Spain’s clash with Croatia at the Davis Cup finals was brought to a concerning halt on Wednesday when two protesters stormed the court and had to be apprehended. Borna Coric had just beaten Roberto Bautista Agut in the first match of the quarter-final tie in Malaga when a man and woman invaded the court.
According to reports the two protesters tried to tie themselves to the net. Security guards immediately rushed into action and dragged them off the court.
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Five members of security tackled the man and woman and prevented them from going any further with their protest, as stunned spectators looked on in astonishment. The two members of the crowd were put in handcuffs and taken away.
Despite the quick actions of officials, many were left wondering about the level of security at the event. Some took to social media to question how the pair were able to run onto the court so easily.
It was the third instance of protesters gaining access to the court at a major tennis event this year. Similar incidents occurred at the Australian Open in January and Laver Cup in September.
There were disturbing scenes at the Laver Cup in London when a spectator ran on court and set fire to the playing surface. However he appeared to inadvertently light his arm on fire as well, crying out in shock before dousing the flames.
Australia to face Croatia in Davis Cup semi-finals
Two-times champions Croatia reached the tournament’s final four for the sixth time with a 2-0 win over hosts Spain, taking advantage of the absence of Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. Croatia will now face Australia in the semi-finals.
Marin Cilic rallied to clinch the winning point for Croatia with a 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory over Pablo Carreno Busta. Coric had earlier given his side the lead with a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win over Bautista Agut.
With Carreno Busta up 5-4 in the third set tiebreaker and two points away from forcing a deciding doubles rubber, Cilic fired down an ace to draw level and then coolly went on to seal the win in three hours and 13 minutes. Croatia, who finished runner-up to Russia in last year’s Davis Cup final, will now play Australia on Friday in Malaga (2am Saturday AEDT).
On Tuesday, Jordan Thompson and Alex de Minaur both produced comeback victories to earn Australia a 2-0 win over the Netherlands to secure their spot in the last four for the first time in five years.
“It was an incredible battle,” said Cilic on Wednesday. However, he admitted that the absence of US Open champion Alcaraz and 22-time grand slam champion Nadal played into the hands of Croatia – who had lost all of their three previous Davis Cup meetings with Spain.
“It would be much different. Rafa has been during all his career a leader of the team. He’s one of the best Davis Cup players ever,” Cilic added. “Carlos, fantastic season for him. Such a pity for him to get injured.”
Spain captain Sergi Bruguera lamented his team’s exit. “I think luck had a little bit of influence, and Cilic had a little bit more today,” he insisted.
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