Australia, who were the runners-up in the previous year, have advanced to the semi-finals of the Davis Cup after a tough 2-1 victory over Czech Republic, who have won the tournament three times. They will now face Finland, the unexpected team of this year.
The duo of Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell from Australia sealed their team’s advancement by defeating Jiri Lehecka and Adam Pavlasek 6-4, 7-5 in the final match, following Alex de Minaur’s close 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 win against Lehecka to tie the overall score at 1-1.
Ebden described the comeback victory as something he had never witnessed before in person. He had only seen similar situations on television in the past, when teams were able to overcome adversity. However, he was amazed by Alex’s efforts that allowed them to have a chance to fight and ultimately win.
“I was at a loss for words. We were indoors, knowing that we were one game away from being eliminated, but we managed to win and advance to the semi-finals. We couldn’t be more proud. I believe this truly showcases our team’s spirit and determination. I am eagerly anticipating the next game.”
The Czech team entered the finals with a perfect 9-0 record, having won all three Group Stage matches in September. They aimed to defeat Australia for the first time since 1975, and their player Tomas Machac achieved this by defeating Jordan Thompson with a score of 6-4, 7-5. This gave the Czech team a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the day did not belong to them as Australia, who was defeated by Canada in the 2022 championship, continued their pursuit for a 29th victory in the leading men’s team tournament, inching closer to the United States who currently holds 32 titles.
Lleyton Hewitt’s team will face Finland in the semi-final on Friday, after Finland surprisingly defeated Canada, who were the reigning champions, the previous day.
The second-ranked Czech player, Machac, supported his early lead with a smooth service game and held off a determined effort from Thompson at 5-4 in the first set of the first match.
Both players were evenly matched in the second set until 4-4, with Machac and his opponent exchanging breaks. However, Machac ultimately pulled ahead and secured the win with a forehand winner.
Thanasi Kokkinakis was unable to participate in the finals due to an ankle injury, leaving Australia without their player.
In the second singles match, Lehecka, who reached the quarter-finals in the Australian Open, successfully defended against five break points in the 10th game. Despite winning the first set with a powerful serve, they lost the next set as De Minaur made a strong comeback in the tiebreak.
At the age of 22, Lehecka bounced back in the final round and had the opportunity to take a 4-2 lead. However, De Minaur remained determined and continuously improved his performance to come out on top in the end.
De Minaur stated that it would have been simple to give up given the circumstances, but that goes against his playing style. He will always keep fighting until the very end. He had a small opportunity and was able to capitalize on it. He believes that his reputation for handling these types of situations is well-known and may have contributed to his win today.
On Thursday, Italy and the Netherlands will face off while Serbia, led by Novak Djokovic, will play against Britain in the quarter-final double-header.