Borna Coric upset Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 7-5, 6-4, and Marin Cilic brought down Joe Wilfred Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 on the first day of the Davis Cup Finals on the indoor clay at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France. The relatively easy and straight sets win by the Croatians places Croatia only a hair breadth’s away from clinching its 2nd Davis Cup Championship since, it beat Slovakia in the Davis Cup finals in, 2005.
France has a good shot at winning the doubles.
Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic have each won a slam title in doubles but never as a pair, whereas, tennis players, Herbert and Mahut have won three slams together. It, therefore, might be an uphill task for Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic to take out the slam winning French pairing of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the double’s rubber, but Croatia should clinch the cup in the reverse singles on Sunday.
The French might be better off playing on the hard rather than clay courts.
What was the French side thinking by selecting indoor-clay for the finals? Marin Cilic was a French Open quarter-finalist in 2017 and 2018 and knows his way around the clay, and Tsonga, the only one on the French side with better clay-credentials, has barely recovered from his knee surgery in 2018. The French would have done better on the hard-courts where Chardy, Tsonga, and even Lucas Pouille could cause the upset of the higher ranked Croats. Even Jeremy Chardy, who enjoyed a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Coric until his loss yesterday, stood little chance against the retriever Coric, on the clay.
It is an uphill battle, with a foregone conclusion, for the French.