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Sunday Herald Sun - - Sport -

AUSTRALIA cap­tain Lley­ton He­witt has hailed the fight­ing spirit of Nick Kyr­gios after the enig­matic star’s Davis Cup vic­tory over Steve Dar­cis in Brussels.

Kyr­gios bat­tled back to keep alive his nation’s hopes of its first fi­nal ap­pear­ance in the pres­ti­gious team event in 14 years, see­ing off a de­ter­mined Dar­cis in a five-set thriller to level the tie at 1-1.

The world No.20 had to do things the hard way against the wily 33-year-old be­fore com­ing out on top 6-3 3-6 6-7 (7-5) 6-1 6-2 to si­lence a rau­cous home crowd at the Palais 12 Arena.

Kyr­gios said the vic­tory was one of the most im­por­tant of his ca­reer after John Mill­man’s spir­ited dis­play against David Gof­fin in the open­ing rub­ber proved to be in vain.

The Bel­gian world No.12 edged the Queens­lan­der out in four sets 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 6-3 7-5.

Things looked bleak for Australia after Dar­cis took the third set in a tiebreak to leave the visi­tors star­ing down the bar­rel of a 2-0 deficit ahead of the dou­bles rub­ber last night.

But He­witt used his 18 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the com­pe­ti­tion to coax his mercurial spear­head into be­liev­ing he could see off Dar­cis — the man who rel­e­gated Australia from the World Group in a play­off de­cider in Townsville in 2010.

“The big­gest thing for Nick was to stay in the mo­ment,” He­witt said.

“We had to turn the mo­men­tum around, which is what they had after win­ning the se­cond and third sets.

“I was proud of how Nick stood up early in that fourth set. He took the as­cen­dancy, broke straight away in the fourth.

“That shut up the crowd and the mo­men­tum swung back our way.

“The fifth set could have gone ei­ther way, but Nick hung tough on the big points and came up clutch and we were able to sneak away with the win.”

Gof­fin came from down to beat Mill­man.

He­witt made the con­tro­ver­sial call to omit Thanasi Kokki­nakis from his four-man team to ac­com­mo­date the 28year-old Queens­lan­der, and said he was de­lighted with his per­for­mance.

Dou­bles stars John Peers and Jor­dan Thomp­son were to face Ruben Bemel­mans and Arthur De Greef last night. a set



Nick Kyr­gios plays a trick shot against Bel­gium’s Steve Dar­cis and (inset) is em­braced by cap­tain Lley­ton He­witt after his vic­tory. Pic­tures: AP

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