ZADAR, Croatia: World number 11 Marin Cilic beat talented youngster Lucas Pouille in four sets to level the Davis Cup World Group semi-final tie between Croatia and France at 1-1 on Friday.
Cilic won 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-2 in Zadar to haul Croatia level after Richard Gasquet had given France the advantage by beating rising star Borna Coric in the opening rubber.
Pouille, a quarter-finalist at the recent US Open, was playing in just his second Davis Cup match and Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, made his experience pay after recovering from a wobble in the third set.
Late call-up Gasquet beat Coric 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 earlier in the day.
Gasquet, 30, was drafted in after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils pulled out with knee injuries and the world number 17 made the most of the opportunity against the 19-year-old Coric on Zadar´s indoor hard courts.
“To win in three sets was perfect. I made some slightly stupid errors because I hadn´t played in such a long time,” said Gasquet.
“I knew it was vital (to win) because Lucas was not the favourite against Cilic.”
Gasquet looked initially set to miss out because of his own struggle with back and chest injuries over the summer, and even lost in the first round of the US Open to Britain´s Kyle Edmund.
Cilic is expected to team up with Ivan Dodig in Saturday´s crucial doubles against French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Cilic hits back for Croatia against France in Davis Cup
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