Australia, France, Italy Take Commanding Leads In Davis Cup First Round
ATPWorldTour.com rounds up Davis Cup World Group first-round play on Friday.
AUSTRALIA 2, CZECH REPUBLIC 0
Venue: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, Melbourne, AUS (hard - outdoor)
Australia, the 28-time champion, has taken a commanding 2-0 lead against the Czech Republic at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, the former venue of the Australian Open.
World No. 65 Jordan Thompson admitted it was “unbelievably satisfying” and “the best feeling in my life, I reckon,” after he made a winning start on his Davis Cup debut by beating Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Nick Kyrgios later hit 21 aces to beat Czech Jan Satral 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
“Tommo handled the situation brilliantly today and played some great tennis,” said former World No. 1 and Australia’s captain Lleyton Hewitt. “He’s done the work and he put in a massive pre-season before the Australian summer and this was his reward. It was a really professional job by Nick today to go out there and get the job done, and to walk away putting us 2-0 up.”
JAPAN 0, FRANCE 2
Venue: Ariake Colosseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard - indoor)
Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon have put nine-time titlist France into a 2-0 lead against Japan at the Ariake Colosseum, venue of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017. World No. 18 Gasquet defeated Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, while Simon overcame No. 85-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
Japan and France have met three times previously, but only once since 1927. In that most recent meeting, in 1981, France recorded a 4-1 win at Roland Garros. Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the top two players in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, will compete for France in Saturday’s doubles rubber.
ARGENTINA 0, ITALY 2
Venue: Parque Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina (clay)
After two convincing singles performances on Friday, Italy is within a match of knocking out defending Davis Cup champions and top seed Argentina. Paolo Lorenzi beat Guido Pella 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, and Andreas Seppi took care of Carlos Berlocq in just under three hours, 6-1, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(6) to kick off the first-round contest.
“I think that today I was playing pretty good. I was doing the right things in every moment. And I think that I was very solid,” Lorenzi said.
Argentina is trying to make the quarter-finals for the 15th time in the past 16 years. The only time Argentina didn't reach the final eight during that stretch: In 2014, when they lost to Italy. Only five countries have defended their Davis Cup title since the World Group was formed in 1981.
CROATIA 1, SPAIN 1
Venue: Gradski Vrt Hall, Osijek, Croatia (hard - indoor)
Franko Skugor delivered the match of his life to put Croatia on the board against Spain, which is back in the World Group for the first time since 2014. The 29-year-old Skugor upset No. 26 Pablo Carreno Busta, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6) in just over four hours. At No. 223, Skugor is ranked nearly 200 spots below Carreno Busta in the Emirates ATP Rankings.