Spain paid the price for the absences of Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, with the host nation crashing out of the Davis Cup quarter-finals a 2-0 victim of unfancied Croatia.

The 2018 champion Croats are into the final four of the team event for a sixth time thanks to wins from Borna Coric and Marin Cilic.

Coric, winner of the summer Cincinnati title, defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 7-6(4), while 2014 US Open winner Cilic finished the job after more than three hours, defeating Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

“I was serving very, very well,” Coric said. “I didn’t serve this well since probably Cincinnati.

“It’s much easier to play like that. I can relax more on the service games when he’s serving, because I know most likely I will hold my serve.

“That made a difference. I was also playing very smart. When I needed to attack, I did attack. When I needed to make a defence, I was defensive. I also mixed up the rhythm, as well, which is very important against him. I was just very pleased with my game, to be honest.”

Cilic made a ragged start in the second rubber with seven double-faults in the opening set before settling into his role as winner of more than 40 Davis matches.

The veteran rallied from 1-4 down in the final set tiebreaker, winning six of hte last seven points to send his nation into the final four.

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