Argentina dumps champion Great Britain out of Davis Cup

Leaonardo Mayer propelled Argentina into its first final since 2011 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Dan Evans to secure a 3-2 triumph over Great Britain. Argentina will face Croatia, which beat France 3-2 in the other semifinal, in the Nov. 25-27 final.

Argentina Juan Martin del Potro, Leonardo Mayer, Great Britain v Argentina

Argentina's Davis Cup team celebrates after ousting Great Britain to enter the final.   -  Getty Images

Argentina substitute Leonardo Mayer ended Great Britain's reign as Davis Cup champion with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Dan Evans to secure an enthralling 3-2 triumph in the fifth rubber of its semifinal tie on Sunday.

Mayer, who unexpectedly replaced the in-form Juan Martin del Potro for the decider, propelled the South American nation into its first final since 2011 when it lost to Spain.

Andy Murray, whose defeat by Del Potro in a five-hour thriller in the opening singles on Friday left Britain facing an uphill task, had pulled the host level at 2-2 by beating Guido Pella 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in Sunday's first reverse singles.

Del Potro's no-show in the final match had raised hopes that Britain could pull off a comeback victory after losing both of Friday's singles clashes, especially since Evans is ranked 61 places above Mayer.

However, despite the boisterous support of the home crowd, World No. 53 Evans could not prevent Argentina from reaching its fifth final in the men's team competition as it seek its first Davis Cup crown.

Argentina will face Croatia, which beat France 3-2 in the other semifinal, in the Nov. 25-27 final.

“Leo has played very good Davis Cup matches before. He has that feeling in his body and even though he is out of the top 100 that is not his level,” Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic said courtside.

“He was a little nervous in the first set but when he found his rhythm he was on top all of the time.”

While Del Potro's absence startled the crowd at Glasgow's Emirates Arena, Orsanic said he knew Mayer would play the final match after 2009 US Open champion Del Potro was a surprise inclusion in Saturday's doubles encounter, which Argentina lost.

“We had to keep it to ourselves until the last moment so Great Britain were (left guessing) a little bit but we knew from last night that Mayer would play,” Orsanic said.

“I believe it will be an honour to play another final but today we will celebrate a semi-final victory.”

Despite four previous final appearances in 1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011, Argentina has never won the team competition.



Cilic sends Croatia into final



 

Marin Cilic sent Croatia into the Davis Cup final with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory against Richard Gasquet on Sunday that gave the host a 3-2 win over France.

The World No. 11 relied on his big serve and his booming forehand to down Gasquet, who had given France the first point by beating Borna Coric on Friday.

Cilic levelled the tie on Friday when he saw off Lucas Pouille and he paired up with Ivan Dodig to give Croatia the lead with their win in the doubles against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut on Saturday.

Pouille beat Marin Draganja 6-4, 6-4 in the final match with nothing at stake.

“We played so many ties away, we had been waiting to play at home and now we just won in front of our home crowd it's amazing,” said Croatia captain Zeljko Krajan.

“Marin was our leader all the way, he won everything despite the pressure that was on his shoulders.”

“I want to thank the fans for their fantastic support, this means the world to us,” Cilic said in a courtside interview.

“It was a tough tie but this wonderful crowd inspired us. We can now look forward to what should be a great final.”

After an early trade of breaks, Cilic took the measure of his opponent, who sent a backhand long to give the Croat a decisive break in the eighth game. Cilic breezed through the second set and after he broke in the first game of the third, there was not much hope left for Gasquet.

The World No. 17, however, rallied back from 2-0 down but dropped his serve in the 11th game. That left Cilic to wrap it up on his first match point.

France was without the injured Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, its two best ranked players.