France, Croatia reach Davis Cup semis, Nadal keeps Spain alive

France, Croatia reach Davis Cup semis, Nadal keeps Spain alive

France, Croatia reach Davis Cup semis, Nadal keeps Spain alive

Croatia's Cilic breezed past Dmitry Popko 6-2 6-1 6-2 to give the hosts the lead against Kazakhstan but the visitors hit back after Mikhail Kukushkin overpowered Borna Coric 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-4 6-2. "I had a tough first set but I kept trying and was playing better and better and it was a great effort to come back and win this one", said Pouille. "Took us a while to really dig our teeth into the match and that second set tiebreaker was crucial for us".

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.

Rafael Nadal will return to action in the Davis Cup.

"Of course, it's a positive thing to win in straight sets", said Nadal, 31, who has not lost a singles match in the Davis Cup since his 2004 debut and in doubles since 2005.

The world number one's 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win in Valencia drew the tie level at 2-2, before veteran David Ferrer battled to a marathon 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-5 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber to finish the job.

The 36-year-old David Ferrer has never lost a singles Davis Cup match on clay prior to this weekend and his wonderful run had to be finished on 16 wins as Alexander Zverev toppled him in Friday's rubber to score a very important win for Germany against the heavy favorites.

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Spain squandered five break points in the eighth game of the decider and they ultimately paid the price when Marc Lopez, drafted in to replace an injured Pablo Carreno Busta, was broken three games later.

On Saturday, France's Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert will face Fognini and Simone Bolelli in the doubles.

John Isner, fresh from his triumph in Miami, will line up for the United States at home to Belgium while Croatia, with Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic in their ranks, face Kazakhstan in Varazdin.

On Sunday, world number four Alexander Zverev could secure Germany's spot in the semi-finals if he can snap Nadal's record 23-match winning streak in the men's team competition.

Holder France was tied 1-1 with Italy in Genoa, and 2005 victor Croatia was also deadlocked against visitor Kazakhstan after a day of thrilling action on indoor red clay in Varazdin.

German Zverev, also a top five player, earned a comfortable victory over Valencia-native Davis Ferrer in the opening rubber.

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