Cilic, Coric Give Croatia Flying Start in Davis Cup Semifinal

Cilic, Coric Give Croatia Flying Start in Davis Cup SemifinalCilic, Coric Give Croatia Flying Start in Davis Cup Semifinal

Marin Cilic gave Croatia a stranglehold over the US as he beat Frances Tiafoe 6-1 6-3 7-6(5) to put the hosts 2-0 ahead in their Davis Cup semifinal in Zadar, Croatia, on Friday.

Cilic overwhelmed the American youngster in the opening two sets but was made to work harder in the third as Tiafoe finally shook off his debut nerves, Reuters reported.

The match was umpired by Portugal’s Carlos Ramos - the official accused of sexism by American Serena Williams after docking her a game during a tumultuous US Open final.

Thankfully for Ramos this match was a more tranquil affair, apart from the noisy Croatian crowd cheering on their man.

Cilic’s victory made him Croatia’s most successful Davis Cup player, moving him past the 36 rubbers won by Ivan Ljubicic.

Earlier Borna Coric gave Croatia a flying start by defeating Steve Johnson 6-4 7-6(4) 6-3 in the opening rubber.

The 21-year-old Coric had lost his only previous encounter with the US number three at Roland Garros but on Zadar’s clay courts drew first blood for the hosts against Johnson, who was leading his country in the absence of John Isner and Jack Sock.

Coric’s emphatic win just underlined why the Croats, who had won all their four previous ties with the Davis Cup’s most successful nation, were overwhelming favorites to repeat the dose and reach the final of the last Davis Cup to be played in its traditional historic format before next year’s revamp.

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