AUSTRALIA advanced to the Davis Cup semi-finals after Nick Kyrgios beat late substitute Sam Querrey of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4 in the first reverse singles match on Sunday, clinching the quarterfinal 3-1 in Brisbane with a match to spare.
The often-volatile Kyrgios was mostly at his best behaviour and won both his singles matches in straight sets, although the final two sets against John Isner on Friday were in close tiebreakers, 7-5 each time, after Kyrgios prevailed in the opening set 7-5.
“I haven’t been going back to the hotel hating the game or trying to just get through every day,” Kyrgios said. “I’m trying to get better every day, and it’s a massive difference. I just feel like I’m becoming a bit more of a professional.”
Isner beat substitute Groth 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the meaningless second reverse singles, in a match reduced to best-of-three, to make the final score line 3-2.
“It was a tough third set there, I was down a break and obviously a lot of emotions, I was close to the finish line,” Kyrgios said of his Sunday match.
“There were a lot of ebbs and flows, and I knew I hit a bit of a flat patch at the start of the third set.
“But with Lleyton on the side telling me to compete for every point, and obviously the crowd, it’s easy to get up out here.”
Tennis: Australia defeat USA 3-1 and Davis Cup captain Leyton Hewitt managed to steal the show at Pat Rafter Arena and tug at the patriotic heart strings in his post-match interview.
On a hard court at Pat Rafter Arena, Kyrgios and his singles partner Jordan Thompson gave Australia a 2-0 lead on Friday before the Americans staved off elimination on Saturday when Jack Sock, who lost to Thompson on Friday, and partner Steve Johnson beat Sam Groth and John Peers 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
Querrey was supposed to be Johnson’s doubles partner, but American captain Jim Courier, who said it would take “monstrous effort” for the Americans to win the tie, pulled a swap, putting Sock into doubles and allowing Querrey to be fresh for Kyrgios.
That worked for a while Sunday during an evenly-played first set, but Kyrgios gradually overpowered the American with his strong serves and backhand. Querrey broke Kyrgios’ serve in the fourth game of the third set, and held to lead 4-1. But Kyrgios stepped it up a notch and won the last five games of the match, jumping up and hugging Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt and his teammates when the match ended.
Australia will play either Belgium or Italy in September’s semi-finals, with Belgium leading that quarterfinal 2-1 ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles. If Belgium wins, they will host the semi-final, if Italy comes back to claim victory, they will have to travel Down Under.
The U.S. has won the title a leading 32 times, with Australia second with 28. But the U.S. hasn’t won the Davis Cup since 2007, and Australia not since 2003, which was when they last made the semi-finals.
Friday (opening singles)
Jordan Thompson (Aus) def. Jack Sock (USA) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (Aus) def. John Isner (USA) 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5)
Steve Johnson/Jack Sock (USA) def. Sam Groth/John Peers (Aus) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
Sunday (reverse singles)
Nick Kyrgios (Aus) def. Sam Querrey (USA) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4
John Isner (USA) def. Sam Groth (Aus) 7-6, 6-3
Re-live the action in the blog below!
Originally published as Kyrgios credits Hewitt for Davis Cup triumph