Argentina have won the Davis Cup for the first time after Juan Martin del Potro inspired a stirring comeback against hosts Croatia in the final.
Heading into the final day in Zagreb 2-1 ahead, Croatia were on the brink of victory when Marin Cilic surged into a two-set lead against Del Potro, but the 2009 US Open champion battled back to level the match at 2-2 with a 6-7 (4/7) 2-6 7-5 6-4 6-3 win.
That set the stage for a deciding rubber and Federico Delbonis swept past Ivo Karlovic 6-3 6-4 6-2 to seal victory for Argentina, who had lost their four previous finals.
It is just the seventh time in Davis Cup history that a country has come from 2-1 down in the final to become champions.
And Del Potro having a massive impact on the final day brings the big-hitter’s year to a fitting end.
Out of the game for nearly two years and forced to undergo three wrist operations, Del Potro’s comeback has been the feel-good story for tennis in 2016.
Having already won a silver medal for Argentina at the Rio Olympics, his upset five-set victory over Britain’s Andy Murray went a long way to sending his country into the Davis Cup final, where he won both singles rubbers, having overcome Karlovic 6-4 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 7-5 on Friday.
Cilic had earlier beaten Delbonis 6-3 7-5 3-6 1-6 6-2 while victory in Saturday’s doubles had put Croatia within one victory of a second title, having landed their first honour in 2005.
But Del Potro, despite making only 22 winners compared to 48 unforced errors, rebounded to stun world number six Cilic before Delbonis completed a memorable triumph. – MirrorOnline