Croatia no pushover, says Del Potro
Originally published on: 05/04/12 09:56
Juan Martin del Potro says the Argentine Davis Cup team will have to have their wits about them when they take on Croatia in this Friday’s Davis Cup quarter-final in Buenos Aires. Argentina made the final of the team competition last year – losing to five time champions Spain in Seville – and hold a 2-0 advantage over the visitors in their previous two meetings in 2002 and 2006, though both of those clashes were decided in a fifth rubber.
“They can beat anyone,” Del Potro said of Zeljko Krajan’s team, which comprises Marin Cilic, Ivo Karlovic, Antonio Veic and Lovro Lovko. “I don’t think there is a big difference [between the teams]. I’ve known Cilic for 12 years and at Indian Wells and Miami he improved and remains very dangerous.”
Cilic, 23, played both of Argentina’s elected singles players at the two recent Masters 1000 tournaments in the US, running David Nalbandian close in a 6-7(3) 6-7(4) defeat in the Californian desert and pushing del Potro in a 3-6, 6-7(3) defeat in Miami.
That said, world No.23 Cilic has won just one match on the ATP Tour this year, over Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn in Miami, and even dropped down a tier to feature in a Challenger event in Texas in a bid to find his form, ultimately losing to Canada’s Frank Dancevic in the quarter-finals.
Clilic is the only one of Croatia’s team ranked inside the top 50. Ivo Karlovic is ranked No.52, Veic No.150 and Lovko is No.93 in the doubles ladder. By contrast, Argentina have world No.10 del Potro, No.16 Juan Monaco and No.50 Nalbandian to call on, plus world No.187 Eduardo Schwank. Del Potro and Nalbandian will play singles on Friday (from 1.30pm GMT), while Miami semi-finalist Monaco could play one of the reverse rubbers on Sunday.