After surging through the group stage with a perfect 9-0 record, ATP Cup hosts Australia look to continue their sensational form when they come up against Great Britain in the quarter-finals in Sydney on Thursday.
Australia vs Great Britain ATP Cup quarter-final tennis is live from Sydney at 10.00am local time on Thursday (11.00pm GMT).
Australia, led by Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios, have been extremely impressive so far in the ATP Cup, leading the hosts into the quarter-finals, while John Millman and doubles pair Chris Guccione and John Peers have also contributed to their unblemished record.
It hasn’t been as smooth sailing for Great Britain (in a much easier group), but Tim Henman’s troops have done enough to secure their spot in the last eight and have nothing to lose as underdogs against the Aussies – can they inflict a first loss on Team Australia and knock the hosts out of the competition?
Road to the quarter-finals
Australia ?? def. Germany ?? 3-0
Kyrgios def. Struff 6-4 7-6(4)
De Minaur def. Zverev 4-6 7-6(3) 6-2
Peers/Guccione def. Krawietz/Mies 6-3 6-4
Australia ?? def. Canada ?? 3-0
Millman def. Auger-Aliassime 6-4 6-2
De Minaur def. Shapovalov 6-7(6) 6-4 6-2
Peers/Guccione def. Auger-Aliassime/Shamasdin 3-6 7-6(3) 10-8
Australia ?? def. Greece ?? 3-0
Millman def. Pervolarakis 4-6 6-1 7-6(1)
Kyrgios def. Tsitsipas 7-6(7) 6-7(3) 7-6(5)
Guccione/Peers def. Kalovelonis/P. Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4
Bulgaria ?? def. Great Britain ?? 2-1
Norrie def. Kuzmanov 6-2 3-6 6-2
Dimitrov def. Evans 2-6 6-4 6-1
Dimitrov/Lazarov def. Murray/Salisbury 7-6(5) 6-7(2) 11-9
Great Britain ?? def. Belgium ?? 2-1
Darcis def. Norrie 6-2 6-4
Evans def. Goffin 6-4 6-4
Murray/Salisbury def. Gille/Vliegan 6-3 7-6(7)
Great Britain ?? def. Moldova ?? 3-0
Norrie def. Cozbinov 6-2 6-2
Evans def. Albot 6-2 6-2
Murray/Salisbury def. Albot/Cozbinov 6-2 6-3
AUSTRALIA ??: 1. Alex de Minaur 2. Nick Kyrgios 3. John Millman 4. John Peers 5. Chris Guccione. Captain: Lleyton Hewitt.
GREAT BRITAIN ??: 1. Daniel Evans 2. Cameron Norrie 3. James Ward 4. Joe Salisbury 5. Jamie Murray. Captain: Tim Henman.
Rubber 1: Nick Kyrgios (??) vs Cameron Norrie (??), live from Sydney at 10.00am local time (11.00pm GMT)
It’s no secret that Kyrgios does his best work in team environments, and he proved that yet again on Tuesday night in Brisbane, producing a phenomenal serving display to edge out World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in three tiebreaks – the second time he’s beaten the Greek in that fashion after doing so in the Washington semi-finals last year.
Kyrgios was untouchable on serve as he prevailed by a 7-6(7) 6-7(3) 7-6(5) scoreline, firing down 25 aces and saving both break points he faced. The Australian served at a jaw-dropping 89 per cent of first serves in the opening set and was able to come out on top in the crucial moments at the end of the first and third set tiebreaks, winning the match with a pin-point backhand return winner down the line.
“I served really well in big moments but the atmosphere was awesome. We’re carrying some momentum going to Sydney. It could have been easy to take your foot off the gas today. I thought both the Greeks showed up and I think they really wanted to win this tie, but I was happy we both got it done today,” Kyrgios said.
It was a calm and composed performance from Kyrgios, with the Aussie forcing Tsitsipas to get frustrated with his booming serve as the Greek was handed a point penalty for repeated infringements in the first set, including smashing his racquet in the player zone and striking his dad and Greece captain Apostolos accidentally as a result.
With Kyrgios proving once again that he’s a completely different player in this format of the game, you’ve got to say he’s the big favourite to take out Norrie and give Australia a 1-0 lead on Thursday.
Norrie hasn’t come up against strong opposition in Sydney, but he’s won two of his three matches, beating Dimitar Kuzmanov and Alexander Cozbinov, while he suffered a poor straight sets defeat to Steve Daris of Belgium, who is about to retire from the sport due to injury.
The World No. 52 will be hoping he can conjure up the form he displayed at this stage of the season last year, with Norrie reaching his maiden ATP final in Auckland.
Norrie leads his head-to-head with Kyrgios 1-0, but that was due to the Australian retiring while trailing their clash in Atlanta last year. Kyrgios was unstoppable on serve against Tsitsipas, and if he plays like that again, then Norrie won’t be able to offer much resistance.
Rubber 2: Alex de Minaur (??) vs Dan Evans (??), live from Sydney around 11.30am local time (12.30am GMT)
This is shaping as the must-win tie for Great Britain if they are to give themselves a chance in the doubles, but de Minaur has been on fire in his opening two matches and will be confident of making it three wins from three.
The 20-year-old claimed two top 15 scalps in Brisbane, coming back from a set and a break down in both against Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov. De Minaur showcased his trademark fighting spirit in each comeback and has beefed up his serve and groundstrokes, adding a layer of much-needed aggression that was needed if he wants to compete at the very top of the game.
De Minaur failed to beat a top 20 player until taking out Kei Nishikori en route to the fourth round of the U.S. Open in September, and since then he’s been able to add six more scalps to his belt, including Roberto Bautista Agut and Borna Coric as he won his third career title in Zhuhai late last year.
Meanwhile, Evans has kept Great Britain’s ATP Cup campaign alive with some impressive singles performances, including an eye-catching straight sets victory over David Goffin, while he was also cool under pressure to defeat Radu Albot 6-2 6-2 on Tuesday.
Great Britain had to sweep Moldova 3-0 in order to stand a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, which they did, while Belgium did them a favour by beating Bulgaria 2-1 later in the night, with that result ultimately securing their spot in the last eight.
Evans returned to his career-high ranking of No. 41 last year after being unranked the previous season due to a drugs ban, reaching his second ATP final in Delray Beach and making the third round at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, along with capturing two Challenger crowns on grass in Surbiton and Nottingham.
Evans will need to use all of his court craft and variety to stand a chance against de Minaur, but he does lead their head-to-head 1-0 after winning their match in Canada last year in straight sets. However, de Minaur is a different beast at home and will be playing on the court he won his first ATP title at this time last year. De Minaur is excellent at turning defence into offence and remains switched on at all times – he’ll likely be too solid for Evans, who’s concentration can waver at times.
Rubber 3: Doubles, live from Sydney around 2.00pm local time (3.00am GMT)
Teams to be confirmed
Teams are yet to be officially determined, but we can be almost certain it will be Chris Guccione and John Peers for Australia lining up against Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain.
Peers and Guccione are a perfect three from three coming out of the group stage, while Murray and Salisbury have bounced back strongly after a disappointing opening defeat to Bulgaria, beating Belgium and Moldova in straight sets.