Australia and France on collision course to decide title
Australia edged closer to a first Davis Cup final in 14 years yesterday when Jordan Thompson and John Peers swept past Arthur De Greef and Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 for a 2-1 lead in their semifinal against Belgium.
Australia, the 28-time champions, look likely to face nine-time winners France, who are 2-1 up on Serbia thanks to Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert clinching a 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) win over Nenad Zimonjic and Filip Krajinovic.
Lleyton Hewitt’s Australia last won the Davis Cup in 2003 when they beat Spain in the final.
“We had a job to do today and we came out and did it from start to finish. Playing with Thommo and in front of this crowd and perform the way we did is just incredible,” said Peers after yesterday’s win in Brussels.
Nick Kyrgios can wrap up the tie for Australia today when he takes on fellow national number one David Goffin in the first of the reverse singles.
Kyrgios defeated Steve Darcis 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2 on Friday, while Goffin saw off John Millman 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.
In Lille, Mahut and Herbert needed less than two hours to see off Serbia’s 41-year-old playing captain Zimonjic, and Krajinovic.
That Yannick Noah’s hosts have yet to book their place in the final is down to Dusan Lajovic’s shock 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/5) win in Friday’s opening rubber against Lucas Pouille, although Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had levelled the tie by beating debutant Laslo Djere 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, 6-3.
Mahut and Herbert, the 2015 US Open and 2016 Wimbledon doubles champions, came back from 5-2 down in the third set to wrap up the win. France are bidding for a first Davis Cup title since 2001, having lost three finals since.
Behind enemy lines: Australia (r).