terrible, 2-11 after the FO.

    I think all this facts give these guys much more merit to what they did representing their country.
    Chapeu!!!

    • Diego (AT 12:12 AM) says:
      “a few years back Argentina lost a big chance of winning the Cup against Spain (without Rafa) when Delpo played the WTF and got injured.”
      ===
      ?
      Argentina reached the final in 1981, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2016.
      Delpo played in 2008 (lost to Feliziano Lopez) and 2011 (lost to David Ferrer and Rafa).

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