Lleyton Hewitt hailed a mighty Australian effort as his team reached the Davis Cup final with a stunning win against Croatia in Malaga.

Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson beat the Olympic champion pair of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the deciding doubles to earn a 2-1 team victory and set up a showdown on Sunday against Canada or Italy.

Borna Coric got the better of Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first rubber on Friday, earning a 6-4 6-3 victory to put Croatia in the driving seat.

After a shock title success at the Cincinnati Masters in August, Coric was looking to end his year on another huge career high.

However, Marin Cilic could not seal the deal for Croatia as he slumped 6-2 6-2 to Alex de Minaur in the surprisingly one-sided tussle that followed.

De Minaur broke the Cilic serve four times and held his own throughout, typically with plenty of comfort, as he took down the 2014 US Open champion.

That meant the contest came down to the doubles, and Purcell and Thompson held their nerve in a gargantuan battle with Mektic and Pavic, coming from behind to score a 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 6-4 victory.

"I couldn't be prouder of the whole team," team captain Hewitt said, quoted on Tennis Australia's website.

"We knew we were the underdogs coming into this today and we like being in that position. It's a place I really enjoyed as a player and also as a captain."

Hewitt was a star of the team when Australia last won the Davis Cup or even made the final, all the way back in 2003. That was the country's 28th triumph in the competition, and now they have a chance to go after number 29.

"To put us in the final, that feeling, I can't describe it," said Thompson.

Canada face Italy on Saturday in the second semi-final.

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.

Jannik Sinner and Marin Cilic were the two most notable first-round losers at the Paris Masters, where Taylor Fritz kept his slim ATP Finals hopes alive on Monday.

World number 12 Sinner, the 11th seed in the French capital this week, suffered a straight-sets loss to Marc-Andrea Huesler, as did 15th favourite Cilic against Lorenzo Musetti.

Ninth seed Fritz downed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-2, with Cameron Norrie and Frances Tiafoe also recording straight-sets victories against Miomir Kecmanovic and Lorenzo Sonego respectively.

Victory for Fritz kept the American in the hunt for qualifying for November's ATP Finals in Turin for the first time, needing to reach the final in Paris to overtake Felix Auger-Aliassime or Andrey Rublev.

"Right now I'm just focused on kind of playing myself into the tournament," said Fritz. "I feel like any time this year that I've won a couple of matches in a tournament, then I've done well.

"So I'll just try to focus on these early rounds. Turin is still in the picture, obviously, but there's not much else I really could have done.

"Felix has played really, really well, so he deserves it, but I am going to try to steal his spot this week for sure."

Home favourite Gilles Simon awaits Fritz in the second round at the ATP 1000 event after defeating Andy Murray 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Alexander Bublik and Mikael Ymer played out another three-set battle, with the former triumphing 6-1 6-7 (2-7) 6-4.

Richard Gasquet, Yoshihito Nishioka, Karen Khachanov, Maxime Cressy, Nikoloz Basilashvili and John Isner were the other first-round winners on the opening day in France.

Novak Djokovic scooped his 89th career title with victory over Marin Cilic in Sunday's Tel Aviv Open final.

Playing his first singles event since winning Wimbledon in July, Djokovic landed a 6-3 6-4 victory, improving his career head-to-head winning record to 19-2 against former US Open champion Cilic.

He broke serve to lead 3-1 in the opening set, and then struck immediately in the second set to tighten his grip on the contest, completing the task with a service winner on his first championship point.

This indoor hard-court success goes down as a third title of the year for Djokovic, who won the Internazionali d'Italia on clay before triumphing on the Wimbledon grass. He is the first man to win a title on all three surfaces in 2022 at ATP Tour level.

Prevented from playing the North American hard-court stretch of the season, due to his refusal to accept a COVID-19 vaccination, Djokovic sat out the US Open.

He made his first post-Wimbledon appearance at the invitational Laver Cup team event in London last week, which doubled up as Roger Federer's retirement party.

At the age of 35, Djokovic hopes to be a presence on tour for a good while to come, and Sunday's straight-sets picking apart of Cilic was a fresh demonstration of his enduring prowess.

