Croatia - France 3 : 2 / Croatia will meet Argentina in November's final
Croatia sealed their ticket to the Davis Cup final after Marin Cilic's three sets victory over Richard Gasquet gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead over nine-time champions France in Zadar.
Croatia, titleholders only once in 2005, will face the winner of the other semi-final between holders Great Britain and Argentina in the November final.
World number 11 Cilic bagged the all important point in the first of Sunday's reverse singles, seeing off Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.
Gasquet, 17th in the world, was drafted in after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils pulled out with knee injuries.
Croatia had taken command of the tie in Saturday's doubles when Cilic and Ivan Dodig downed top-ranked French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 after the two sides split the opening singles on Friday.
Croatia was the winner of the Davis Cup Tournament in 2005. The first known traces of tennis playing in Croatia date from 1878 (in Zagreb and Samobor). The first Davis Cup match in Croatia was played in Zagreb in 1927. In the finals of the 1939 Davis Cup match for the European zone, held in Zagreb, the Croatian team defeated the representation of Germany.
World No. 11 Marin Cilic was the hero for Croatia on Sunday, sending the eastern European nation into its second Davis Cup Final. Cilic, who won both his singles rubbers and teamed with Ivan Dodig to take Saturday's doubles clash, clinched the tie 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 over Richard Gasquet.
Croatia defeated France 3-2 after Frenchman Lucas Pouille won an abbreviated fifth rubber 6-4, 6-4 against Marin Draganja. The team victory marks Croatia's return to the Davis Cup Final for the first time in 11 years, when Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic guided them to their lone title in 2005. Croatia became the first unseeded nation to win the title then and will look to replicate the feat this year when they host the final against Argentina, which defeated Great Britain on Sunday.
"When you look at the atmosphere, it’s an incredible feeling," said Cilic. "It’s been a dream weekend for us. I played incredible tennis. I produced a great performance for all the crowd. I can’t be more proud than right now.
"We have always been playing well in Davis Cup. It’s something that’s in your heart."
On Sunday, Cilic was dominant on the fast hard court in Zadar. He sealed the tie with forehand approach winner into the open court after two hours and 14 minutes. In total, the 27 year old fired 21 winners, including 14 aces, while converting six of nine break chances.
Cilic levels his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Gasquet at 2-2, having dropped their first two encounters. The Croatian has since won two in a row this year, including a three-set victory at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He has been on a tear in recent months, after reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals and claiming his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati.
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