Australia Davis cup The team put on a display of bravery to sweep Switzerland in a tie they had to win and reach the final. Lleyton Hewitt’s team knew they would guarantee their places in the eight-team finals if they beat the Swiss 3-0 in Saturday’s final group game in Manchester, and Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alex de Miñaur and the Max Purcell’s doubles pair. and Matt Ebden, duly obliged, with brilliant performances.
This means the Australians, who finished runners-up last year, will be able to return to Malaga in November with their sights set on improving and lifting the title for the first time in 20 years since Hewitt led them to victory as a player. .
“Who knows?” Hewitt shrugged on the AO Arena court after being asked about his chances. “Last year we gave ourselves a great opportunity and the boys enjoyed it. “We want to try to push ourselves a little bit harder and see if we can climb that mountain and I feel like I have the guys that can do it.”
Hewitt’s key decision – to keep faith in Kokkinakis – paid off when the Adelaide powerhouse, who had suffered three consecutive singles defeats in the Davis Cup, defeated Dominic Stricker 6-3, 7-5 in the first match, which turned out to be a problematic launching pad. for the captain.
Then De Minaur, the Australian number one, continued his proud record wearing the green and gold, beating Marc-Andrea Huesler, who had been preferred to veteran three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, 6-4, 6 -3 to seal the victory for Australia. second victory of the week after their 2-1 victory over France.
Then there was a sense of inevitability about the reunited ‘M&M’ pair of Ebden and Purcell winning the third straight match of their unbeaten week, as they edged out Stricker and Huesler 6-2, 6-4.
It had been a bold decision on Hewitt’s part, as Kokkinakis is ranked lower than two of his teammates, Purcell and Jordan Thompson, and had admitted he suffered from nerves earlier in the week when he lost to the British newcomer. Jack Draper after serving for the match.
“Relief, honestly, after the other day, pure relief,” Kokkinakis sighed after this key victory. “I’m not going to lie, I was fighting some demons towards the end,” he added, after Stricker made a late return to a contest that Kokkinakis had largely dominated from the start with his excellent serving, including 16 aces. and 21 forehand winners.
“If you lose, you feel like you’ve let everyone down, so it’s tough, I’m not going to lie.”
But Hewitt said his faith in Kokkinakis had never wavered. “I didn’t doubt for a second that she would come out and do the job for us today. “I had full confidence that Thanasi would make it.”
De Minaur, who has risen to No. 12 on the ATP computer, suffered a blow when world No. 101 Huesler broke him in the first game, but once he regained control by recovering in the sixth game , always looked in a different class. Racing to his ninth Davis Cup singles victory in his last 11 matches in just 73 minutes.
Ebden and Purcell have gone their separate ways this season, as Purcell has focused more on her burgeoning singles career, but they have once again looked like world champions all week, just as they did when they won Wimbledon in 2022.
Purcell, in particular, was absolutely flying against the Swiss with a pretty dazzling performance.