Novak Djokovic is yet to drop a set at the Tel Aviv Open as he reached the final with a 6-1 7-6 (7-3) success over Roman Safiullin.

The Serb broke his Russian opponent twice as he cruised to the opening set, and though Safiullin took the 21-time grand slam champion to a tie-break in the second, Djokovic's class showed as he won the tie-break 7-3 to ensure his place in Sunday's decider.

It was far from plain sailing for Djokovic, who conceded the tension in the second set was hard to handle.

Djokovic said: "I think it was a very competitive match, especially in the second set.

"I must say I was quite emotional on the court today in the second set, there was a lot of tension, and that was also due to his aggressive style of tennis. Big serves, and when he has time, he's so solid from the forehand and backhand corner.

"I knew that I had to stay very strong, and that he was definitely going to raise his level in the second set, which happened. I was serving for the match and played a couple of loose points, but credit to him for fighting back. It was an enjoyable evening on the court for sure."

Marin Cilic secured his spot as Djokovic's final opponent with a comfortable straight sets triumph over Constant Lestienne.

The Croatian second seed served 14 aces as he eased to victory in under two hours, winning 11 out of his 12 first-serve points en route to a 7-5 6-3 win.

Holger Rune is into the Sofia Open final after Jannik Sinner was forced to retire through injury with the Dane leading 5-7 6-4 5-2.

Sinner won the opening set but lost the second, and with Rune just one game away from winning the match, the top seed chose to retire with ankle pain, putting an end to his hopes of winning three straight titles in Sofia.

Rune will face Marc-Andrea Huesler in the final, after the world number 95 upset fourth seed Lorenzo Musetti.

The first set went to a tie-break as neither could find a break of serve, though Musetti found two in the tie-break to help him to a 5-1 lead.

However, the Italian surrendered the next six points as Huesler pulled off an incredible comeback to take the first set.

The second set was another tight affair as both held serve after serve, but Huesler finally found a crucial break to prevail 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

Novak Djokovic sealed his place in the final four at the Tel Aviv Open after beating one of his "best friends" Vasek Pospisil on Friday.

The Serbian was made to work hard by his Canadian opponent, particularly in the first set, but eventually won 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

Djokovic was particularly impressive on his second serve, winning 70 per cent of them, only four per cent less than his first serve success rate, and he hit just eight unforced errors compared to Pospisil's 21.

"It was a great, positive win," Djokovic said afterwards. "Vasek is one of my best friends on the Tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that.

"I think the level of tennis was really high. Especially towards the end of the first set and the second set. Credit to him for fighting. It's great to see him back."

The number one seed will play Roman Safiullin in the semi-finals after the Russian beat Arthur Rinderknech 6-4 6-1.

Constant Lestienne came through a tight contest with Maxime Cressy, winning 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3), and will face number two seed Marin Cilic in the other semi after the Croatian was handed a bye following Liam Broady's withdrawal prior to their match.

At the Sofia Open, Jannik Sinner remains on course for a third successive title at the tournament, setting up a final-four encounter with Holger Rune after easing past Aleksandar Vukic 6-2 6-3, with Rune eventually dispatching Ilya Ivashka 6-2 5-7 6-4.

The other semi-final in Bulgaria will see Lorenzo Musetti take on Marc-Andrea Huesler after both won their respective quarter-finals against Jan-Lennard Struff and Kamil Majchrzak.

The career of Carlos Alcaraz could be one that takes up a great deal of space in the record books, and he is getting started early.

Not yet old enough to buy a stiff drink in a New York bar, the 19-year-old was the toast of Flushing Meadows after a late-night win over Marin Cilic that ran into the early hours of Tuesday.

That five-set win against the 2014 champion, combined with the shock exit of Rafael Nadal at Frances Tiafoe's hands, has raised expectations that Alcaraz could scoop a first grand slam title on Sunday.

Should he land that breakthrough major, there will be another feather in his cap, making Alcaraz the youngest world number one since the ATP rankings were established in 1973, and the first teenager to hold down top spot. He has climbed from 32nd at the start of the year to his current position of fourth on the list.

Nadal is poised to go to number one, which he last held in February 2020, unless Alcaraz or 23-year-old Norwegian Casper Ruud reach the title match. They are the only two players remaining in the draw who can clamber to the top ranking, which Daniil Medvedev will relinquish after his fourth-round exit to Nick Kyrgios.

