Croatia defeat hosts Spain to set up Davis Cup semi-final against Australia

By Sports Desk November 23, 2022

Borna Coric and Marin Cilic led Croatia to a 2-0 win against hosts Spain in the Davis Cup to set up a last-four clash against Australia.

Coric fought hard to beat Robert Bautista Agut 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in the first contest on Wednesday in Malaga.

In a match that lasted just shy of two hours, Coric hit 12 aces on his way to tying Mario Ancic for fourth place in Croatia's all-time leaders in the Davis Cup with his 13th singles win.

"I didn't know that fact to be honest," the 26-year-old said on court. "It's a very nice fact, Mario is a legend of Croatian tennis and obviously it does mean a lot to me that I am there with him."

His experienced team-mate Cilic had a harder time of things, needing to come back from a set down to overcome Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in a thriller.

Like Coric, Cilic relied heavily on aces, smashing 20 through the contest, but he was made to sweat by Carreno Busta, who took the first set.

Cilic fought back to win the second, and was a break ahead in the third before his Spanish opponent broke back and looked set to take the tie to a rubber clash in the doubles.

The decider went to a tie-break though, with Cilic coming back from 4-1 down to seal victory for his country in front of a disappointed Spanish crowd.

Croatia will now face Australia on Friday after they defeated the Netherlands 2-0 on Tuesday thanks to wins for Jordan Thompson and Alex De Minaur.

Related items

  • Katie Boulter thanks boyfriend Alex de Minaur after dash to watch San Diego win Katie Boulter thanks boyfriend Alex de Minaur after dash to watch San Diego win

    British number one Katie Boulter thanked boyfriend Alex de Minaur for racing over to California to watch her win a first WTA 500 tournament after his own success at the Mexican Open.

    The 27-year-old came from behind to claim the San Diego Open title with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk and earn a second career title.

    Boulter’s victory was watched by De Minaur, who defended his Mexican Open title in Acapulco on Saturday before scheduling an early-morning flight to support her on Sunday.

    “I want to say a small special thank you to my boyfriend,” Boulter said post-match.

    “He finished last night at midnight and I really want to embarrass him. He got a 4.15 taxi this morning and six o’clock flight to be here today, so I do appreciate it.”

    After an even start to the match, Kostyuk began to get the better of Boulter and surged into a 5-2 lead.

    Boulter fought back to level at 5-5 but the sixth-seeded Ukrainian regained the momentum to wrap up the first set 7-5.

    Boulter then found her groove in the second, dominating on her first serve to clinch the set 6-2 and force a deciding third set.

    The Briton continued her ascendancy into the third, claiming the first break point of the set en route to opening up a 3-1 advantage.

    Boulter broke again in the seventh game and hit her first two aces of the match in the next to close out the victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

    The San Diego win is her second WTA title, adding to a maiden championship on grass in Nottingham last summer and Boulter reflected on a “special” week in California.

    “This week has been very, very special for so many different reasons,” she said post-match.

    “This one is pretty amazing, I’ve worked very hard for it, I played some incredible tennis all week.

    “Today was a complete battle, with myself as well because I was a little bit nervous. But I managed to get over the line and that I’m very proud of.

    “A lot of it was about me staying as tough as I possibly could mentally and I managed to keep my cool and actually kind of went within myself and calmed myself down a lot.

    “I think that really helped me and then I started to relax and play through shots a little bit more.”

    Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and the victory over Kostyuk sees her break into the top 30 for the first time, now ranked 27th.

  • Katie Boulter overcomes Marta Kostyuk in three sets to win San Diego Open Katie Boulter overcomes Marta Kostyuk in three sets to win San Diego Open

    British number one Katie Boulter has claimed her first WTA 500 tournament victory with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the final of the San Diego Open.

    The 27-year-old from Leicester was watched by boyfriend Alex De Minaur, who scheduled an early-morning flight after retaining his title in Acapulco.

    After an even start between the two, the sixth seeded Ukrainian began to get the better of Boulter, stringing multiple games together and rapidly closing in on the opening set.

    Boulter fought back to even the set at 5-5, but Kostyuk regained the momentum to wrap up the first set 7-5.

    Boulter then found her groove in the second, dominating on her first serve to clinch the set 6-2 and force a deciding third set.

    The Briton continued her ascendancy into the third, claiming the first break point of the set en route to opening up a 3-1 advantage.

    Boulter broke again in the seventh game and stormed home from there to close out the victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

    Both women picked up their first WTA Tour titles last year in breakout 2023 seasons.

    Boulter claimed her maiden championship on grass in Nottingham last summer, while Kostyuk found victory in Austin.

    Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and the victory over Kostyuk guarantees she will break into the top 30 for the first time.

  • Katie Boulter determined to keep ‘good vibes going’ in biggest career final Katie Boulter determined to keep ‘good vibes going’ in biggest career final

    Katie Boulter vowed to keep having fun on the court after beating Emma Navarro to reach her biggest career final at the San Diego Open.

    The British number one, who claimed her maiden WTA Tour title on grass in Nottingham last summer, will bid for the trophy at a WTA 500 tournament for the first time thanks to a 6-3 6-1 win.

    Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and victory over her third top-30 opponent of the week guarantees she will rise at least 14 places in the rankings to a new career-high of 35.

    She will break the top 30 if she can defeat Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the final on Sunday night – where she will be watched by boyfriend Alex De Minaur, who scheduled an early-morning flight after retaining his title in Acapulco.

    Boulter said: “Today was one of those matches that everything just clicked. I came onto the court and started the first few games and I could feel the power that she had and the way she works and manoeuvres the ball.

    “I had to come up with something better and play more aggressive and go for it and I think that was my chance to just trust myself and trust the work I’ve put in and it paid off.

    “It’s my biggest career final so far. I’m just going to keep having fun. I’ve got such good vibes going with the team right now so nothing changes there, I’m just going to enjoy myself.”

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Katie Boulter (@katiecboulter)

    The 27-year-old from Leicester dominated on her serve against third seed Navarro, winning more than 87 per cent of first serve points and allowing the American just two break points, both of which she saved.

     

    Rain stopped play early in the second set but the delay did nothing to halt Boulter’s momentum as she wrapped up victory in only 48 minutes of play.

    “It was obviously very tricky with the rain delay in the middle of the match,” said Boulter, who was ranked well outside the top 100 a year ago.

    “I felt like I had the momentum behind me, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself in the rain delay to stay focused and stay warm and continue that momentum and I think I came out and played some really good stuff to start with and kept that rolling and I think that was super important today.”

    Kostyuk is also having one of the best weeks of her career and she stunned American top seed Jessica Pegula, winning 7-6 (4) 6-1.

    It was the 21-year-old’s first win over a top-five player after she came back from 5-1 down in the first set.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.