ZADAR, Croatia – Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison pulled off a dramatic 7-5, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) doubles victory on Saturday over the Croatian pair of Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic to keep the United States’ hopes alive in that Davis Cup semifinal tie.
The Croatians could have clinched a third berth in the final of tennis’ premier international team competition by winning the doubles because they captured both of Friday’s opening singles matches.
The US duo stormed to a two-set lead on Saturday before Dodig and Pavic dominated the third set to get the momentum on their side.
The Americans jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the decider but the Croatians thrilled the crowd at Sportski centar Visnjik, a clay-court venue in this southwestern city, by breaking back in the fourth game.
Both teams then held serve the rest of the fifth set as the match came down to a tiebreaker.
The Americans led from start to finish in the “breaker.” They squandered one match point at 6-4 but wrapped up the dramatic victory a point later against the Croatian team’s serve.
Borna Coric and Marin Cilic got Croatia off to a strong start on Friday by winning their singles matches against Steve Johnson and Frances Tiafoe, respectively.
The last two singles matches are to set to be played on Sunday.
Cilic can secure a ticket to the finals for Croatia when he takes on Johnson in the first rubber.
If the American pulls off the upset, the semifinal tie will come down to match between Coric and Tiafoe, two of tennis’ brightest young stars.
The US is trying to get back to the Davis Cup final for the first time since it won the title in 2007.
Croatia won the Davis Cup in 2005 and lost in the final to Argentina in 2016.