Tennis-Australia, Czech Republic locked at 1-1 in Davis Cup quarter-final
(Updates after second singles match) MALAGA, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Alex de Minaur edged past Jiri Lehecka 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5 as last year's Davis Cup runners-up Australia levelled their quarter-final against three-times champions Czech Republic at 1-1 on Wednesday and set up a doubles decider.
Alex de Minaur edged past Jiri Lehecka 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5 as last year's Davis Cup runners-up Australia levelled their quarter-final against three-times champions Czech Republic at 1-1 on Wednesday and set up a doubles decider. The Czechs, who arrived at the Finals with a 9-0 win-loss record from three Group Stage ties in September, are aiming to secure a first win over Australia since 1975 and Tomas Machac beat Jordan Thompson 6-4 7-5 to give them a 1-0 lead.
Machac, the Czech number two, backed up an early break with a comfortable service game and withstood a strong fightback from Thompson at 5-4 in the opening set. There was little to separate the hard-hitting pair in the second set up to 4-4 and Machac traded breaks with his opponent before edging ahead to seal the victory with a forehand winner.
Australia are without Thanasi Kokkinakis, who was forced to withdraw from the Finals with an ankle injury. Lleyton Hewitt's side, who lost to Canada in the final last year, are looking to capture the premier men's team competition crown for a 29th time and inch closer to the United States who are top of the pile with 32 titles.
Australian Open quarter-finalist Lehecka saved five break points in the 10th game of the second singles clash and claimed a tight opening set with a big serve but surrendered the next amid a late charge from De Minaur in the tiebreak. The 22-year-old Lehecka regrouped in the decider and could have gone 4-2 up but an inspired De Minaur kept chipping away and raised his level towards the end to prevail.
Lehecka and Adam Pavlasek face Australia's Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in the decider later.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)