Tennis: Australia beats Belgium 3-0 in Davis Cup qualifier
An illness to Thanasi Kokkinakis opened the door for Jason Kubler to make his Davis Cup debut for Australia and he didn’t disappoint.
Called up to take on Belgium in Hamburg, Kubler and then Alex de Minaur gave the Aussies an unassailable 2-0 lead with wins in the singles before Matt Ebden and Max Purcell rounded off a perfect opening day with victory in the doubles to ensure a faultless 3-0 clean sweep.
It puts captain Lleyton Hewitt’s team, which is paying without Nick Kyrgios again, in pole position to finish in the top two of their four-team group, which includes France and Germany, and land a place in the final eight in Spain in late November.
Kubler, 29, beat Zizou Bergs in three sets, while De Minaur saw off former world No.7 David Goffin in straight sets.
“It feels great,” Kubler said
“To finish my debut (with a win) after being a break down in the third, I‘m very happy. It’s a special way to start my Davis Cup career.
“We had a team meeting to decide who was going to play. Luckily, we have the options and we have confidence in all the five players.
“When I found out, it was one of the things to see that the team had a lot of belief in me. It made me feel special.”
A former world junior No.1, Kubler’s career has been blighted by knee injuries, but he’s shown his best this year, reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon.
De Minaur said he was inspired by Kubler’s performance to “get the job done”.
“He came out in his debut and pulled a rabbit out of the hat,” De Minaur said.
“He played with passion, he played with pride, he did everything that Davis Cup is about and managed to get the win.
“It’s what the team expects of me, so I’m over the moon I was able to deliver today.”
Kokkinakis will be assessed before a decision is made if he can play France and/or Germany over the next four days.