Australia Remains On Course To Reach Davis Cup Final 8

Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden (photo: e-motion/Paul Zimmer)

HAMBURG, September 15, 2022 (by Dietmar Kaspar)

Following a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Belgium in their first tie of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals Group Stage in Hamburg, Australia recorded a 2-1 win against 10-time champion France on Thursday.

French team captain Sebastian Grosjean was forced to make changes in the line-up after yesterday’s loss against Germany. Adrian Mannarino, who beat German Oscar Otte in a confident way, was not nominated for today’s singles rubbers due to physical problems and was replaced by former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet. Australia started with the same line-up.

Gasquet with opening win

Gasquet had the better start against Jason Kubler in the first singles rubber. The 36-year-old Frenchman gained the only two breaks in the opening set to take the lead. The second set was more even, but Beziers-born Gasquet made the decisive break in the ninth game to secure a 6-2, 6-4 win after one hour and 35 minutes.

Sebastian told me yesterday evening that I will start today,” said World No. 79 Gasquet. “I played good and tough matches in the US-swing, so I felt ready for encounters with a lot of pressure in the Davis Cup. My victory today was very important, because after the tough loss yesterday we have to deliver in every upcoming match here. The experience, having played many matches in this competition, helped me a lot”.

De Minaur fights past Bonzi

Following his Davis Cup debut versus Germany, 26-year-old Benjamin Bonzi represented France as the team’s No. 1 player in the second singles rubber against Alex de Minaur. In a tough three-set encounter with both players earning four breaks, World No. 23 de Minaur turned a 2-4 deficit in the deciding set into a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 win after two hours and eight minutes.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how you play and how you feel. You only have to do the job for your country and I am happy that I made it with the win today,” said de Minaur. “I was down in the third set but I kept staying in the match because in Davis Cup everything can happen. The conditions here are very difficult. It seems like being an indoor event, but the cold weather comes from the sides.”

Australian doubles team secures victory

Later in the day, reigning Wimbledon doubles champions Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden underlined their fine run of form in the deciding rubber against Nicolas Mahut and Arthur Rinderknecht. The Australian duo didn’t face a break point and converted two of their own 10 break-point chances to prevail 6-4, 6-4 in 83 minutes.

I am really proud again of the whole team,” Australia’s Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said. “It was not easy to play against France after their tough loss because they threw in everything today. All three matches were really tough with high quality tennis.

Asked about his feelings concerning the retirement of Roger Federer, the two-time Grand Slam champion responded: “We grew up together in junior’s level and played 27 times on pro level, so I know him very well. He was the greatest player of that time and he is a great ambassador for the sport. We always respected us when we stepped on court together.”

Coming up

Group-stage action will continue Friday with Germany taking on Belgium. Play in at the Rothenbaum Tennis Stadium will start at 2 p.m. CET. If the hosts beat Belgium, Australia will secure their place in the Final 8 which will be contested in Malaga from 22 to 27 November.

Thursday’s results

Australia – France 2-1

Jason Kubler (AUS) – Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-2, 6-4

Alex de Minaur (AUS) – Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 6-3, 1-6, 6-4

Matthew Ebden/Max Purcell (AUS) – Nicolas Mahut/Arthur Rinderknecht (FRA) 6-4, 6-4