Croatia’s Borna Coric and Donna Vekic outlasted Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz and Rebeka Masarova 1-6, 6-4 (14-12) in their Hopman Cup mixed doubles rubber on Saturday to secure a 2-1 victory that earned them a spot in the final against Switzerland.
World number one Alcaraz earlier levelled the tie at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-7(6), (10-5) victory over Coric to make it two wins from as many singles matches on the clay courts of Nice, days after his Wimbledon triumph on the All England Club lawns.
The 20-year-old raced through the first set in 36 minutes, clearly having shaken off the rust from his game in the win over Belgian David Goffin a day earlier but Coric battled his way back into the match by edging a tight second set tie-break.
Alcaraz stepped up a gear in the super tie-break to close out the win in a little over two hours and set up the decider, where Croatia held their nerve in a dramatic encounter to wrap up a memorable comeback victory.
Croatia, the 1996 champions, will aim to win their second title in the competition on Sunday.
Vekic proved too strong for Masarova in the first match of the tie as the world number 22 converted four out of her seven breakpoint chances to secure a 6-2, 6-1 win that effectively ended Spain’s chances of reaching the title clash.
Holders Switzerland, represented by Leandro Riedi and Celine Naef, topped Group One, beating Denmark and event hosts France.
Against Denmark, Switzerland were trailing as Naef was beaten by Clara Tauson 2-6, 3-6 in the women’s singles.
World No. 152 Riedi then came up with a fine display to shock world No. 6 Holger Rune 6-4, 6-3 in the men’s singles contest and level the tie.
In the deciding mixed doubles, Naef and Riedi teamed up to defeat Tauson and Rune 6-3, 7-5.
Switzerland then beat France after the hosts took the lead in the tie when Alize Cornet rallied to beat Naef 1-6, 6-3, 10-8.
Riedi levelled the tie by defeating Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-3, 10-8.
The pair of Naef and Riedi then got the better of Cornet and Gasquet 6-4, 7-5 to seal Switzerland’s berth in the final.
Switzerland defended their title in the last edition of the mixed team tournament in 2019 for their fourth crown overall, as Roger Federer led them to victory over Germany in the final.
The relaunched championship returned to the tennis calendar this week after a four-year absence, having lost its spot ahead of the Australian Open as a result of the short-lived ATP Cup men’s team event.
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