Protest: Security staff detain environmental activists during the quarter-final between Croatia and Spain

Málaga (Spain) (AFP) - Croatia edged ahead of six-time champions Spain in the Davis Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday as protesters rushed onto the court in a foiled effort to disrupt the tournament.

With world-leading duo Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal missing out for Spain, Borna Coric took full advantage to claim the first rubber, defeating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 7-6 (74).

Coric, the world number 26, fired 14 aces past his 21st-ranked rival who he had already defeated on his way to the Cincinnati Masters title in the summer.

Play was briefly halted when two environmental protesters dashed onto the court and attempted to tie themselves to the net before being wrestled to the floor and ejected from the arena by security staff.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic can seal the tie later Wednesday for the 2005 and 2018 champions.

World number 17 Cilic tackles 13th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta where victory will ensure a semi-final clash for the 2021 runners-up against Australia.

On Thursday, 32-time Davis Cup champions United States face Italy in the quarter-finals while Germany take on Canada.