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The delivery of Spain is left without reward

The goal, completely exciting, was a seventh Salad Bowl, but on the way, a big mountain: Croatia. Davis Cup finalist in 2021, best selection according to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), with names like Marin Cilic, in his second youth –34 years old, 17 in the world–, Borna Coric and the Mektic and Pavic couple. And on a fast track. And without Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. And it became impossible. Despite the effort

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  • Marin Cilic
  • 5

    6

    7

  • Pablo Carreno
  • 7

    3

    6

    They stepped forward, always ready with the cause, Pablo Carreno and Roberto Bautista, with the squires Albert Ramos, Marcel Granollers and Pedro Martínez. And he was left until his last breath. Almost two hours the first meeting, more than three the second. But Spain leaves Malaga empty, beaten in the quarterfinals with its head held high.

    «It is never easy to lose, but when you give it your all, your mind has to be calm and that is how I feel. Sometimes you win and other times you lose, tennis is like that and you have to understand the sport”, are the words of Bautista, 34 years old and 21 in the world, who succumbed to the spark of Coric, who has taken the point because it is the fourth consecutive win over the Spaniard. The Croatian, 26 years old, 26 in the world, champion in Cincinnati this course, was only a little faster and a little more tenacious at break points. Helped, of course, by this very fast court in which you took it out of him, they gave wings – up to 14 aces. And that alone made all the difference.

    The irruption of two spontaneous people who demanded attention for the cause of climate change remained an anecdote. Carreño entered the scene and had a big role, a special role for the Canadian Masters 1,000 champion: defeat the giant Cilic. The Asturian had already done it, once of the five preceding ones, at the Tokyo Olympics, and that spirit appealed to the team. Also Carreño, driven by faith and by the Croatian’s entanglement in a first set of 55 minutes. There was a direct game from Cilic who protected the Spanish with effects; minimize the impact of the rival with enveloping balls that ended up unbalancing the Croatian and his 198 centimeters. An hour and 10 minutes for 7-5, yes; the duel was that demanding.

    4-1 at tie-break

    The stands were unruly, there were hopes, illusion and desire that the tie be decided in the doubles. Carreño gave it his all, firm at the bottom, confident at the service, a fighter, protagonist of passings and points of scandal. joy for the Spanish fans. But Cilic overcame his own errors (15 double faults), with services that gave him free points (14) and more effectiveness with his powerful forehand. For the third sleeve, all the gunpowder of the Davis: encouragement to Carreño, chanting his name, the rivals whistled, games that stopped at serve and requests from the chair umpire to call for silence.

    There were breaks, encouragement for the Croats, and counterbreaks, faith in the Spanish. And in the tie break, a 4-1 to dream of in those semifinals against Australia. But the best Cilic appeared, the one with the illegible direct kicks, the one with elastic legs to get to everything. And Carreño was cold. After three hours and thirteen minutes, despite the effort and dedication, it was the Croatian bank that celebrated the semifinal. Spain was left without reward.

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