Cilic beats Gasquet to send Croatia into Davis Cup final

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ZADAR, Croatia (AP) Marin Cilic swatted aside Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets on Sunday to send Croatia into the Davis Cup final for only the second time.

The 2014 U.S. Open champion won 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 to give Croatia an unassailable 3-1 lead with one singles rubber left to play.

Croatia won its only final 11 years ago away to Slovakia and will play either Argentina or Britain in the final.

Cilic was Croatia’s inspiration at the Kresimir Cosic Hall in Zadar, winning both his singles and teaming up with Ivan Dodig on Saturday to stun top-ranked doubles pair Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Gasquet had beaten the big-serving Cilic in two of their three career meetings, but was no competition this time.

In the first set, Cilic broke Gasquet in the eighth game and then held to clinch the set, saving a break point at 30-40 down.

He took command in the second set, securing consecutive breaks and holding for a 5-1 lead. He then held to love putting Croatia within touching distance of the final.

Pinning Gasquet to the back of the court, Cilic broke him at the start of the third set.

Although Gasquet broke back, Cilic broke him in the 11th game for 6-5 and then clinched victory after following up a strong serve with a high volley.

Cilic is 21-9 overall in singles and 7-6 in doubles.

Borna Coric was scheduled to play Lucas Pouille in the final rubber.

Nine-time champion France played without Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who were both ruled out by knee problems.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.