Four in the afternoon on Wednesday in Malaga and the atmosphere is like a big day. The Martín Carpena has not yet filled up, but the venue rumbles when the Spanish anthem plays. Afterwards, as if it were an away goal in a football stadium, the atmosphere cools down a bit. Take advantage of the Croatian brass band to become strong. At times it seems that it is being played in Zagreb while Borna Coric is defoliating the daisy of the first set against Roberto Bautista. Spain has begun to climb its particular Tourmalet against the number one team in the ITF ranking in the Davis Cup Finals. In the first section of ascent there was a stumble: Roberto Bautista He cannot beat Borna Coric in the number two duel (6-4 and 7-6 (4) in 1h58).
The lawsuit began very evenly, with both players temporizing, measuring each other. Little risk. A quarter of an hour for the first two games. They both invest a lot of effort in holding their serve. Bautista even saves a breaking ball on the opening turn. From the third the thing picks up pace. Nobody puts a gear more than the rest. The points continue without incident until in the seventh, after Roberto annuls a second break option for Coric, with 30-40 the break arrives. It is consolidated by the Croatian, 26th in the ranking, who spent a year injured until he managed to return to the slopes last March. In August he won Cincinnati, the first Masters 1,000 of his career. Although Bautista, 21st, presses with 5-4, he fails to break him. The first sleeve escapes.
The duel is lightened in the second, momentarily interrupted in the middle by two subjects who jump onto the track with the intention of handcuffing themselves to the net to claim something, quickly evicted. The games follow each other quickly to serve. It will be the tonic. There is not a single break ball. They send the good percentages to the service: 75% for the man from Castellón, 69% for the man from Zagreb, who takes the initiative. 17 winning shots and six unforced errors for three and five by Bautista, somewhat cold in gestures. It is a block of ice, a very appreciable quality in certain contexts, but perhaps not so much in a competition that demands connection with the public. This one has returned to tune, smelling defeat, and pushes hard again.
Even so, they cannot prevent Bautista, in a tie-break that soon went to the opposite side after two mini-breaks to make it 4-1, from ending up giving up in what is his seventh defeat in 20 Davis games (Coric is 13-9 now ). In his style, without taking anything for granted, fighting to the last point (he raised two match points before the final 7-4). Tons of responsibility travel on the back of Pablo Carreño, in charge of preventing Spain from abandoning its Finals, those of Malaga, at first.