OSIJEK, February 5, 2017
A long Davis Cup by BNP Paribas weekend at the Sportska Dvorana Gradski Vrt in Osijek concluded on Sunday evening with Spain winning the World Group first round tie against Croatia 3-2. The country, which has dominated the international team event over the last decade, gaining five titles in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011, was trailing 1-2 and had to go the distance against depleted hosts, who were missing their three top players.
It was Pablo Carreno-Busta, who kept his nerves and secured Spain’s third point in the final reverse rubber, beating Nikola Mektic 7-6, 6-1, 6-4. The World No. 26 from Gijón sent down seven aces, hit 34 winners and capitalized on five of his 11 break points to finish the encounter after two hours and 15 minutes.
“I’m very happy. Roberto [Bautista Agut] was exceptional to get two points. I have received many messages of support. Conchita, the team, the players, all the medical and support staff have all come together. I have had some beautiful experiences this weekend and hope for more of the same in the future,” Carreno-Busta was happy after celebrating his first Davis Cup live rubber win.
Earlier the day, Roberto Bautista-Agut leveled the tie for Spain with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Franko Skugor. Spain’s number one won 76 per cent of his fist service points and broke serve four times to prevail in three hours and 19 minutes.
“I felt a lot of pressure closing out the match but I kept going. It was a tough tiebreak but I could close it. It’s much more difficult in the Davis Cup, the crowd are supporting them a lot, but these are good things to learn and I’m happy that I could give the second point to Spain,” Bautista-Agut told.
Spain will next play away to Serbia from 7 to 9 April 2017.