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Australia • Kyrgios And De Minaur Win Wild Doubles Tiebreaker To Book Spot In ATP Cup Tennis Semi

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By Ricky Dimon

By the time the Australia vs. Great Britain ATP Cup tie came to an end on Thursday evening in Sydney, what may go down as one of the best singles matches of the entire season had been reduced to a mere afterthought.

That’s just how wild things were for the majority of this inaugural event’s first quarterfinal contest.

It started, however, in routine fashion–not exactly a common occurrence when Nick Kyrgios is involved. The 29th-ranked Australian rolled to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Cameron Norrie in one hour and 12 minutes to give the host nation a quick 1-0 advantage.

The second rubber between Alex de Minaur and Dan Evans lasted almost three times as long. An incredibly dramatic, high-quality showdown required three hours and 23 minutes to separate the two in-form competitors. In the end it was Evans who prevailed 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(2) after twice giving back a break in the final set.

That tied things up at 1-1, as Great Britain forced a decisive doubles rubber. The Brits obviously went with Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury, while Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt benched the undefeated pair of John Peers and Chris Guccione in favor of Kyrgios and de Minaur.

The gamble paid off for Hewitt and Team Australia…but just barely.

Kyrgios and de Minaur battled back from a set down, saved four match points in a super-tiebreaker, and finally capitalized on their fifth match point to triumph 3-6, 6-3, 18-16. On one of the visitors’ match points, Murray missed a sitting backhand right on top of the net that should have been an easy winner.

“I missed that shot basically on top of the net, which was ridiculous,” Murray lamented. “We hung in and we did well. We just couldn’t quite get the last point. Yeah, we lost. I mean, that was it.”

“It was unreal,” Kyrgios commented. “The adrenaline has kind of worn off and I’m exhausted after that match. It was awesome. Today was probably one of the best moments in my career, definitely. Just making it through to the semifinal, the first-ever ATP Cup in that type of fashion, was pretty special.”

“I’m going to do anything for the team,” de Minaur said. “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.”

The Australians await either Spain or Belgium in the semifinals on Saturday.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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