Davis Cup places Australia, Spain and France in final
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Paris (AFP)- Australian Open doubles champion Thanasi Kokkinakis won a decisive singles match to propel 28-time winners Australia to the next Davis Cup stage on Saturday, where they were joined by other multiple champions, Spain and France.
Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt went into matchday two tied 1-1 with Hungary and were fighting an uphill battle after Fabian Marozsan and Mate Valkusz upset John Peers and Luke Saville to clinch the doubles 6-4, 6-4 .
That left world No. 30 Alex de Minaur having to win against No. 35-ranked Marton Fucsovics to keep the clash alive – and backed by a rowdy crowd at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena, he battled it out 7-6 ( 7/4), 6-4 .
Kokkinakis last played in the Davis Cup seven years ago but was recalled after winning a maiden ATP singles title in Adelaide this year and then winning the Australian Open doubles crown with Nick Kyrgios .
With the tie on the line, he rewarded skipper Hewitt’s faith with a gutsy 6-4, 6-4 victory over young Hungarian number two Zsombor Piros.
“Thank you Lleyton for trusting me, it’s been a long time since I played and playing a fifth home game was amazing,” he said.
Spain and France win
Six-time champions Spain, playing without Rafael Nadal, qualified after world number 15 Roberto Bautista Agut gave his side an unassailable 3-1 lead over Romania with a 6-2, 6- 3 on Marius Copil.
After losing their first two singles matches on Friday, Romania kept hope alive by winning the doubles, with Copil and Horia Tecau beating Alejandro Davidovich and Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 in Marbella.
But world number 261 Copil was unable to overcome the impressive Bautista Agut, who only faced two break points in the match and closed after an hour and 28 minutes to put the ‘Spain.
Carlos Alcaraz was therefore spared his second singles match against Gabi Adrian Boitan. The 18-year-old marked his Davis Cup debut with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Copil on Friday.
France, 10-time Davis Cup champions, were also calm as Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo 6-3, 7-5 in Pau for a 3-0 win over Ecuador.
Argentina, champions in 2016, won 3-0 against the Czech Republic on three occasions in Buenos Aires when Horacio Zeballos and Maximo Gonzalez beat rookies Jiri Lehecka and Thomas Machac 6-4, 6-4.
The Netherlands exploited the weaknesses of a starved Canadian side of top 15 stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov to claim victory, secured by Robin Haase who claimed the 32nd Davis Cup singles victory of his career thanks to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Steven Diez.
In Seoul, 65th-placed Kwon Soon-woo led South Korea to the line with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 win over 143rd-placed Dennis Novak of Austria.
They also entered day two tied 1-1, with Nam Ji-sung linking up with Song Min-kyu to outlast Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler 6-4, 6-3 in doubles to give Kwon the platform. shape he needed to complete.
The twelve Davis Cup qualifiers are all decided on Saturday, with the winners advancing to the final, the first leg of which will be played at a venue yet to be determined in September with 16 teams involved.
Croatia, Great Britain and Serbia have already moved on, with Davis Cup chiefs set to decide next week who will replace defending champions Russia after they were sacked following the invasion of Ukraine.
Those 16 will be reduced to eight for the quarter-finals in November.
© 2022 AFP