Australia have had a nightmare start to their Davis Cup campaign, with former US Open champion Marin Cilic and impeccable Borna Gojo leading Croatia to a 3-0 victory in Turin.
Gojo fired eight aces to secure a 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 victory over Alexei Popyrin, who is 215 steps above the Croatian on the ATP rankings. Gojo, ranked 276th, saved all five breakpoints he faced.
Cilic came past world number 61 Alex de Minaur 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in second rubber in Group D, and the doubles combination of de Minaur and John Peer then lost to the Croatian duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (world No. 1 ranked doubles team) 6-3, 6-1.
“I would say this is probably the most painful loss I have had,” Popyrin said after his defeat. “I had chances.
“He is a good player and his position does not really justify his level. I think he’s playing over his position. “
Croatia won the Davis Cup in 2018.
Australia, who have won the Davis Cup 28 times, will next face Hungary in their final round-robin match, early Sunday (AEDT).
Each match-up on indoor hard courts is a best-of-three series with two singles and a doubles match. The six group winners plus the two teams in second place with the best results based on sets and games advance to the quarterfinals.