Lleyton Hewitt has rolled again the years along John Friends to overcome Austria’s Jurgen Melzer and Oliver Marach 6-2, 6-Four, Three-6, 7-Five and stay alive Australia’s hopes within the Davis Cup playoff in Graz.
Staff captain Hewitt — enjoying in his 80th fit within the inexperienced and gold, 19 years after making his debut — nominated himself forward of the suffering Jordan Thompson, who’d at the beginning been slated to spouse Friends.
Hewitt, 37, got here out of retirement to play doubles with John Millman at this yr’s Australian Open, achieving the quarter-finals.
Australia’s top-ranked participant John Millman, who has been suffering with sickness following his US Open quarter-final, sat in as transient courtside skipper on the Messe Grand advanced on outside clay.
John Millman tweet: It was once a a laugh day in Graz. The lads installed an ideal shift. Loved being known as as much as the bench.
Nick Kyrgios opted to leisure for the Davis Cup tie after reportedly desiring cortisone injections in his knee all the way through the USA Open.
After Jordan Thompson and Alex de Minaur misplaced their singles rubbers to Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak respectively, Saturday’s doubles conflict was once a must-win for the guests.
Hewitt and Friends broke the Austrians two times within the first 4 video games to steamroll their approach during the opening set and an early spoil of Melzer’s serve helped them take out the second one.
DavisCup tweet: A forehand winner and *that* birthday celebration…
However roared on through a loud 6,000-strong house crowd, Austria hit again to take the 3rd set following a marathon level at Three-1 at the Marach serve that produced 11 deuces and noticed the hosts save 8 spoil issues.
The fourth set was once an in depth affair with each groups retaining serve till the Friends crunched a forehand winner to damage Marach and seal the win.
“That is Davis Cup doubles,” Hewitt mentioned.
“That is what it is intended to be — it is intended to be at the heart day, it is intended to be best-of-five units and we are enjoying in a tricky position, clear of house, on a tricky clay court docket.
“John performed implausible nowadays. We gelled truly neatly, we got here out initially and lit it up after which needed to dig deep within the fourth set.”
De Minaur now faces the daunting prospect of taking up Thiem, the inheritor obvious to Rafael Nadal’s king of clay crown within the opening opposite singles rubber on Sunday.
Global quantity 8 Thiem dropped simply 4 video games in a 95-minute dismantling of Thompson and beat de Minaur with ease of their handiest earlier assembly ultimately yr’s US Open.
“It is gonna be an excessively difficult ask once more the next day to come,” Hewitt mentioned.
“However all my boys will get ready in addition to imaginable and we’re going to do completely the whole lot we will and we’re going to depart all of it out right here.
“If it is just right sufficient, it’s, and if it isn’t, it isn’t. However we’re going to give 100 in line with cent.”
The winner of the tie shall be seeded for the qualifying spherical of the remodeled Davis Cup in February.