If both reach the final, the champion will go to number one.

In the city that never sleeps, Alcaraz completed a 6-4 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over Croatian Cilic at 02:23 local time, three minutes short of matching the latest finish in US Open history, shared jointly by three matches: Mats Wilander vs Mikael Pernfors (1993), John Isner v Philipp Kohlschreiber (2012), Kei Nishikori v Milos Raonic (2014).

The victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium made Alcaraz the youngest man to reach back-to-back US Open quarter-finals since Australians Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall both achieved the feat before turning 19 in 1953. It was called the US Championships in that era.

Alcaraz has won a tour-leading 48 matches in 2022 and has become the youngest man to reach three grand slam quarter-finals since Michael Chang over 30 years ago.

However, he next faces a player making his own history.

Alcaraz's quarter-final opponent is a recent nemesis: Jannik Sinner, the 21-year-old Italian who beat him in round four at Wimbledon and again in the final of the clay-court event in Umag, Croatia, at the end of July.

"I played a couple of times against him," Alcaraz said. "He's a great player, really tough one. I lost twice in two months [to him] so I will have to be ready for this battle against Jannik."

There is a victory that Alcaraz could point to, having defeated Sinner on an indoor hard court at the Paris Masters last November, but they have never played on an outdoor hard court, which is where they will do battle on Wednesday.

Sinner has now reached the quarter-final stage of all four majors, becoming the youngest man to pull off that feat since a 20-year-old Novak Djokovic completed the set in 2008.

The last-eight duel with Alcaraz could be a sizzling clash, albeit Alcaraz and Sinner had some recharging to do on Tuesday after both were pushed to five sets in round four, in Sinner's case by Ilya Ivashka of Belarus. Alcaraz now has a 6-1 win-loss record in five-set matches.

Nobody remaining in the men's quarter-finals has a slam title to their name, and Alcaraz will hope he continues to have the backing of the crowd in Queens.

He said after fending off Cilic: "Of course, the support today in Arthur Ashe was crazy. After losing the fourth set, it was tough for me to come back in the fifth set, to stay strong mentally. But the energy I received today made me win."

Rafael Nadal's loss to Frances Tiafoe opened up a host of possibilities including a first-time world number one and maiden grand slam winner as the top three's domination of men's singles continues to weaken.

World number three Nadal bowed out in the fourth round to 22nd seed Tiafoe 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 on Monday, while third seed Alcaraz triumphed over Marin Cilic 6-4 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 in a match that went to almost 2:30am local time.

Cilic was the last remaining male player with a grand slam title to his name, meaning this year's US Open will bring a new major champion.

There may also be a first-time world number one too, with Alcaraz guaranteed to claim the top rank if he wins the US Open title.

Fifth seed Casper Ruud will rise to world number one if he lifts the US Open crown at Flushing Meadows on September 11 too.

If both fall short of the final, Nadal will reclaim the top ranking from 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the fourth round to Nick Kyrgios.

Alcaraz could also scale the rankings summit should he reach the final, assuming Ruud misses out.

Nick Kyrgios set up a mouth-watering second-round showdown against world number one Daniil Medvedev after defeating Argentina's Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4 in his opening match of the Canadian Open on Tuesday.

The in-form Kyrgios is coming off his first ATP singles title since 2019 after winning the Washington Open this past week, where he also won the doubles partnered with Jack Sock. 

Against Baez, he served all six of the match's aces to make it through unscathed, and he will now play the top-ranked Russian – who Kyrgios has beaten twice – although he dropped their third meeting at the Australian Open this year.

Dating back to the start of his Wimbledon run, where Kyrgios made his first grand slam final, the Australian has now won 13 of his past 14 matches, with the only loss coming in the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic.

Earlier on, 11th seed Matteo Berrettini was the first upset of the day as he went down 6-3 6-2 against Spain's Pablo Carreno-Busta, while fellow Spaniard Pedro Martinez had less success, getting bounced by France's Gael Monfils 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-2.

