Hewitt Delivers Another Davis Cup Win
Australia has progressed to the Davis Cup world group playoff, but not before Lleyton Hewitt was given a massive scare by world number 382 Zhange Ze.
Australia went into the final day of the tie with a 2-1 lead over China, and needed to only secure one of the singles matches to ensure they would advance.
Earlier in the week, captain Pat Rafter had made the decision to hold Hewitt back from the singles matches, instead opting for relatively inexperienced pair Marinko Matosevic and Bernard Tomic. However after a strong performance in the doubles with Chris Guccione, Rafter decided to charge Hewitt with the task of securing Australia’s passage to the world group play off.
Hewitt started the match on fire and looked like he would walk all over his opponent, claiming the first two sets 6-2 6-1. However Ze rallied in the third set, which he took 6-4, and as the fourth set entered a tie breaker, the Australians would have started to feel a little nervous.
However Hewitt held his nerve to clinch the fourth in a tie breaker to take his overall Davis Cup career singles record to 37-9.
“I got subbed in to play today and I felt pretty confident going into the match and in the first two sets I played extremely good tennis,” Hewitt said.
“I played very well, I went out on court with a very good game plan and executed it to perfection. I had a slight dip in concentration at the start of the third set, but to Zhang Ze’s credit he fought extremely hard from then on in and changed his game plan and played well for the next two sets.”
Following Hewitt’s win, Australia’s Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter said he was impressed by the Chinese.
“We were very impressed with the Chinese team, I thought they were absolutely brilliant they way the fought hard,” said Rafter who was taking part in his first Davis Cup tie as captain.
“When I played it was very different, because you feel like you can control the situation whether you win or lose, but sitting on the sideline I was just trying to relax as much as I could.”
The draw for the world group playoffs will be held on Tuesday with Austria, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, India, Russia and Australia all vying for a spot in the 2012 Davis Cup.
Meanwhile the four semi-finalists for this year’s Davis Cup have been decided following the quarter final ties on the weekend.
Argentina qualified for the final four after demolishing Kazakhstan 5-0. They will meet Serbia in the final four, after the defending champions defeated Sweden 4-1. It should be noted that the Swedes were without Robin Soderling, while Serbia had to make do without new world number one Novak Djokovic.
The other semi-final will see Spain take on France. France had their passage wrapped up after the doubles, before going on to beat Germany 4-1. On the other hand a Spain team without Rafael Nadal was able to defeat the US on American soil for the first time.