Coric downs Kokkinakis to give Croatia 1-0 lead in Davis Cup semis

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Borna Coric put 2018 champions Croatia on course for a second straight Davis Cup final appearance with a comfortable 6-4 6-3 semi-final victory over Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in Malaga, Spain. Spain on Friday for a 1-0 lead.

Croatia, who were beaten by the Russian Tennis Federation in the title clash in 2021, can now secure a meeting with Italy or Canada in Sunday’s final if the former champion US Open Marin Cilic passes Alex De Minaur in the second singles match.

Australia are trying to reach their first final since 2003 – when they won their 28th title – and captain Lleyton Hewitt has selected Kokkinakis for the opening match in place of Jordan Thompson, who played against the Netherlands. Bottom in quarters.

But despite an encouraging start, the 26-year-old came undone towards the end of a tight first set as Coric took a 5-4 lead and seized the set’s only break to take the lead early on. of the competition.

Coric, who beat Kokkinakis in their only previous meeting in Tokyo this year, raised his level in the following set and took a 4-2 lead after which he never looked back as the double champions took the lead.

De Minaur will be aiming for Australia to avoid falling into the semi-finals again, with the team losing at this stage in 2006, 2015 and 2017 previously.

But a win will mean teammates Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell will face Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in a rematch of their doubles final at Wimbledon this year, where the Australian pair emerged triumphant in five sets.

Italy and Canada will play the second semi-final on Saturday.

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