The duel by excellence in the Davis Cup, Australia-USA, finished with a comfortable victory for the Americans on the grass of Kooyong. Nick Kyrgios down was drawbacks that not even the experience of Lleyton Hewitt, who made partner with John Peers in the double, could avoid. John Isner became the lord and master of the qualifying round, dispensing with 49 aces to Bernard Tomic and 20 to Sam Groth. The grass at the end, prepared by Hewitt to get the most out of the game of Kyrgios, was an invaluable ally for the service of the giant of Greensboro.
It was the 46th meeting between these two Nations, the great mastering of the competition, with 60 titles between them, 18 more than all other countries combined. With his victory yesterday, USA increases its advantage to 26-20. Australia has the consolation of going ahead in finals, 15-14.
In Belgrade, Novak Djokovic suffered unspeakable during the 4 hours and 57 minutes he needed to defeat Mikhail Kukushkin. The world number one, unrecognizable and exasperated by the solidity of the Kazakh, accumulated up to 67 unforced errors during the first three sets – he finished the match with 94 – for being 2-1 down, at the edge of the abyss.
At that moment, only the enormous prestige of his name led to believe in the comeback to the 8,000 Serbs who thronged the grandstand of Alexander Nikolic Arena. And certainly Djokovic pulled rank to restore the situation. With a more orderly and serene game, playing with many more first services, he reduced the number of errors and he imposed his quality to get the victory at the end 6-7 (8) 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-3 6-2. For statistics Djokovic leaves 12 double faults, matching his own mark, which he has been repeated on four occasions; the last time in 2010 before Olivier Rochus at Wimbledon. Djokovic Advanced Stats (12 or more double faults)
After the shock, still he had to play the fifth and decisive point. Viktor Troicki saved a greater suffering to the exhausted Serb supporters with an easy victory in three sets before Aleksandr Nedovyesov, 200 of the ATP rankings. In the end, everyone happy in Belgrade, except, it is presumably, the Kazakh and especially Kukushkin, a player who often has performed in the Davis well above his ranking, as Wawrinka, Istomin, Seppi and the same Troicki, beaten in three sets last Friday, can testify. Kukushkin surely will long remember the great opportunity he had so close.
Another who had to do his best was Andy Murray. The British ahead 2-0 and it seemed that the qualifying round was sentenced. But not only Kei Nishikori was able to tie the match but also he broke the service of Murray in the first game of the fifth set, sowing panic in Birmingham. But Murray reacted immediately by breaking the service of Nishikori and finishing with the resistance of the Japanese.
With this victory Murray gets 14 matches consecutive won in Davis Cup (double and single) and knocks down another mark of Fred Perry, who won 13 straight victories in 1931.
Belgium, current runner-up, lost before Croatia. Same as Germany against Czech Republic. The two victories of David Goffin in individual, for the Belgians, and Philipp Kohkschreiber for the Teutons were not enough to solve their respective rounds. A frustrating feeling well known by tops that have passed through that trance: Djokovic, once, Murray, twice and Federer three times, have seen as win their individual matches do not always is guarantee for overcoming the round.
The rest of the matches in the World Group have had the expected outcome: Italy took advantage of the absences of Federer and Wawrinka to prevail 5-0. Canada was no rival for a powerful France that only lost a set in the last match. Poland also could not threaten Argentina, very well supported by Leonardo Mayer and Guido Pella.
In the lower groups is remarkable the recording of Marcos Baghdatis who has extended his winning streak to 36 consecutive singles, displacing Bjorn Borg, with 33, who led the record of the Davis since 1980. The question is how fair will be considered the Swedish this mark of Baghdatis, considering that not a single one of that 36 victories has occurred within the World Group – and even in the Group I – having faced only three times within the top-100 players. It is unimportant if we compared with the rivals who had to beat Borg, which include Lendl, Nastase, Orantes, Ashe, Gerulaitis, Kodes, Fibak, Higueras, Fillol and other greats of the era.Davis Cup Singles Wins Streak
In the round which faced Austria and Portugal, two new victories of Dominic Thiem who has now reached 20 in the season. Thiem beat João Sousa with much clarity and Gastao Elias in a very tight match which was involved in a heated controversy by continuing claims of the Austrian captain, Stefan Koubek, and Thiem, with the referee of the match, interrupting the game on several occasions, almost always with Elias advantage on the scoreboard. Nuno Marques, Portugal captain, described as “scandal” and “circus” the match and he felt clearly handicapped because the match, having won Elias, would have been a 2-0 advantage for the Portuguese. 2016 most wins
The Davis Cup will be back again in July with the following quarterfinals in the World Group: Serbia-Great Britain, attention to the Djokovic-Murray duel, Italy-Argentina, Czech Republic- France and USA – Croatia. Meanwhile come back the Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells. The organizers expect half a million attendees so the desert for a few days, will not be it.
Gabriel Garcia / thetennisbase.com
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