Davis Cup: Australia into first final since 2003 after beating Croatia

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Sportem
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Australia have won 28 Davis Cup titles

Australia are through to their first Davis Cup final since 2003 after a 2-1 win over Croatia.

Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson beat Croatia’s Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 6-4 in the semi-final meeting in Malaga on Friday.

Earlier, Australia’s Alex de Minaur had cancelled out Borna Coric’s opening-game victory with a 6-2 6-2 success over Marin Cilic to level the tie.

Australia will face Italy or Canada in Sunday’s final.

Croatia took a 1-0 lead in the last-four encounter when Coric beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-3.

The 26-year-old Croatian, who hit 19 winners and committed just nine unforced errors, saved his career in 2022 and rose to 26th in the world rankings, having not played for 12 months after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

“I was watching the guys playing Davis Cup when I was injured and doing my rehab. To play for Croatia is an amazing feeling for me,” said Coric.

But Australia hit back when De Minaur, the world number 24, stunned former US Open champion Cilic with a straight-set win in just 44 minutes.

Cilic, ranked 17th in the world, was undone by 23 unforced errors.

“Marin’s a hell of a competitor, a veteran player of our sport that has accomplished amazing things.” said De Minaur.

“I knew what to expect, so I knew it was never going to be easy.”

With the tie finely poised at 1-1, Purcell and Thompson – who was brought in minutes before the match by captain Lleyton Hewitt as a replacement for Matthew Ebden – fought from a set down to break in the second and then held serve to force a decisive third set.

The pair broke for a 4-3 lead and then held their serve to deny Croatia a second successive final – and put Australia into their first since they won the trophy for a 28th time when they overcame Spain.

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