Zverev Overcomes de Minaur In Thriller, Kyrgios Levels Davis Cup Tie In Brisbane
ATPWorldTour.com reviews Friday's play in Davis Cup World Group first-round ties
AUSTRALIA 1, GERMANY 1
Venue: Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, AUS (hard- outdoor)
Australia, the 28-time champion, is level at 1-1 with three-time winner Germany after the opening singles rubbers on Friday.
World No. 5 Alexander Zverev was pushed all the way by Sydney International finalist Alex de Minaur before prevailing 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) in just under four hours. The German No. 1 trailed by two sets to one and found himself down 0-3 (40-A) when serving in the decider, but found a way back into the match and secured a vital first point for the visiting nation with a final-set tie-break win. "I hope that will be the deciding point to get the win,” said Zverev. “We need three points, we've got one. We've got two more to go."
Competing in front of a passionate home crowd on his Davis Cup debut, the 18-year-old described the match as "the best four hours of my life", but expressed mixed emotions after missing the opportunity to pull off the biggest upset of his young career. “I couldn't be more devastated. I left it all out there on the court and at the moment I'm just feeling pretty bad, but overall I'm really proud of my effort,” said de Minaur.
Nick Kyrgios soon levelled proceedings in Queensland, with a solid 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Jan-Lennard Struff to end the day and take the tie into the doubles third rubber on Saturday at 1-1. Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt took time to praise Kyrgios after the match in what was a tough situation after losing the first match of the tie. “Everybody expects him to take care of these matches,” said Hewitt. “I've been in that position before and it's not an easy thing to do. What he did today and how he served was fantastic.”
German captain Michael Kohlmann was complimentary of Australia’s opening day display before looking ahead to Saturday’s action. “I think we have to admit that Alex de Minaur played a great match, he's a great kid, and I think he showed a lot of heart... and Nick (Kyrgios) today was serving too good,” assessed Kohlmann. “In the end, it's one-all, it's okay, we can live with that, and we are ready now for the doubles.”
SPAIN 1, GREAT BRITAIN 1
Venue: Club de Tenis Puente Romano, Marbella, ESP (clay - outdoor)
Spain looked set for a 2-0 lead over Great Britain in Marbella after winning the first rubber in straight sets and leading the second match by two-sets-to-love. But Cameron Norrie, competing in his first Davis Cup tie, in his first match on clay, came from two-sets-to-love down to stun Roberto Bautista Agut and end the first day at 1-1.
Five-time champion Spain, competing at home for the first time since 2013, started well to take a 1-0 advantage through Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The World No. 21 defeated Davis Cup debutant Liam Broady 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(6) in just over two and a half hours.
Ramos-Vinolas, competing in his first live rubber, was impressed by his No. 165 ranked opponent. “I think he played a great match," said Ramos-Vinolas. "He was fighting all the match... all the sets were very close.”
ASB Classic champion Bautista Agut appeared to be on the verge of doubling his nation’s advantage, winning the first two sets for the loss of just seven games. But No. 114 Norrie stormed back, recording one of the upsets of the first day to beat Bautista Agut 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 and take the tie into Saturday’s third rubber on level terms.
JAPAN 1, ITALY 1
Venue: Morioka Takaya Arena, Morioka, JPN (hard - indoor)
There were no easy wins in Morioka on Friday as Japan and Italy both won five-set rubbers to end the day at 1-1. Italy’s Fabio Fognini came from two-sets to one down, firing 56 winners, to overcome Taro Daniel 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 after nearly four hours of play.
KAZAKHSTAN 2, SWITZERLAND 0
Venue: National Tennis Centre, Astana, KAZ (hard - indoor)
Kazakhstan moved to within one match win of a 10th win in 11 home ties since 2008 after victories for Dmitry Popko and Mikhail Kukushkin in Astana. Popko upset Henri Laaksonen in the opening rubber with clinical play, converting 71 per cent of his break-point opportunities (5/7), to triumph 6-2, 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-5 in just over three hours.
Kukushkin doubled the home nation’s advantage with another four-set win at the National Tennis Centre to beat Adrian Bodmer 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. The Kazakh No. 1 won 75 per cent of points behind his first serve to move Switzerland a loss away from a fourth consecutive opening-round defeat since winning the title in 2014.