Sunday, December 04, 2022

Croatia takes advantage of Spain in Davis Cup

MALAGA, Spain ( Associated Press) — Borna Coric beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 7-6(4) on Wednesday to give Croatia a 1-0 lead over Spain in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

Coric hit his twelfth ace to win his third match point, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

“I like the big stage and the audience,” Couric said, referring to the 7,500 or so spectators who booed. “That gives me extra motivation.”

Bautista Agut had only one break point in the match and was unable to convert. Croatia, runners-up in the last World Cup, moved one win away from their sixth Davis Cup semi-final.

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“I felt great serving today and I think it made a difference in the end,” Couric said.

Two activists briefly interrupted the second set by entering the court and protesting climate change. The security personnel took them away.

Marin Cilic, the 201 US Open champion, can later beat Pablo Carreno Busta in the second singles match to secure Croatia’s semi-finals. The winner will face Australia.

Coric, ranked 26th in the world, managed to open up a 4-3 lead in the first set against his opponent (21st). An ace allowed him to convert his third set point on this indoor hard court.

Both Coric and Cilic were part of the team that won the second title for Croatia in 2018. Spain is seeking its seventh Davis Cup trophy and its first since 2019.

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The quarterfinals kick off this Thursday, when the United States will face Italy and Canada along with Germany.

The semi-finals will be played on Friday and Saturday and the title will be decided on Sunday. Each duel consists of a maximum of three sets and two singles matches for one doubles match.

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