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Alex de Minaur beats Zsombor Piros to put Australia in strong position


“We go out there, we’re both playing for pride and passion and our countries. Let the best man win.”

Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said the three-set Turin thriller would give de Minaur little edge in Saturday’s clash, given the conditions were vastly different.

“That match could have gone either way. There were only a few points in it, either way,” Hewitt said.

“It was high-quality tennis, on a completely different surface to what we are playing on here, as well. That was the slowest hard court I’ve ever seen in my life.

“It was like watching a computer game. Two unbelievable defenders, and movers on a tennis court, that were hitting the cover off the ball and couldn’t get it past each other for well over three hours.

“That was high-end, quality tennis. Alex will be ready to do that again tomorrow.”

De Minaur was clearly carrying some Davis Cup nerves to start his first match of the tie.

Ken Rosewall was on hand to support the Australian team on Friday night.

Ken Rosewall was on hand to support the Australian team on Friday night.Credit:Getty

Leading 6-5, he forced three break points to push a Piros service game to 0-40, but only needed one when the Hungarian dumped a second serve into the net.

The Australian took the momentum and won the next 13 consecutive points, but he was forced to save a few of his own as Piros once again wrested back some ascendancy.

That changed midway through the second set, when a de Minaur drop shot and a missed backhand smash from the Hungarian handed the Australian another break.

“It’s something different, playing for your country. I’ve played many matches on that court, and even ATP Cup matches. But Davis Cup, it just hits different, for every sort of reason,” de Minaur said afterwards.

“You always have a bit more pressure out there. It means a little bit more. You don’t want to let your teammates down. You just want to go out there and get the job done.

“Very relieved, very happy I was able to get the win there. It was a great win on my favourite court.“

De Minaur and the rest of the team dined this week with Rosewall – who drove down from the Gold Coast through driving rain – before the 87-year-old presented Luke Saville with his green jacket to mark his Davis Cup debut.

“It’s special to wear the green and gold in front of legends of the sport, with the history, culture and tradition the Australian Davis Cup team has,” de Minaur said.

“As much as I love playing on this court, this is your court. Kenny. It’s my favourite court in the world.

“Thanks so much for being here and everything you’ve done. You will keep firing us up here and at the Davis Cup for many years to come.”



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