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Cilic fires Croatia into Davis Cup final

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Tennis - Croatia v France - Davis Cup Semi Final - Kresimir Cosic Hall, Zadar, Croatia - 18/9/16 France's Richard Gasquet reacts during his singles match against Croatia's Marin Cilic. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic
Tennis - Croatia v France - Davis Cup Semi Final - Kresimir Cosic Hall, Zadar, Croatia - 18/9/16 France's Richard Gasquet reacts during his singles match against Croatia's Marin Cilic. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

ZADAR, Croatia (Reuters) - Marin Cilic sent Croatia into the Davis Cup final with a 6-3 6-2 7-5 victory against Richard Gasquet on Sunday that gave the hosts a 3-2 win over France.

The world number 11 relied on his big serve and his booming forehand to down Gasquet, who had given France the first point by beating Borna Coric on Friday.

Cilic levelled the tie on Friday when he saw off Lucas Pouille and he paired up with Ivan Dodig to give Croatia the lead with their win in the doubles against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut on Saturday.

Pouille beat Marin Draganja 6-4 6-4 in the final match with nothing at stake.

Croatia will play either defending champions Britain or Argentina, who were level at 2-2 in Glasgow.

"We played so many ties away, we had been waiting to play at home and now we just won in front of our home crowd it's amazing," said Croatia captain Zeljko Krajan.

"Marin was our leader all the way, he won everything despite the pressure that was on his shoulders."

“I want to thank the fans for their fantastic support, this means the world to us,” Cilic said in a courtside interview.

“It was a tough tie but this wonderful crowd inspired us. We can now look forward to what should be a great final.”

After an early trade of breaks, Cilic took the measure of his opponent, who sent a backhand long to give the Croat a decisive break in the eighth game.

Cilic breezed through the second set and after he broke in the first game of the third, there was not much hope left for Gasquet.

The world number 17, however, rallied back from 2-0 down but dropped his serve in the 11th game. That left Cilic to wrap it up on his first match point.

France were without the injured Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, their two best ranked players.

(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alan Baldwin and Pritha Sarkar)


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