Australia and Hungary share Davis Cup spoils | Tennis News


SYDNEY: Alex de Minaur gave 28-time champion Australia a flying start but Thanasi Kokkinakis couldn’t keep up the momentum on Friday as they split their first Davis Cup singles matches with Hungary.
Twelve Davis Cup matches are played on Friday and Saturday, with the winners advancing to the final, the first leg of which will be played in September with 16 teams.
Croatia, Great Britain and Serbia have already moved on, with Davis Cup chiefs set to decide next week who will replace defending champions Russia after they were sacked following the invasion of Ukraine.
World number 30 De Minaur was pushed hard in the first set, with the roof closed at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena by young Hungarian number two Zsombor Piros, ranked 240.
But the Aussie was relentless and pressured Piros’ serve in the 12th game to force three unforced errors and then a double fault to break and take the set 7-5.
He broke again to clear 3-1 in the second set and ran home 6-2.
“It’s never easy to play for your country, there are always a lot more nerves,” said de Minaur. “Very happy to have been able to take the first victory.”
Almost seven years since his last appearance at the Davis Cup, Kokkinakis was recalled after winning a maiden ATP singles title in Adelaide in January and then claiming the Australian Open doubles crown with Nick Kyrgios.
But the bet did not pay off, as he lost 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-3 to Hungarian number one and 35th ranked Marton Fucsovics.
“It was a very physical game. I’m sweating like I’m coming out of a swimming pool,” Fucsovics said. “But I like the surface a lot, and the atmosphere was amazing.”
Doubles and reverse singles are played on Saturdays.
Elsewhere, South Korea and Austria also shared the spoils in Seoul, with towering Denis Novak overtaking Nam Ji-sung 6-1, 6-4 before Kwon Soon-woo equalized with a win 7-5, 6-4. Jurij Rodionov.
In Friday’s other qualifiers, 32-time champions USA host Colombia in Reno while six-time champions Spain will be without Rafael Nadal for their home game in Marbella against Romania.
Alexander Zverev, meanwhile, has reversed his decision not to play, the world number three playing for Germany against Brazil in Rio after he was disqualified from an event in Acapulco last month for smashing his racquet against the referee’s chair.

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