De Minaur & Kyrgios Win Deciding Doubles To Reach Semis Of The ATP Cup
Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios saved four match points to defeat Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 3-6, 6-3, 18-16 on Thursday afternoon, giving Australia a 2-1 victory against Great Britain and sending their country to the semi-finals of the inaugural ATP Cup.
After Salisbury missed a backhand return on Australia's fifth match point, the Brits challenged whether the serve landed on the service line. And once confirmed, De Minaur and Kyrgios fell onto the court in an embrace, before getting up to shake hands. Kyrgios then quickly lifted De Minaur onto his shoulders and paraded around in celebration as the Ken Rosewall Arena crowd erupted for their countrymen.
"It was unreal. The adrenaline has kind of worn off and I'm exhausted after that match. It was awesome," Kyrgios said. "Today was probably one of the best moments in my career, definitely. Just making it through to the semi-final, the first-ever ATP Cup in that type of fashion, was pretty special... we genuinely care for each other, and [our teammates] were genuinely just so ecstatic to get through."
Highlights: De Minaur/Kyrgios Clinch Tie In Dramatic Fashion
The Aussie victory completed a wild tie to open Final Eight play in Sydney. Daniel Evans beat De Minaur in the No. 1 singles match after three hours and 24 minutes, winning a final-set tie-break to level the tie and force a deciding doubles match.
Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt made a bold decision to change his doubles line-up, replacing two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion John Peers and five-time ATP Tour doubles titlist Chris Guccione, who won all three of their Group F matches, with De Minaur and Kyrgios. That switch paid dividends for Hewitt and the Aussies.
"I'm going to do anything for the team. I knew that if I was going to step out on the doubles court, then I was going to make sure that I was going to be fired up, ready to go, and full of energy," De Minaur said. "It's just amazing to see what Nick brings day after day. He's come back from an epic win against Stefanos [on Tuesday], and today he just played clinical in the singles and doubles.
"I had a match that didn't go my way, but still, I couldn't have had a more supportive person after the match and even on the doubles court. So it was great to be on the same side of the court as Nick, and hopefully there is plenty of more times."
As expected, the crowd was fully behind the Australians, roaring after nearly every point won. De Minaur and Kyrgios also leapt into chest bumps several times throughout the match, giving every ounce of physical and emotional energy they had, with Hewitt and countryman John Millman among those in the Australian Team Zone consistently taking a couple of steps out of that zone to motivate the Aussies.
Former doubles World No. 1 Murray and 2019 Nitto ATP Finals doubles qualifier Salisbury had the edge in doubles experience. But it was the Brits who succumbed under pressure, with Murray missing a backhand groundstroke on top of the net on one of Great Britain's match points.
"I missed that shot basically on top of the net, which was ridiculous," Murray said. "We hung in and we did well. We just couldn't quite get the last point. Yeah, we lost. I mean, that was it."
De Minaur and Kyrgios hit some incredible returns under pressure, hitting back-to-back backhand return winners up the line past the net man late in the Match Tie-break to set up the match point that the Aussies converted.
And while the Brits did well throughout the match to put themselves in strong positions to swat away volleys at net, the dynamic Aussies unleashed some powerful and heavy groundstrokes in key moments to make life difficult for Murray and Salisbury.
Australia will play Belgium or Spain on Saturday evening.