Argentina beat Croatia 3-2 to seal the Davis Cup victory
In a remarkable turnaround, Argentina stormed back from brink of elimination to claim their maiden Davis Cup victory over Croatia. Going into the final day of competition, Argentina were trailing 1-2, in the best-of-five rubbers. Del Potro's arduous 5-setter win against Marin Cilic kept them in the contest, setting stage for Delbonis who swept past Ivo Karlovic in the decider, to clinch the title.
The 16-nation World Group that competed for 2016 Davis Cup consisted of - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, and United States. Britain entered the competition as defending champions. Eight teams were eliminated in first round. The quarterfinals saw - Britain vs Serbia, Italy vs Argentina, France vs Czech Republic, US vs Croatia.
While Britain, Argentina, and France had an easy run in the quarterfinals, Croatia beat US in a closely fought contest, to advance into the Semi Finals.
In the Semis, Argentina were the underdogs against 2015 Davis Cup winners Britain. In a scintillating match between Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Murray, the Argentine who lost Olympic gold-medal match to the Briton came on top to set the tone for rest of the rubbers. The South Americans beat Great Britain 3-2 to make their way into the fifth Davis Cup final.
In the other Semis which saw Croatia go against 9-time champions France, the hosts led by Marin Cilic beat France 3-2 to proceed to the final. This was the Croats' second appearance in final, having won the previous final they made it to, in 2005.
Argentina was one set away from Davis Cup defeat in the fourth rubber at a point when Cilic was leading Delpo 2-0. Turning around an improbable match, the Argentine beat Cilic 6-7, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, in a gargantuan effort that lasted 4 hrs 53mins.
Known for his blistering groundstrokes, Del Potro rose to fame after 2009 US Open victory beating Roger Federer. Recurring wrist injury kept him off tennis for most part of 2014 and 2015, making his return to the sport doubtful. Del Potro became the comeback sensation of 2016 having won Olympic Silver, advancing to the US Open QF, and now the winner of Davis Cup.