Best Moments of 2016: Davis Cup’s Unlikely Champion
In a trophy that was won on the road, Argentina kicked its campaign against Poland in March. Despite playing without their big gun Juan Martin del Potro, the Argentinians won the tie 4-1.
In July, Argentina faced 1976 champion and six-time runner-up Italy in Pesaro, Italy in the quarterfinals. In a rainy weekend, Argentina took the tie 4-1.
In September, Argentina traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to face the defending champion Great Britain. The British team, that boasted Andy Murray (2016 Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medalist) and his brother Jamie Murray (top doubles player), had all the momentum going into the tie.
Murray and del Potro faced-off in the first rubber in what would arguably become the best match of 2016. In an Olympics rematch (Murray defeated del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the Olympics final match), Del Potro won the tightly contested rubber 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-4. Argentina closed out the tie 3-2.
In the finals, Croatia hosted Argentina in Zagreb, Croatia. Marin Cilic, the highest ranked player in the tie, opened against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis. Cilic took the rubber 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2. Del Potro took the second rubber 64 67(6) 63 75 against Ivo Karlovic to level the tie 1-1.
In the doubles rubber, Croatia took it 76(2) 76(4) 63 to go up 2-1. In a highly-charged win-or-go-home fourth rubber, Del Potro came back from 0-2 down to win 67(4) 26 75 64 63 against Cilic, keeping Argentina in the running.
The last rubber saw Delbonis defeat Karlovic 63 64 62, giving Argentina its maiden Davis Cup.