The Madrid Arena hosts this Friday (16:00, #Vamos) a derby between Croatia and Serbia, who will meet for the third time in the Davis Cup, although he had never done it with the final prize at stake. The Serbs dominate the record 2-0 (1-4 in the 2010 quarter-tie in Split and 5-0 in the 2015 first round in Kraljevo), but this time they do not start as clear favorites, although by ranking and with world number one, Novak Djokovic, they should solve the series in individual matches, because the lethal weapon of the Croats is their doubles pair, the best in the world, made up of Mektic and Pavic, two and one of the classification of this specialty (see tables).
Under normal conditions, Lajovic, Krajinovic or Kecmanovic, whoever captain Viktor Troicki chooses to open the day, would have to be able to beat Serdarusic (243º) or Gojo (279º)But they have not shown confidence so far and those two tennis players have competed much better than expected and beat theoretically superior rivals. Especially the second, which was loaded on Monday at the Pala Alpitour in Turin to Lorenzo Sonego. However, Croatia’s leader, 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who was a priori the life insurance of his team, lost to Hungarian Piros in the group stage and to Italian Sinner in the quarterfinals. This time he will face one of his black beasts, a Djokovic who dominates him 17-2 in the face to face and who already beat him easily in the aforementioned Davis of 2010.
Although the rivalry between two countries that became at war is “great”, the truth is that the relationship between their tennis players is more than good. Djokovic explains: “There is always extra pressure, motivation and expectations. But, regardless of what happens in the games, the good thing in the positive sense is the respect and the friendship that exists with these guys inside and outside ”. The one from Belgrade analyzes his rivals like this: “We will both do our best to win. Because it is not just about a semi-final, but about Croatia against Serbia, which has a greater meaning for us. I know Cilic very well, we have had great encounters these years. Gojo is one of the biggest surprises of the tournament and the doubles for Mektic and Pavic are the best there is. “
Troicki, who was a Serbian player in the two antecedents against Croatia, has “fond memories” of those days. “Hopefully the streak continues. But as Novak said, although we are going to seek victory and focus on all the games, we are very close friends. Of course, I hope everything goes well for our team ”.
The Serbs, champions in 2010 against France, will fight to play their third final (they lost the 2013 against the Czech Republic). The Croats, last winners with the historic format in 2018, when they could with the Gauls, and also winners in 2005 against Slovakia, they will look for the fourth in the duel between neighbors of the competition by countries.