Aussies get chance

Dou­bles vic­tory puts team in box seat for Davis Cup fi­nals charge

NT News - - TENNIS - IAN McCUL­LOUGH

JOHN Peers and Jor­dan Thomp­son’s straight sets dou­bles win on Satur­day gave Aus­tralia a 2-1 Davis Cup lead over Bel­gium in Brus­sels and put Aus­tralia on the brink of a first fi­nal in 14 years.

Vic­tory for ei­ther Nick Kyrgios or John Mill­man overnight would set up a home de­cider in Novem­ber against ei­ther Ser­bia or France.

Two-time Grand Slam cham­pi­ons Ni­co­las Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Her­bert beat Filip Kra­ji­novic and Ne­nad Zi­mon­jic 6-1 6-2 7-6 (7-3) in Lille on Satur­day to give France a 2-1 lead over Ser­bia.

Should Kyrgios lose against David Gof­fin, all at­ten­tions will switch to John Mill­man to get his coun­try over the line against world No. 77 Steve Dar­cis – who beat Carsten Ball in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion seven years ago in a World Group play­off in Cairns.

“They are two qual­ity play­ers go­ing head-to-head in what will be a tough bat­tle for their coun­try,” He­witt said.

World No. 20 Kyrgios said he was look­ing for­ward to fac­ing Gof­fin and be­lieves he is serv­ing as well as he has all year af­ter hurl­ing down 34 aces against Dar­cis in Fri­day’s fiveset suc­cess.

“It’s go­ing to be tough, but he’s got to make some ad­just­ments,” Kyrgios said.

“He’s never beaten me be­fore. He doesn’t know what that feels like.

“I am go­ing to have that at the back of my mind. I am serv­ing well and that is the best part of my game.

“But at the same time it’s a dif­fer­ent match. David hardly hits any slices but it’s all about match-ups and I feel con­fi­dent.”

He­witt con­firmed Mill­man will def­i­nitely play in the sec­ond rub­ber, de­spite a sap­ping 3½-hour en­counter against Gof­fin on the open­ing day.

The cap­tain has the op­tion of switch­ing play­ers in the squad, but said it was un­likely he’ll look to Thomp­son who has only spent 90 min­utes on court.

“John played pretty well yes­ter­day, he did a lot of things right,” he said. “The boys did a lot of hard work last week and will be pretty happy with their bod­ies.”

He­witt was part of the sides that lost to Bel­gium in both 2007 and 2010 but said there are no lin­ger­ing me­mories of Dar­cis’ mem­o­rable win for his coun­try seven years ago.

The former world No. 1 was full of praise for Thomp­son and Peers who dom­i­nated their match against Ruben Bemel­mans and Arthur de Greef to win 6-4 6-3 6-0.

Pic­ture: AP PHOTO/GEERT VANDEN WIJNGAERT

Aus­tralia's coach Lley­ton He­witt, cen­tre, cheers as play­ers John Peers, left, and Jor­dan Thomp­son re­act af­ter vic­tory in a Davis Cup World Group semi-fi­nal dou­bles ten­nis match against Bel­gium in Brus­sels on Satur­day

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