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Australia into Davis Cup final – almost two decades after last appearance
It was a comeback win for Lleyton Hewitt’s team as they moved through to the final
They were last in the final in 2003, when they won it – and this weekend Australia will go for another Davis Cup win after a comeback triumph against Croatia in the semi-finals.
Trailing 1-0 after Borna Coric defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis, the Australians came back to win thanks to Alex De Minaur’s impressive victory over Marin Cilic followed by a doubles surprise – Max Purcell/Jordan Thompson (preferred to Matthew Ebden) stuck it out in three sets to beat the experienced and formidable Croatian pair of Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic, coming back from a set down to win 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 14 minutes.
The Croatian pair won the first set in a tiebreak and didn’t even face a break point – but they started to stumble as the Mektic serve began to falter and the Thompson return began to boom.
Semi-finalists in 2005, 2015 and 2017, Australia now have a chance to go one better. Croatia have been denied the opportunity to reach two consecutive finals – and it’s Lleyton Hewitt’s squad who will face either Italy or Canada for the right to lift the Davis Cup.
Hewitt: I couldn’t be prouder
“I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team,” Hewitt said in his post-match press conference. “We knew we were the underdogs coming into this today and we like being in that position. It’s a place I really enjoyed as a player and also as a captain.
“For Thommo [Thompson] to step up, though, and take up that responsibility tonight in a do-or-die doubles match, he’s played some doubles in Davis Cup before, which gave me a lot of confidence, but he played his role perfectly tonight.
“And then Max, though, to take the lead role as well, playing with a new partner out there, I couldn’t be prouder.
“There is a big thing in Davis Cup doubles which is about chemistry, and these two certainly had it, which helped.”