The home nation Australia was put to the test in a thrilling quarterfinal against Great Britain Thursday night in Sydney.
Nick Kyygios got the ball rolling past Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-2. Alex De Minaur was up next and favored over Dan Evans, but in a nailbiter it was the Brit hanging on 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(2) in 3 hours, 24 minutes.
But that wasn’t the best match of the day. With the score tied 1-all, it came down to the doubles where Kyrgios partnered with De Minaur who put it on the line despite his marathon singles. And the Aussies came up with the goods saving four match points — one with a De Minaur backhand winner off a serve — to take it 3-6, 6-3, 18-16 over Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury.
“It was unreal. The adrenaline has kind of worn off and I’m exhausted after that match. It was awesome,” Kyrgios said. “Today was probably one of the best moments in my career, definitely. Just making it through to the semi-final, the first-ever ATP Cup in that type of fashion, was pretty special… we genuinely care for each other, and were genuinely just so ecstatic to get through.”
Added De Minaur: “I’m going to do anything for the team. I knew that if I was going to step out on the doubles court, then I was going to make sure that I was going to be fired up, ready to go, and full of energy,” he said. “It’s just amazing to see what Nick brings day after day. He’s come back from an epic win against Stefanos, and today he just played clinical in the singles and doubles.
“I had a match that didn’t go my way, but still, I couldn’t have had a more supportive person after the match and even on the doubles court. So it was great to be on the same side of the court as Nick, and hopefully there is plenty of more times.”
The underdog Brits came within inches of the upset.
“I missed that shot basically on top of the net, which was ridiculous,” Jamie Murray said of the doubles. “We hung in and we did well. We just couldn’t quite get the last point. Yeah, we lost. I mean, that was it.”
Later, led by the powerful 1-2 punch of Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov, Russia cruised past Argentina 3-0.
“We made our job. All the matches were won in singles, which is amazing, and I think only Spain did the same so far,” Medvedev said. “It’s really great. We played great with Karen. Hopefully we can go all the way, but I’m really happy with the way ATP Cup is going for Team Russia.”
The Aussies will now await the Spain-Belgium winner while Russia gets the Serbia-Canada victor.
Rafael Nadal will look to stay undefeated as he takes on David Goffin. Roberto Bautista Agut will meet Steve Darcis.
“It’s the quarterfinals. It’s going to be another tough opponent for all of us there. And I really believe that we need to keep working well, but I really hope to be ready to increase the level,” Nadal said.
In the first match on Friday, Novak Djokovic will test Denis Shapovalov and Dusan Lajovic faces Felix Auger-Aliassime.
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