Davis Cup: Dodig/Cilic defeat Bryan Brothers to keep Croatia alive
Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic embrace after defeating Bob and Mike Bryan in four sets to keep Croatia alive against the United States/Photo: Susan Mullane/Davis Cup

Davis Cup: Dodig/Cilic defeat Bryan Brothers to keep Croatia alive

Ivan Dodig put on a clinic, assisted by Marin Cilic to hand the Bryans only their fifth ever Davis Cup loss and stave off elimination for Croatia in four sets.

John Lupo

Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic defeated Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to keep Croatia alive in their Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against the United States. The Americans still have the overall lead in the tie 2-1.

Croatians take first set in commanding fashion

Croatian captain Zeljko Krajan made a change in his doubles team, replacing Marian Draganja with Marin Cilic, still fresh off of his collapse against Jack Sock in singles yesterday, but there were no lingering effects as Cilic and his partner Ivan Dodig broke Mike Bryan to love to give Croatia an early lead. Both Dodig and Cilic were rock-solid on serve and they got an insurance break in the seventh game, breaking Mike Bryan again to take a 5-2 lead. Cilic would serve out the set a game later and the Croatians found themselves with an early one-set lead.

Bryans recover to dominate the second set

Perhaps a bit stunned by the outcome of the opening set, the Bryans kicked things into a higher gear in the second set. With a 3-2 lead, the brothers broke Dodig to 15, Bob hitting a forehand that Cilic let drop. It was originally called out, a challenge reversing the call and it was 4-2 to Bob and Mike. As the Croatians did in the first set, the Americans notched an insurance break, capturing Dodig's serve again, this time to love to take the second set 6-2 and level the match at one set all.

Croatia regains momentum with strong third set

The turning point of the third set came early. With the momentum on their side, the Bryans had three chances to break but came up empty. That sudden change spurred on the Croatians and they picked on Bob's serve again, breaking him to 30 as they did in the first set, Cilic striping a backhand down the line to seal the lead for Croatia. As with the first two sets, Croatia got an insurance break, Cilic stinging a forehand, Mike Bryan helpless to do anything with it. The Bryans were far from done and they got one of the breaks back when Cilic misfired on a backhand. Croatia staked themselves to a double break lead again as Dodig drilled a forehand to give the Croatians a 5-2 lead. He served out the set to love, capping it with an ace, the third straight 6-2 set and Croatia now led two sets to one.

Croatia follows familiar pattern to close out the match, keep slim hopes alive

The fourth set was more of the same as Croatia struck early, breaking Bob's serve with a Cilic backhand winner, his best shot. Now with a 2-1 lead, the remainder of the set was relatively tame as the server won the remainder of the games as Cilic served it out showing none of the nerves that plagued him in singles yesterday to keep Croatia alive.

Dodig was masterful in getting Croatia on the board/Photo: Susan Mullane/Davis Cup
Dodig was masterful in getting Croatia on the board/Photo: Susan Mullane/Davis Cup