ZADAR, Croatia — Marin Cilic swatted aside Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets on Sunday to send Croatia into the Davis Cup final for only the second time.
The 2014 U.S. Open champion won 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 to give Croatia an unassailable 3-1 lead with one singles rubber left to play. Croatia lost that one but it made no difference.
Croatia won its only final 11 years ago away to Slovakia and will play Argentina in the final.
Cilic was Croatia’s inspiration at the Kresimir Cosic Hall in Zadar, winning both his singles and teaming up with Ivan Dodig on Saturday to stun top-ranked doubles pair Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Gasquet had beaten the big-serving Cilic in two of their three career meetings, but was no competition this time.
In the first set, Cilic broke Gasquet in the eighth game and then held to clinch the set, saving a break point at 30-40 down.
He took command in the second set, securing consecutive breaks and holding for a 5-1 lead. He then held to love putting Croatia within touching distance of the final.
Pinning Gasquet to the back of the court, Cilic broke him at the start of the third set.
Although Gasquet broke back, Cilic broke him in the 11th game for 6-5 and clinched victory after following up a strong serve with a high volley.
Cilic is 21-9 overall in singles and 7-6 in doubles.
Marin Draganja replaced Borna Coric for the meaningless final rubber and lost 6-4, 6-4 to Lucas Pouille.
Nine-time champion France played without Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who were both ruled out by knee problems.