America's Tommy Paul delivered a gut-punch to his neighbours in the Great White North by eliminating Canada's own Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4, and his Canadian compatriot Alexis Galarneau also struggled in his 6-4 7-5 loss to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.

Marin Cilic showed why he is the 13th seed with a strong 6-3 6-2 win in his all-Croatian battle against Borna Coric, and American Maxim Cressy had similar success against Russia's Aslan Karatsev 6-4 6-4.

In a battle of the French it was Adrian Mannarino prevailing 6-3 6-3 against Arthur Rinderknech, and a pair of Englishmen made their way through unscathed as Daniel Evans won a back-and-forth contest against Filip Krajinovic 6-2 1-6 6-0, while Jack Draper returned to his rain-interrupted fixture against Hugo Gaston to finish the job 6-2 6-3.

Alex de Minaur ensured it would be a grim day for the Canadian fans as he eliminated Denis Shapovalov 7-5 7-6 (7-4), before Holger Rune fought off the challenge of Fabio Fognini to emerge a 6-3 7-5 winner.

In the late session, Roberto Bautista-Agut defeated Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, ninth seed Cameron Norrie needed just over an hour for his straight sets 6-4 6-4 win over Brandon Nakashima, and Andy Murray had no answer for Taylor Fritz as he went down 6-1 6-3.

Yoshihito Nishioka's strong form held up after his runner-up finish at the Washington Open, cruising past Benoit Paire 6-2 6-3, while 25-year-old Botic van de Zanschulp continued his rise up the rankings with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Miomir Kecmanovic.

12th seed Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to navigate the challenge of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 1-6 6-3 6-4, and Albert Ramos-Vinolas got the better of Belgium's David Goffin 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.

In the final match of the night, world number 10 Hubert Hurkacz responded to adversity in the second set to pull out a 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 win against Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori.

Wimbledon lost another seed to a positive COVID-19 test on Thursday as former semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut pulled out of the tournament.

The Spaniard, who lost in four sets to Novak Djokovic in their 2019 last-four tussle, announced his withdrawal as play got under way on day four at the All England Club.

Bautista Agut wrote on Twitter: "Today I notified @Wimbledon of my withdrawal. I have tested positive for Covid-19. Fortunately, the symptoms are not very serious, but I think it is the best decision. Thank you for your support. I hope to come back soon."

Now aged 34, Bautista Agut was the 17th seed at the championships and had been due to play Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan on Court Three on Thursday afternoon.

Galan receives a walkover into the third round as a result of Bautista Agut's announcement.

The loss of Bautista Agut follows the crushing blow of last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini having to abandon his Wimbledon mission for the same reason.

Eighth seed Berrettini recently won at Queen's Club for the second straight year and was widely considered a credible challenger to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, but the Italian pulled out ahead of his first-round match on Tuesday.

Croatian Marin Cilic, a former US Open champion and Wimbledon runner-up, also withdrew from the tournament before his opening match after a recent positive test.

Alize Cornet claims several players contracted COVID-19 at last month's French Open, but kept the outbreak quiet in order to avoid mass withdrawals from the tournament.

Wimbledon has already been rocked by two high-profile male players withdrawing after testing positive for the virus, with last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic both pulling out ahead of scheduled first-round matches on Tuesday.

Now Cornet, who equalled Ai Sugiyama's all-time record of 62 consecutive grand slam main-draw appearances in a win over Yulia Putintseva on day two, claims there were cases at Roland Garros that did not come to light.

"At Roland Garros, there was a Covid epidemic, no one talked about it. In the locker room, everyone got it and we said nothing," she told L'Equipe.

"When it comes out in the press, with big players, it will start to set fire to the lake everywhere and that worries me a little.

"[2021 French Open winner Barbora] Krejcikova withdrew saying she had Covid, and the whole locker room was sick. 

"At some point, we all might have had the flu. The thing is, we have the symptoms, itchy throat… we play and everything is fine, it's fine. 

"At Roland, I think there have been a few cases and it's a tacit agreement between us. We are not going to self-test to get into trouble! 

"Afterwards, I saw girls wearing masks, maybe because they knew and didn't want to pass it on. You also have to have a civic spirit."

