Davis Cup: France, Croatia reach semi-finals, Nadal keeps Spain alive


Rafael Nadal

Holders France reached the Davis Cup semi-finals for a third year in a row after Lucas Pouille came back to beat Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-1 7-6(3) 6-3 in Genoa on Sunday.

The French clinched their tie with Italy 3-1 as Croatia also made it into the last four.

Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic crushed Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1 6-1 6-1 to seal their tie 3-1.

Croatia will meet the U.S. in the semi-finals in September following Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison’s doubles win.

The pair beat Belgium’s Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen on Saturday to give the U.S. a 3-0 win.

World number one Rafael Nadal continued his impressive return from injury by dispatching fourth-ranked Alexander Zverev of Germany in straight sets 6-1 6-4 6-4.

His performance keeps Spain’s hopes of staying in the competition alive and forcing a fifth rubber between David Ferrer and German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Ferrer and Kohlschreiber’s match was locked at one set each at the Plaza de Toros in Valencia on Sunday, which will determine who meets France in the other last four tie.

Italian Fognini missed two chances to take the third set against Pouille, failing to serve out at 5-4 and then spurning a break point in the 11th game.

It nevertheless prompted him to smash his racket in frustration.

French number one Pouille overpowered Fognini in the tie-break and then comfortably took the fourth set.

“I am very proud of the team and I am really relieved because the last match was so close,” France captain Yannick Noah told the competition’s official website.

“It came down to a few points in the third set. I think we have been a little lucky but it’s part of the process and we enjoy our luck.”

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