In an electrifying Davis Cup Finals Group Stage clash on Wednesday in Split, Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram delivered an unforgettable performance, securing a triumphant 2-1 victory over Croatia. The high-stakes doubles showdown saw Krajicek and Ram battling it out against the formidable Croatian duo of Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic.
In an epic contest that lasted three intense sets, Krajicek and Ram emerged victorious with a final score of 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-2. Their tenacity and unwavering determination in the decisive set proved to be a game-changer, propelling the United States to its first-ever Davis Cup victory against Croatia, a significant milestone as they had previously faced five losses.
The doubles match was nothing short of thrilling, with Krajicek and Dodig, who are regular partners and even clinched the Roland Garros title earlier this year, finding themselves on opposite sides of the net. It was Krajicek's team that ultimately prevailed, marking an impressive start to their Group D campaign with a 1-0 record.
Before the exhilarating doubles showdown, American Mackenzie McDonald set the stage by giving his country an early lead. In an impressive display of skill and composure, McDonald defeated Dino Prizmic with a commanding score of 6-4, 6-2, completing the match in just one hour and 37 minutes.
However, the Croatian team quickly retaliated when Borna Gojo achieved a career-defining victory over World No. 11 Frances Tiafoe, clinching the win with a score of 6-4, 7-6(6). Gojo's recent remarkable form, including a fourth-round appearance at the US Open, added to the suspense of the tie.
The United States is now on a quest to secure its first Davis Cup Finals title since 2007, a monumental achievement that would mark their 33rd title.
Lehecka and Machac Lead Czech Victory
In another Davis Cup matchup, Jiri Lehecka played a pivotal role in leading the Czech Republic to victory against Spain in Group C.
The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up displayed exceptional prowess, securing a 7-6(5), 7-5 win against Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Valencia. Lehecka's fearless performance, featuring 25 winners, solidified his 2-0 lead in the Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Davidovich Fokina.
Tomas Machac contributed to the Czech Republic's success by defeating Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-4, 6-4, further establishing his reputation as a formidable Davis Cup singles player. The Czech Republic's triumph continued in the doubles rubber, where Jakub Mensik and Adam Pavlasek displayed remarkable resilience and teamwork to overcome Davidovich Fokina and Marcel Granollers with a score of 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-4.
As a three-time Davis Cup champion, the Czech Republic is determined to make a significant impact this year and reach the Final 8, a feat they have not achieved since 2016. With sixteen nations competing across four groups in four different cities, the Davis Cup Finals promise a captivating showdown.
The top two countries from each group will advance to the knockout stage, setting the stage for an exciting and unpredictable competition in the months ahead.