MELBOURNE: Young rookie Jordan Thompson claimed a winning double as Australia completed a 4-1 Davis Cup World Group victory over the Czech Republic in Melbourne Sunday.
The 22-year-old, who was handed his debut by captain Lleyton Hewitt after Bernard Tomic made himself unavailable citing scheduling issues, won his second singles rubber of the tie on the Kooyong hardcourt.
Thompson, ranked 65, fought off the 157th-ranked Jan Satral 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 in 91 minutes to follow his 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 upset of 54th-ranked Jiri Vesely in Friday’s opening singles.
Vesely earned the Czechs’ only point of the tie when he downed Sam Groth, who stood in for Nick Kyrgios, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in Sunday’s other reverse singles.
Australia will now face a home tie against the United States in the quarterfinals of the team competition on April 7-9.
“It’s a pretty quick turnaround, eight weeks or so, so the players get to go away and play in a few big tournaments before that,” Hewitt said.
“But I’m pretty happy with the way the boys are hitting it at the moment, so hopefully they come back playing just as well.”
Asked if Tomic would be considered for selection to play the Americans, Hewitt said: “Ah. I don’t know. Not sure. Can’t answer that right now.”
The Australians were always in control of the Kooyong tie against the hapless Czechs, who played without world number 12 Tomas Berdych and experienced Radek Stepanek, who withdrew from the doubles with injury.
Doubles pair John Peers and Groth secured the tie for Australia when they raced through the scratch Czech pairing of Vesely and Satral 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in Saturday’s doubles.
World number 15 Kyrgios conceded just seven games in reeling off a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Satral on Friday.
Australia now lead the Czech Republic 8-1 in the Davis Cup competition.
Australia, 28-time winners, have not won the Davis Cup since 2003 and only returned to the competition’s top tier in 2014 after a six-year absence.
Noah aims for trophy
France captain Yannick Noah said his team could go on to lift the Davis Cup after wrapping up a 4-1 first-round victory over Japan on Sunday.
Entering the final day’s reverse singles in Tokyo with an unassailable 3-0 lead, the nine-time champions chose to rest Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon and split the two dead rubbers.
Doubles specialist Nicolas Mahut replaced Gasquet and took the first set off Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1 before a wrist injury ended the Japanese player’s hopes of a comeback.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the other half of the world’s top-ranked doubles pair who clinched France’s third point on Saturday, took Simon’s place in the abbreviated singles. However, he was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Yasutaka Uchiyama as Japan avoided a whitewash in the absence of world number five Kei Nishikori, who dropped out the World Group clash citing a busy schedule.
Iran win consolation games in pakistan
Iran on Sunday registered back-to-back consolation victories against hosts Pakistan on the final day of their Davis Cup Group II Asia-Oceania zone match.
Pakistan, hosting international tennis after a 12-year hiatus, had already won the tie by taking the first two singles and then the doubles match on Saturday.
Iran’s Hamid Reza Nadaf beat Pakistan’s Mohammad Abid Ali Khan Akbar by 6-7 (4-7), 6-4- 6-3 in the first match of the day and the fourth rubber in the tie. Shahin Khaledan defeated Muhammad Abid 7-6 (10-8), 6-3.