Bold gamble pays off for Australia in Davis Cup

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For the first time since 1939, Australia has come back from a 2-0 deficit to record a stunning victory over Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup quarter-finals. Hewitt, now ranked 279 in the world wasn’t initially slated to take part in the singles, but when things seemed dire, Wally Masur had no choice but to turn to the aging veteran. And he repaid his faith with a straight sets victory over Nedovyesov. It was no doubt a risky decision to substitute Hewitt, someone who had only won one match on tour this year. Sam Groth’s appearance was expected, having reached a career high No. 66 this year following a fruitful grass court season.

Luckily for Masur, the move paid off and Australia is through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2006. The real losers here are the “Special Ks” who were initially entrusted with singles duty but had that quickly taken away from them with poor attitude and a failure to adapt to the quicker grass courts. Great Britain now looms as their next opponent who of course has current World No. 3 Andy Murray. There is no doubt in my mind that that tie to be played in September is certainly winnable for Australia with James Ward and their doubles combination as their weak link.

But first, Tennis Australia must reconcile with Bernard Tomic and fast. His absence was felt in this tie, and it wouldn’t have gone down to the wire if he wasn’t banned. His Davis Cup record speaks for itself, with 14 wins and just two losses. Nick Kyrgios is also a concern, with controversy plaguing him and mentally he doesn’t seem there. His match against Nedovyesov was below par and his downfall was mainly because he couldn’t find the breakthrough at the latter moments of each set. Kokkinakis endured a similar experience, unable to find his rhythm and range against an experienced player in Kukushkin.

Fortunately for Hewitt and Australia, life goes on as they seek a first Davis Cup title since 2003.

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