A remarkable comeback in the third set of joy born sealed a dramatic united cup victory for Croatia on Tuesday in Perth, where the world No. 144 surpassed Adrian Manarino 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(5) to secure his nation a city finals clash against team Greece.
The pressure was on Gojo after World No.4 Caroline Garcia defeated Petra Martic in straight sets to reduce Team France’s deficit in the deciding Group F tie to 1-2, but the 24-year-old years was ice cold under pressure in two draws. -breaks to prevail against an opponent who is 98 places above him in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
A great serve ensured Gojo kept a foothold on the rubber as Mannarino became the dominant player in the second and third sets, but the Frenchman was unable to serve for the match at 5-3 in the decider and the fresh momentum of Gojo took him to three matches. points in the game 12.
Mannarino kept his typical cool to save them all, but there was no denying that Gojo opened up an unassailable 5/1 lead on the tiebreaker en route to a two-hour, 50-minute victory in which he fired 14 aces. .
“I dont know [how I won]Gojo said after the match. “No real answer. I just tried to take the support of the team and take the energy. I was a bit behind in the third, and thanks to them, I won. Without them I would have lost.”
Croatia team captain Iva Majoli was delighted to secure victory in the tie with one match to go after Mannarino came within a game of taking the Group F fixture by the distance.
“We knew that 2-0 is a big advantage and it put more pressure on France today,” Majoli said. “But we knew that every game was going to be difficult today. They had their best players playing and very open games. I mean, it could have gone both ways. Mixed up, you never know. They were probably a bit of a favorite in the joint.
“I am always very positive and I always believe in the players, even sometimes when we are not favourites, I feel positive. It was the same today. Petra was very close, but then Borna played amazing and closed the match”.
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WTA Finals champion Garcia had earlier defeated Martic in a mandatory duel to keep France’s hopes of advancing to the City Finals alive. Garcia came into her matchup with Martic with a promising 4-1 head-to-head record. The WTA Finals champion backed that up, extending it to 5-1 with a 7-6(9), 6-4 victory as she denied Martic the chance to win her team.
Appropriately for a contest between two of the best servers on Tour, the first set went down to the wire and was decided by a very slim margin. Through the first 12 games, it was Martic who had the most chances in return, deploying his slice backhand to great effect, including on a lofted lob that left Garcia reeling.
Garcia needed his best serves to save break points in the first and ninth games; by contrast, despite serving second, Martic conceded just four points behind his delivery in the first 12 games.
The tiebreaker that followed was an exciting microcosm of the game as a whole. Momentum switched back and forth between the pair, and Garcia needed to salvage a set point at 6/7 before converting his fifth with a short forehand.
Garcia still had to avoid another two break points early in the second set, but that was her last moment of danger. In the next game, he broke Martic to love, sealing the game by running forward on his return and finding a game-winning volley that sliced through the net on his way to the open court.
The Frenchwoman, who fired seven aces among her 33 total winners, would only drop four more points on serve and held her lead until the end of the match.
“It has been a very tough game,” García said. “I was expecting a tough battle against Petra – we played a couple of times in 2022, and it will always be a service battle, and who can be the most aggressive. The first set was great tennis, especially the intensity of the tiebreaker – that was a Crazy scenario. I’m glad I was able to stay very calm and focused, one point at a time, even after making some easy mistakes.”