Colombia versus Croatia: Davis Cup in Plaza de Toros la Santamaría

By Freek Huigen September 15, 2017

The Plaza de Toros la Santamaría is the stage for the Davis Cup. Between September 15 and 17, Colombia will face Croatia for a place in the World Group in the international tennis team event.

The Plaza de Toros la Santamaría has been converted into a tennis stadium for the Davis Cup match between Colombia and Croatia. Between September 15 and
17, up to 8,000 fans will be able to follow the three-day tie that will decide who will be part of the World Group next season. This would be a unique achievement for the locals as they have never been in the World Group before. However, Colombia won’t have an easy task against the Davis Cup runner-ups of 2016.

Colombia will not enter the bullring at full strength. Robert Farah, who normally competes alongside Juan Sebastián Cabal – forming a doubles team that are currently ranked 12th in the world – had to pull out. Farah, a mixed doubles finalist at Roland Garros earlier this season, didn’t recover in time from a lower back injury. Cabal will now most likely form a team with Alejandro Falla who received a call-up instead. Captain Pablo González has selected Santiago Giraldo, the current world number 131, to play in the singles matches, and Alejandro González will be Colombia’s second singles player. González recently fell out of the top 400, but has nevertheless been chosen as number two.

Related: Juan Sebastián Cabal: Grand Slam champion

Croatia will bring their star player Marin Čilić to Bogotá. The world number five performed poorly in the US Open where he was ousted in the third round, but he
is undoubtedly the star of this event. The Croatian number two is world number 239, Viktor Galović. It was expected to be 20-year-old Borna Čorić, one of the most promising talents on the tour, but the young Croat found that the Davis Cup tie at an altitude of 2,600 metres didn’t fit with his schedule.

He’s not the only one who won’t be competing in Bogotá this time. Hard-hitter Ivo Karlović has shown before that he can do well in the altitude of the capital, winning the ATP Bogotá tournament in 2013. However, the 38-year-old Croat has retired from Davis Cup tennis, so isn’t available either, improving Colombia’s chances. The Croatian doubles team is formed by Nikola Mektić and Franko Škugor. They opted to properly prepare themselves for the altitude. The Croatians featured in the MILO open challenger tournament in Bogotá last week, making it to the final.

Related: Farah close but no cigar at Roland Garros 

This is the sixth time Colombia has been in the World Group play-offs but Chile, Canada, USA and Japan twice have previously kept Colombia from featuring among the crème de la crème of international team tennis.

Tickets are still available at Tuboleta, with day tickets available from COP$45,000 and tickets for the whole weekend from COP$110,000. 

Friday September 15 – Singles
10 am             Alejandro González – Marin Čilić
Followed by     Santiago Giraldo     – Franko Škugor

Saturday September 16 – Doubles
10 am             Juan Sebastián Cabal/Alejandro Falla  –   Nikola Mektić/Marin Čilić

Sunday September 17 – Singles
10 am             Santiago Giraldo – Marin Čilić
Followed by     Alejandro Falla    – Viktor Galović

Colombia’s tennis future


The current generation of Colombian tennis players has been the same for years, but although no new talents have broken through to make it to the highest level, there is hope for the future.

Emiliana Arango reached the semi-finals of this year’s US Open Juniors. The 16-year-old from Medellín
won four matches, before falling to Amanda Anisimova, who went on to win the tournament. 15-year-old Maria Camila Osorio was ousted in the second round.

Daniel Galán featured in the challeng- er tournament in Medellín last week and made it to the final. The 21-year- old from Bucaramanga is steadily moving up the ATP world ranking and is now the second highest-ranked Colombian, in position 237.