Cilic Croat hopes to end career-best season with Davis Cup title

The Croatian hopes to duplicate history from a decade ago.

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After rising to a career-best number six ranking through solid play at the World Tour Championships in London, Marin Cilic has turned his full attention to the weekend Davis Cup final.

The Croatian hopes to duplicate history from a decade ago when the young Balkan nation won its only title in the worldwide team competition over Slovakia in Bratislava.

Now the battle from Friday is with Argentina, which has come up heartbreakingly short in four previous finals, dating to a first in 1981 against the U.S.

Cilic, who will lead the hosts, said: “I’m extremely excited obviously now. A little bit more positive finishing this tournament with a win. That’s extremely a good thing for me.

“Playing now at home, I guess it’s going to be extremely exciting for the fans, for the players, for both teams.

“The teams are going to make the big difference. The team energy, the team spirit from both teams, I think they were great this year.’’

Argentina will be 'quite motivated' for the final. “We have to do the same in our team. I’m just hoping that our crowd is going to help us and lead us to the win,’’ he said.

Cilic will be backed up by 37-year-old veteran Ivo Karlovic, who 'retired' from Davis Cup in 2012, while 20-year-old Borna Coric is back after injury with the possibility of playing. Ivan Dodig leads the doubles mix.

Argentine are counting on timely form from 38th-ranked Juan Martin del Potro, who skipped the last days of the regular ATP season to return home for intense training.

“They are the favourites, I imagine they will put a very fast surface that will benefit their game, but I will check that once we are in Zagreb,’’ Del Potro said.

“We were also not favourites in the semi-finals against Britain in Glasgow but we ended up surprising everyone – we will look for the same thing.’’

Del Potro has climbed more than 1,000 rankings spots in 2016 after returning from a chronic wrist problems, beating Andy Murray in five sets in the semis.

He will be competing in his third Davis Cup final after losses in 2008 and 2011.

“I closed a spectacular year and this would be a great final prize, I’m really enjoying the build-up,’’ he said.

Argentina captain captain Daniel Orsanic has also called on Federico Delbonis, Guido Pella and Leonardo Mayer for the same line-up that beat Britain in the semis.

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