Australia faced Brazil without their top two ranked singles players in a Davis Cup final qualifying tie.
Jordan Thompson and John Millman stepped up to fill the places of Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios after both were unavailable due to injury.
Thompson got the Aussies off to a perfect start when he defeated Brazil’s top ranked player Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 6-4. Monteiro is ranked at no. 82 and Thompson sits at no. 63.
“It’s massive,” Thompson said of his victory. “I didn’t want to be sending Johnny (Millman) out there 0-1 down. It’s the perfect start being 1-0 up.”
“He told me to put returns in. Any return is a good return. Scoreboard pressure,” Thompson said of the advice captain Lleyton Hewitt shared during a tight opening set.
“You have to listen to that because Lleyton’s been out there.”
Next up it was world no. 43 John Millman facing world no. 113 Thiago Seyboth Wild.
The 19-year-old Brazilian took the first set and Millman was down a set and a break, with Seyboth Wild serving for the tie, before staging a remarkable comeback in the second set tiebreaker and the final set to claim a 4-6 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 win.
After his fightback win Millman said, “I used the bench, the team, I soaked up the experience of Lleyton and Roachy especially and I’m just happy I got through. That’s what Davis Cup is about. It’s never giving up, and I think that’s the Australian way.
“To be honest with you, at the start of the match I was a little shell-shocked. He came out of the blocks on debut, obviously a lot of confidence from last week, but he was playing an amazing match.
“When you’re staring at the brink of defeat you can either go out quietly or you can give it everything. I knew that if I could just turn it around and just give myself that extra chance I could get the win.”
Day Two Action
On day two the doubles rubber was first up on the Adelaide centre court.
Experienced Australian doubles player John Peers teamed up with James Duckworth who was making his Davis Cup debut. They faced Brazil’s Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves who took the match 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(6).
The Australian’s were twice two points from sealing their spot in the finals but the Brazilians held their nerve to take the win.
Millman this time was facing Monteiro with the chance to seal the qualifying spot.
As he did in his first match Millman found himself a set down after dropping the tie-breaker. Both players had dropped serve once in the opening set. They would not get broken again.
Millman fought back to win the second set in a tie-break to setup a deciding set.
In the third set tie-breaker Millman jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Monteiro came back to 4-3. Millman surged again to claim the match and with that book Australia’s spot in the Davis Cup finals.
Millman won the match 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 7-6(3).
“That is what Davis Cup tennis is all about,” Australia’s captain Lleyton Hewitt said.
“Johnny had to come out here and back up what he did yesterday – and what a performance.
“That is going to go down as one of the great weekends in his career.”
“I always believed,” Millman said.
“The body was a little sore; the emotion levels were perhaps a little bit down at times – it’s tough to be up the whole time.
“But that is when you have really got to use your bench and use the experience that is Lleyton Hewitt and Tony Roche … they dragged me up when I was nearly down.”
After the qualifying ties here is the full list of teams that will lineup for the finals held in Madrid on 23-29 November.
Spain (defending champion)
Canada (2019 runner up)
Great Britain (2019 semi-finalist)
Russia (2019 semi-finalist)
France (2020 wild card)
Serbia (2020 wild card)
Qualifiers (12 nations winning their Qualifier ties on 6-7 March)