Monday, December 05, 2005

Ancic holds nerve and Croatia wins Davis Cup

Earlier in the day Hrbaty produced a great performance to defeat Ljubicic in 5 sets. Ljubo had started very well and only needed the one break of serve to close out the 1st set, but Hrbaty whose self-belief never wavered in spite of his horrible head-to-head record against Ljubo, stepped up and played more aggressively and unlike in the doubles the few break point chances he had this time he was converting them and this is what lead him to take the next 2 sets, while Hrbaty was outstanding in saving break points.

The fourth set was close and Hrbaty played a sloppy game and got punished for it and Ljubo took it into a deciding 5th set. At this stage Hrbaty wasn't even close to looking tired and was ready to go, with the crowd behind him and realising this was now or never, he stepped up the pressure on Ljubo to hold serve at 4-5 down and after Ljubo bravely saved 2 match points, but a missed forehand was enough for Hrbaty to take it to the 5th match.

Hrbaty was very animated with the shirt going into the crowd and as did the racquets, he plays above himself in the Davis Cup and this is clear to see. Ljubo was brave and without his contributions during the year the team would never have made it this far.

Mario Ancic, the man who had not won a live singles rubber this year, won the ultimate match to clinch the Davis Cup for Croatia 3-2 over a gallant Slovakia, who breathed life into the tie after the outstanding Dominik Hrbaty beat Ivan Ljubicic in a high quality 5 set match to level the scores at 2-2.

Ancic defeated Michal Mertinak a replacement for Karol Kucera 7-6 6-3 6-4. Mertinak was brave and played to the best he could, but in reality Ancic was not in any danger in this match and once he secured the first set with an excellent performance in the tiebreaker, it just seemed a matter of time before the Croats would have their hands on the trophy.

At the end of it all, the right team won the Davis Cup and there were some great moments at the end of the tie. Miloslav Mecir was always a classy guy as well as a very gifted player and his speech was great and the Slovak fans were gracious in defeat as they were in victory in the semi finals.

The banner at the end said it all "Congratulations Croatia" at the end of them, while disappointed they lost, they were good enough to show due respect to Croatia and it just shows it's no more than a game and the Slovaks might have lost on the scoreboard, they were not losers and now the fun is still going to continue for the Croats.


Denys said...

The right result overall and the irony is that Ancic has been ridiculed for not winning singles matches, but he won the most important match.

Good atmosphere on the TV and the commentators were very pro-Ljubicic and didn't hide it either.

Choupi said...

Finally, the team I wanted to see as the winner has won. That's great. Haven't seen much from the whole tie, sadly. But knowing the spirit of DC has been kept alive, once again, is rewarding.

Congratulations to both teams and good luck for the future.

denys said...

As was highlighted in the preview that this final was between two small nations and it is good to see that small nations can do well in this era of globalisation which is effecting sport as well.

The parties will be still going in Croatia.

mandoura said...

I too rooted for Croatia and am very happy they won, particularly that Mario delivered when needed.

That's the beauty of DC. It adds to tennis the team-spirit lacking because of the individual nature of the sport.