Croatia sealed their ticket to the Davis Cup final after Marin Cilic’s three sets victory over Richard Gasquet gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead over nine-time champions France in Zadar.
Croatia, titleholders only once in 2005, will face the winner of the other semifinal between holders Great Britain and Argentina in the November final.
Cilic bagged the all important point in the first of Sunday’s reverse singles, seeing off Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.
“When you look at the atmosphere, it’s an incredible feeling. It’s been a dream weekend for us,” said 2014 US Open winner Cilic.
“I played incredible tennis. I produced a great performance for all the crowd.”
Gasquet, 17th in the world, was drafted in after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils pulled out with knee injuries.
The 30-year-old Gasquet, initially overlooked by captain Yannick Noah after struggling with back and chest injuries, claimed the opening singles 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 against Borna Coric.
But world number 11 Cilic hit back against Lucas Pouille 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-2 to put the Croats level.
Croatia had taken command of the tie in Saturday’s doubles when Cilic and Ivan Dodig downed top-ranked French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3.
Croatia’s previous Davis Cup success came 11 years ago at the expense of Slovakia