The U.S. Davis Cup doubles tandem of Bob and Mike Bryan hammered the throw-away Croatian pair of Roko Karanusic and Lovro Zovko 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 to keep the U.S. alive in the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie on Saturday in Porec.
The Croats conceded the doubles point against the world No. 2-ranked Bryans, playing the “B”-level team of Karanusic and Zovko to give singles stars Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic a day of rest before the singles resumes on Sunday.
Croatia leads the tie 2-1 after Karlovic outlasted James Blake in five sets on Friday, coming back from two sets down, then Cilic came from 1-2 sets down to defeat Mardy Fish.
“It’s going to be a hard-fought contest tomorrow even though it’s been since 1934 since U.S. came back from losing 2-0,” Mike Bryan told reporters, digging into his stats book.
Cilic will take on Blake in the first reverse singles on Sunday, and Karlovic is scheduled to face Fish in the final singles, the U.S. needing to sweep the day to advance to the semifinals against either Argentina or the Czech Republic.
“I think the number one thing for James and Mardy to do tomorrow is to handle the situation the best,” said U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe of his singles charges keeping it together mentally. “Whether it’s the crowd, the court, whatever’s going on, I think that’s the biggest thing. Tactically, we know what we have to do. We’ve got to play well, and we’ve got to take our chances when we get them. That’s one part of the equation. The other part is just handling the Davis Cup atmosphere. Cilic and Karlovic both kept it together on Friday throughout the whole five sets, and that’s something that we’ve got to do. Both physically and mentally, we’ve got to handle every point. It sounds simple but it’s not always that simple. So to me, that’s the biggest thing that we have to do.”
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