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In brief: Croatia rallies to stun U.S. in Davis Cup

Lucas Pouille helps France defeat the Czech Republic to reach Davis Cup semifinals. (Associated Press)
Lucas Pouille helps France defeat the Czech Republic to reach Davis Cup semifinals. (Associated Press)
From staff and wire reports

TENNIS: The odds stacked against his underdog side, Croatian captain Zeljko Krajan was brimming with confidence on Sunday morning before the reverse singles match in the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against United States.

Marin Cilic and Borna Coric backed up their captain’s belief in a stirring rally, winning matches to give Croatia a 3-2 comeback victory at the Tualatin Hills hard courts in Portland, Oregon.

Cilic got in started, beating John Isner 7-6 (11-9), 6-3, 6-4. Coric then topped Jack Sock 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The U.S. lost for the fourth time in 161 tries when leading 2-0 lead in a Davis Cup tie.

After the United States swept the singles matches on Friday, Cilic and Ivan Dodig kept Croatia alive on Saturday with a four-set victory over twins Bob and Mike Bryan in doubles.

“It’s really unbelievable,” Krajan said. “I would say shocked from this win. Looking back on Friday and being 2-love down and then playing against the Bryans yesterday, it didn’t look very positive for us.”

Croatia will host France – a 3-1 winner at the Czech Republic – in the World Group semifinals Sept. 16-18. Croatia reached the semifinals for the first time since 2009. It won its only Davis Cup title in 2005.

In the other semifinal, defending champion Britain will host Argentina.

Cilic set the tone for the comeback against Isner, a decision that was closer than the score indicated. Cilic won a marathon tiebreaker in the opening set.

U.S. captain Jim Courier disagreed that momentum swayed in Croatia’s favor after Cilic pulled out the first set.

“That’s not the way we look at it. First sets can be critical … these matches are won on small margins. There are a couple points that go our way, and we’re sitting here with a smile on our face instead of a little disappointment,” Courier said.

Historic win for Karlovic: Second-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia won the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, beating third-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (12) in the longest deciding tiebreaker in the Open Era.

Halep wins in Romania: Top-seeded Simona Halep didn’t lose a game on the way to her second Bucharest Open title, smashing seventh-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-0, 6-0.

Spaniard captures Swedish title: Third-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his first career title after beating fifth-seeded Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4 in an all-Spanish final at the Swedish Open in Bastad.

Dream end Sparks’ chase for history

WNBA: The Los Angeles Sparks fell short of the fastest start in WNBA history when they lost at the Atlanta Dream, 91-74.

Los Angeles (20-2) had tied the 1998 Houston Comets, who finished the regular season 27-3, for the fastest start. The loss also snapped the Sparks’ WNBA record nine-game road winning streak to open a season.

Lynx clip Wings: Seimone Augustus hit a fade-away jumper in the paint with 15.3 seconds left in overtime and Minnesota won at Dallas 98-97.

Maya Moore had 20 points and six assists, Sylvia Fowles added 14 points and 19 rebounds and Rebekkah Brunson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Lynx (19-4).

Ko outlasts pair in Marathon playoff

GOLF: Lydia Ko outlasted Ariya Jutanugarn and Mirim Lee to win the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio, for her fourth LPGA Tour victory of the year.

The top-ranked Ko made a 10-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole after Jutanugarn and Lee ran into trouble.

Also the 2014 winner, Ko closed with a 2-under 69 at Highland Meadows to match Jutanugarn and Lee at 14-under.

The 19-year-old New Zealander has 14 LPGA Tour titles. She’s 4-1 in playoffs, with the loss coming to Brooke Henderson this year in the KPMG Women’s PGA.

Baddeley wins in playoff: Aaron Baddeley made a 24-foot putt on the fourth hole of a playoff with Si Woo Kim to win the Barbasol Championship at Grand National in Opelika, Alabama.

Baddeley finished with a 5-under 66 to match Kim at 18-under 266. Kim shot a 63, closing with a bogey.

Killorn gets big deal from Lightning

MISCELLANY: The Tampa Bay Lightning avoided arbitration with forward Alex Killorn, agreeing to terms on a $31.15 million, seven-year contract.

Killorn has 53 goals and 138 points in 272 games.

Clippers cut Dawson: The Los Angeles Clippers have waived forward Branden Dawson, who played sparingly for them as a rookie last season.

The former Michigan State standout became expendable after its reported acquisition of veteran power forward Brandon Bass, which the team has yet to officially announce.

Marquez again: Marc Marquez took a bet on tires and won his seventh straight MotoGP German Grand Prix in Sachsenring, Germany.

The championship leader, who rides for Honda, started from pole but struggled early, going off on Turn 8. Rain hit the track and it started as a wet race. But the surface started drying and Marquez went to the pits to switch to slicks on the 17th of 30 laps.

Marquez then blazed to the lead with six laps remaining.

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