Marin Cilic stepped up Thursday at the Davis Cup Finals, overcoming Alex de Minaur to give Croatia a 2-0 lead against Australia in Group D at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.
The World No. 30, who helped guide Croatia to the Davis Cup title in 2018, fired 29 winners and rallied from a break down in the third set to secure victory after two hours and 10 minutes.
“It is such a great occasion to be back on the court playing for Croatia,” Cilic said. “We have not had a match in the past 20 months. It was a pleasure to play against team Australia, they were fighting strong. Every match is important.”
Earlier, Borna Gojo earned just his second Top 100 win when he downed Alexei Popyrin 7-6(5), 7-5 to give Croatia a 1-0 lead.
The 23-year-old fired eight aces and saved all five break points he faced against the World No. 61 to secure victory in one hour and 52 minutes.
“It feels amazing,” Gojo said. “We have unbelievable support here, I would like to thank everyone who came from Croatia. It is a big win for me, but I am here as part of team Croatia and we need three points.
“He was probably the better player in the first set, but I knew if I focused on my serve and stayed close, I would have a chance eventually. We had a close one in Australia at the beginning of the year, so I knew I could compete with him.”
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will play De Minaur and John Peers in doubles in the final match on Thursday.
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