Proud Australia reaches the final of the Davis Cup



Málaga (Spain): Australia reached their first Davis Cup final since 2003 on Friday when they came back to beat last year’s runners-up Croatia 2-1.

Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson stunned 2021 Wimbledon champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavić 6-7 (3/7), 7-5, 6-4 in the doubles decider to give Australia a final against either Canada or Italy on Sunday.

The victory was a reward for the decision of Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt – who played in the title-winning side in 2003 – to pair Thompson with Purcell.

Matthew Ebden, Purcell’s co-champion at Wimbledon this year, was due to feature in the deciding match before a late substitution.

“It’s been a long time,” Hewitt said. “We are very proud of the Davis Cup and I am very proud of these guys. They deserve to be in the final and have a chance to win this thing.”

Hewitt admitted there were “minor injury concerns” about Ebden.

“But I had no qualms about the chemistry of these two (Purcell and Thompson).”

After Mektic and Pavić hit the opening set in a 53-minute tie-break to move Croatia close to reaching their fourth Davis Cup final in six years, the Australian duo struck back.

They broke in the eleventh game of the second set to level before breaking again in the seventh game of the set decider on their way to victory after 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Earlier, Alex de Minaur beat former US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-2 6-2 to tie with 28-times champion Australia after Borna Coric gave Croatia a semi-final lead with a 6-4 6-3 win. Above Thansi Kokkinakis.

World number 17 Cilic pulled back 23 unforced errors as world number 24 de Minaur avenged the loss to the Croats when the two countries met in last year’s tournament.

“Marin is a hell of a competitor, a veteran of our sport who has achieved amazing things. I knew what to expect, so I knew it was never going to be easy,” De Minaur said.

“I knew I had to bring all the strength I could to be as strong as possible, and try to be tough but aggressive at the same time.”

World number 26 Coric defeated 95th-ranked Kokkinakis in 92 minutes thanks to six aces and 18 winners as the two-time champion set his sights on returning to the final after losing to Russia in the 2021 title match.

“It means a lot to me,” said Couric, who rekindled his career in 2022 after not playing for 12 months until March this year after undergoing right shoulder surgery.

“I was watching the guys play the Davis Cup when I got injured and doing my rehabilitation.

Playing for Croatia is a great feeling for me.”

Canada and Italy will meet on Saturday in the second semi-final.


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