Croatia will face Australia in the Davis Cup semi-finals after Marin Cilic’s three-set win over Pablo Carreno Busta eliminated the Spanish hosts in Malaga.
Cilic recovered from a 7-5 opening deficit to win the second set 6-3 and recovered from 4-1 down in the set to close 7-5, winning outright in three hours and 13 minutes and holding the home crowd at bay.
The 34-year-old’s victory gave Croatia – runners-up in Russia in the 2021 Davis Cup – an unassailable 2-0 lead and set up a meeting with Australia on Friday.
“It’s an amazing team effort,” said Cilic, who mixed 20 aces and 15 double faults in his win over Carreno Busta.
Borna Coric had taken down 12 aces earlier and swept away the break he faced when he beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in less than two hours in Wednesday’s opener.
Coric said: “I love the big stage, I love the big crowd. It gives me extra motivation. I felt really good serving and I think in the end that’s what made the difference.”
Australia – 28-time Davis Cup champions – advanced to the semi-finals with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands on Tuesday as Jordan Thompson and Alex de Minaur recovered to win their first three matches.
Thompson beat Tallon Greek track 4-6 7-5 6-3, while De Minaur defeated Botic van de Zandschulp 5-7 6-3 6-4.
The last two quarter-finals take place on Thursday with Germany taking on Canada and Italy taking on 32-year-old champions USA, with the winners advancing to the second round on Saturday.
The final will be held on Sunday.