Davis Cup: Del Potro draws Argentina level

Juan Martin del Potro beat veteran Ivo Karlovic in tense four sets to draw Argentina back level at 1-1 against Croatia in the Davis Cup final on Friday.

Juan Martin del Potrol did not allow his opponent Ivo Karlovic to gain a single break point.   -  Reuters

Juan Martin del Potro beat veteran Ivo Karlovic in tense four sets to draw Argentina back level at 1-1 against Croatia in the Davis Cup final on Friday.

Croatia had taken an early lead when its top player Marin Cilic battled back from a mid-match collapse to >beat Federico Delbonis 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2 in the opening rubber at the Zagreb Arena. But del Potro left the final all square when he despatched 37-year-old Karlovic 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 7-5.

It was a fine performance from the Olympic silver medallist, who had secured Argentina's appearance in its fifth final when seeing off Andy Murray - his Rio conqueror - in an epic five-setter against the defending champion Great Britain in the semifinal in Glasgow.

Del Potro, 28, is a veteran of two losing finals - both against Spain in 2008 and 2011 - while Karlovic is the oldest player to feature in a Davis Cup singles match since 43-year-old Australian Norman Brookes in 1920.

Del Potro was rock solid, allowing the Croat not one break point in the entire match which kept the 15,000-capacity crowd enthalled for three hours and 19 minutes.

Earlier, former US Open champion Cilic appeared to be cruising towards a routine victory only to lose his way after storming into a two-set lead over the World No. 41.

Four-time runner-up Argentina is chasing a first title, while Croatia is looking to emulate its 2005 triumph over Slovakia. Saturday's doubles pits Croatian duo Ivan Dodig and Franko Skugor against Leonardo Mayer and Guido Pella.