Lille - Borna Coric got Croatia off to the best possible start in the Davis
Cup final in Lille on Friday with a straight sets thrashing of France's
Jeremy Chardy in the opening singles.
The world number 12 galloped
through the opening set as Chardy's service temporarily collapsed and
went on to win the match 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours 19 minutes.
His win puts Croatia 1-0 up on the clay courts of Stade Pierre-Mauroy with four matches still to play across the weekend.
Croatian number one Marin Cilic was playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second singles on Friday.
captain Yannick Noah stirred controversy when he picked Chardy for the
opening singles ahead of the higher-ranked Lucas Pouille.
backfired as Chardy, ranked 40 in the world, failed to hold his opening
service game which lasted for 12 minutes and included two double faults
before Coric broke.
Chardy lost 14 points in succession to find himself 0-4 down and the opening set all but lost.
31-year-old Frenchman fought back gamely in the second set, though, to
lead 5-4. With the home crowd noisily cheering Chardy, Coric held his
nerve and his serve to take the set 7-5.
The 22-year-old Coric
needed a brief medical time-out when he led 4-3 in the third set but
returned to complete a convincing win and put Croatia in front.