Cilic stars as Croatia reach Davis Cup semi-finals

Marin Cilic thrashed Mikhail Kukushkin to send Croatia into the Davis Cup semi-finals

Varazdin (Croatia) (AFP) – Croatia set up a Davis Cup semi-final meeting with the United States after world number three Marin Cilic thrashed Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin in Varazdin on Sunday.

Cilic’s 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory gave 2005 champions Croatia an unassailable 3-1 lead in the quarter-final tie.

Croatia will host the US in September.

“From the beginning till the end I played on a rather high level … constant pressure, superior, aggressive,” former US Open champion Cilic said.

“I had maybe a few matches in the Davis Cup that were ‘one way’ … but not really against a player of this level since Kukushkin is within (the) world top 100.”

Ahead of the quarter-final, the 29-year-old said that he would stop playing in the Davis Cup if Croatia win the trophy this season.

Cilic had already beaten Dmitry Popko on Friday 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.

On Saturday, Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic saw off the Kazakh pair of Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov, after Kukushkin had stunned world number 28 Borna Coric in Friday’s second singles match.