After the first-day debacle of losing both singles matches against Kazakhstan, Australian doubles team of Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt defeated the Kazakh pair of Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov and kept their Davis Cup semifinal dreams alive. In a must-win situation brought about by Friday’s two games, Australia pulled one back but they need to win both reverse singles on Sunday to reach the World Group semifinals. Veteran Lleyton Hewitt combined well with the 27-year old Sam Groth but the pair faced trouble in the second set that went to the tiebreak. In the end, they came through with a straight sets victory and with that the Australian hopes were rekindled. On Sunday, Nick Kyrgios plays Mikhail Kukushkin and Thanasi Kokkinakis is scheduled to take on Nedovyesov.
In Davis Cup history, Australia faced a similar situation of losing both singles on the first day. It happened in their final against USA in 1939, when they were miraculously rescued by the all-time great players John Bromwich and Adrian Quist. Now they have been given a new lease of life by veteran and former world no.1 Lleyton Hewitt, who combined with Sam Groth in Saturday’s doubles rubber. After Australia lost both singles matches on Friday, everything depended on Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt. The loss would have meant an exit gate from the competition. But Groth and Hewitt didn’t disappoint. The explosive first set began with three breaks in the first six games and a combined number of 12 break points in the entire set. But Groth/Hewitt held their nerves to go ahead 4-2. While Groth could make an impact with his big serves, Hewitt retrieved some impossible looking shots to make the difference as Australia wound up the first set 6-4.
The second set was a roller-coaster ride. Both sides staved off break points and the set progressed to 4-4. Then Kazakhstan looked like seizing the momentum as Nedovyesov reached 40-0 on serve but Groth/Hewitt pulled off some great play and riding on Kazakhstan’s mistakes broke Nedovyesov’s service. More drama was in store as Kazakhstan broke right back and led 6-5 before the service hold from Australia pushed the set into tiebreak. Australia obtained a couple of minibreaks but the Kazakhs nullified them. Then Hewitt showed his vast experience to block a tricky return back into play and Groth complimented him with some expert net-play. This helped Australia to another minibreak and they didn’t falter in winning the tiebreak.
The third set and therefore the match then belonged to Australia. The only hiccup was a Golubev backhand winner that delayed a break of serve in the second game. Once that was done, Groth/Hewitt broke again in the eighth game and finished the match with a polished 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 victory.
Now Kazakhstan want one singles win on Sunday, while Australians have come up with must-win situation in both their matches on the last day. Nick Kyrgios will have to give up his attitude and tantrums and Thanasi Kokkinakis needs to excel in his match against someone, who is placed lower than him in the ATP rankings.
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