Malaga, Spain, 26 November 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Australia has qualified for the Davis Cup final for the first time in 19 years.

The Australian team booked its place in the 2022 final with a thrilling 2-1 semifinal victory against Croatia in Malaga today.

Alex de Minaur played a starring role for Australia, scoring a comprehensive singles win against world No.17 Marin Cilic.

Jordan Thompson then teamed with Max Purcell to upset one of the world’s best teams in a gripping deciding doubles match.

This propels Australia into a 48th Davis Cup final – and first since 2003’s title-winning effort.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team,” said Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt.

“We knew we were the underdogs coming into this today and we like being in that position. It’s a place I really enjoyed as a player and also as a captain.”

> READ MORE: Proud Hewitt reflects on reaching final

Borna Coric got Croatia off to a flying start with a 6-4 6-3 win against Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in the opening singles rubber.

Although Kokkinakis fired 11 aces in the 92-minute encounter, world No.26 Coric proved to have too much firepower off the ground, striking 18 winners to 11.

“He was too good today. I’ve got to get a bit better,” Kokkinakis conceded.

“He obviously served very well. And then on my serve, I felt like it was an ace or he was putting it back on my toes.”

De Minaur kept Australian hopes alive with a commanding 6-2 6-2 victory against Cilic in the second singles rubber.

“I went out there to accomplish a mission, and I played some great tennis and gave my team and my country a fighting chance,” said De Minaur.

“I know Marin. He’s a hell of a competitor, a veteran player of our sport that has accomplished amazing things. I knew what to expect, so I knew it was never going to be easy. I knew I had to bring all the intensity I could, be as solid as I could.”

It is 23-year-old De Minaur’s first hard-court victory, in three attempts, against the US Open 2014 champion. And by recording his third top-20 win in the Davis Cup competition, De Minaur improves his singles record in the prestigious teams event to 11 wins from his past 12 matches.

A deciding doubles rubber was needed, pitting Aussie combination Purcell and Thompson against Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

Thompson was a late replacement for Matt Ebden, Purcell’s regular partner, who is carrying an ankle injury.

Teaming up for the first time and under extreme pressure, the Aussies recorded a stirring 6-7(3) 7-5 6-4 win against world No.8 Mektic and world No.5 Pavic.

“To put us in the final, that feeling, I can’t describe it,” said Thompson.

The Croatian pair have been one of the world’s best teams in the past two years. They have won 14 tour-level titles together, including victory at Wimbledon 2021 and claiming an Olympic gold medal at Tokyo last year. Mektic and Pavic were also finalists at last week’s ATP Finals.

Australia is now set to face either Italy or Canada in the final, with their semifinal showdown scheduled for later today.

The 2022 Davis Cup final then takes place in Malaga on Sunday (from 11pm AEDT). The final will be broadcast live in Australia on the Nine Network.

Aussies in action – Davis Cup Finals

Borna Coric (CRO) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-4 6-3
Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-2 6-2
Max Purcell/Jordan Thompson (AUS) d Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic (CRO) 6-7(3) 7-5 6-4

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