Davis Cup: Carlos Ramos umpires first match since Serena Williams row

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Carlos Ramos returned to the umpire’s chair for the first time since being called a “thief” by Serena Williams, overseeing a Davis Cup match on Friday.

He was in charge as Marin Cilic became Croatia’s most successful Davis Cup player, giving his country a 2-0 lead over the USA in the World Group semis.

Happily for Portugal’s Ramos, there were no controversies as Cilic beat Frances Tiafoe 6-1 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Borna Coric won the opening singles 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 against Steven Johnson.

It means Croatia are firmly in charge of the best-of-five-match tie in Zadar going into Saturday’s doubles and Sunday’s reverse singles matches.

World number six Cilic’s victory over world number 40 Tiafoe took him past the 36 Davis Cup rubbers won by Ivan Ljubicic.

Former US Open champion Cilic broke twice in the first set and three times in the second before the young American, making his Davis Cup debut, pushed him harder in the third.

All eyes had been on Ramos, who docked Williams a game for verbal abuse – having already given her a point penalty for smashing her racquet and a code violation for coaching – in her US Open final defeat by Naomi Osaka on Saturday.

The series of incidents had led to some of the most remarkable scenes in a Grand Slam final as Williams accused Ramos of being a “liar” and a “thief”.

Elsewhere, France‘s Benoit Paire beat Spain‘s Pablo Carreno-Busta 7-5 6-1 6-0 to help his country to a 2-0 lead.

Paire, who was also making his Davis Cup debut, outplayed the injured Spaniard.

“In my head, sometimes I could become crazy and the team couldn’t be confident to call me into the team,” Paire had said before his match. “But now I feel good, I feel fresh and confident.”

Compatriot Lucas Pouille prevailed in a five-set battle with Roberto Bautista Agut after losing the first set in Lille.

The world number 19 eventually won 3-6 7-5 (7-5) 6-4 2-6 6-4.

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BBC Sport – Tennis

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