Daniil Medvedev set up a Halle Open final meeting with Hubert Hurkacz, overcoming home favourite Oscar Otte to reach his second grass-court final in as many weeks.

The world number one was forced to save a set point in a tight opener before rallying in a tie-break and sailing through the second set in a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 win. 

Despite falling to a shock defeat to Tim van Rijthoven in 's-Hertogenbosch last week, Medvedev is now 14-2 on grass since a first-round exit at Halle last year, and was delighted to make up for 2021's performance on one of his favoured surfaces. 

"I didn't play well in Halle last year, so I'm happy that this year I managed to raise my level," he said after the win.

"As I've always said, I love playing on grass, so I'm happy to show to myself that I'm capable of being in the final of one of the greatest tournaments, especially on grass, and of course I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Standing between Medvedev and the second grass-court title of his career is Hurkacz, who required two tie-breaks to edge a thrilling contest with Nick Kyrgios, winning 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

Elsewhere, last year's Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini remains on course for back-to-back titles at the Queen's Club Championships after a straight-sets win over Botic van de Zandschulp in the final four.

Berrettini overcame a rain stoppage to secure his eighth consecutive victory, securing a 6-4 6-3 win, and delighted after triumphing in challenging conditions.

"It was a really tough match. We stopped for the rain. I had a lot of chances. It was windy again and really tough to play, but I definitely think it was the best match of the week, so I am really happy and looking forward to the final," the Italian said. 

Berrettini will face world number 48 Filip Krajinovic in Sunday's final, after the Serb cruised past 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-3 6-3.

Daniil Medvedev ended his wait for a first win over Roberto Bautista Agut at the Halle Open as his impressive start to the grass-court season continued.

The world number one, who reached the final at 's-Hertogenbosch last week only to suffer a shock defeat to Tim van Rijthoven, had not beaten Bautista Agut in three previous matches.

But his duck against the Spaniard is over following a 6-2 6-4 win, which set up a semi-final meeting with Oscar Otte after the German saw off Karen Khachanov in three sets.

"I remember all the matches we had… He was playing some [great] tennis and it was tough for me to win," Medvedev said of his previous meetings with Bautista Agut. 

"Today I had my plan, managed to keep it going. Definitely got more edge on the most important points, because he had more break points than me. It was not easy, and I'm happy to win."

Hubert Hurkacz, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, is also into the last four after edging Felix Auger-Aliassime in two tie-breaks and will face Nick Kyrgios, who beat Paulo Carreno Busta in straight sets.

Elsewhere, Matteo Berrettini was victorious at the Stuttgart Open and is on course to go back-to-back at the Queen's Club Championships after seeing off Tommy Paul 6-4 6-2 to progress to the semi-finals.

Botic van de Zandschlup is his next opponent, the Dutchman overcoming Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-4.

Meanwhile, Filip Krajinovic had to come from a set down to end Briton Ryan Peniston's run at the quarter-final stage, with his reward a meeting with former US Open champion Marin Cilic, a straight-sets victor over Emil Ruusuvori.

 

Andrey Rublev was a surprise first-round loser at the Halle Open, while numerous seeds fell on the first day of the Queen's Club Championships.

Rublev came unstuck against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, succumbing to a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 loss as the world number eight crashed out in Germany.

Laslo Djere progressed after Henri Squire retired when 4-3 down, while sixth seed Pablo Carreno Busta secured a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) over French Open quarter-finalist Holger Rune.

Ugo Humber got the better of a topsy-turvy affair against qualifier Radu Albot, eventually triumphing 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 and Mackenzie McDonald defeated Marc-Andrea Huesler in straight sets.

Fourth favourite Taylor Fritz went down 6-3 6-3 against British wildcard Jack Draper, his first career win against a top-20 ranked player.

Reilly Opelka, the eighth seed, crashed out in the first round to New Zealand's Alex de Minaur, who claimed a straightforward 6-4 6-4 win.

Grigor Dimitrov, who won the event in 2014, battled past third seed Cameron Norrie 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-4, while Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina eased past compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5 6-4.

Alexander Bublik was 6-3 up before Italian Lorenzo Musetti retired, while seventh seed Marin Cilic capped the day's play in London by beating home hope Liam Broady 6-1 4-6 7-5.

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