Victories for Jordan Thompson and John Millman on day one see the hosts poised on the brink of victory – can they wrap up victory in the qualifying tie on day two? Australia and Brazil face off in Adelaide for a place in the 2020 Davis Cup Finals.
Australia vs Brazil is live from Adelaide on Saturday 7 March from 12pm local/1.30am GMT
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Venue: Memorial Drive Tennis Center
Surface: Hard (outoors)
Australia: John Millman, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth, Alex Bolt, John Peers, Lleyton Hewitt (captain)
Brazil: Thiago Monteiro, Thiago Seyboth Wild, Joao Menezes, Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, Marcelo Demoliner, Jaime Oncins (captain)
Order of play:
Day 1 (play starts at 1pm local/2.30am GMT)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) d. Thiago Monteiro (BRA), 6-4, 6-4
John Millman (AUS) d. Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA), 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2
Day 2 (play starts at 12pm local/1.30am GMT)
James Duckworth/John Peers (AUS) vs Marcelo Demoliner/Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves (BRA)
John Millman (AUS) vs Thiago Monteiro (BRA)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) vs Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA)
NB: Player nominations can change until an hour before the start of play
Day 2 preview & analysis
Australia came into this tie lacking their top players Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur and looking to Thompson and Millman to step up – and after one day of this Davis Cup qualifying tie in Adelaide, they are on the brink of qualifying for the Davis Cup Finals after their second-string player did exactly that.
Thompson did a workmanlike job of defeating Monteiro, a player much more comfortable on clay than hard courts, 6-4, 6-4, but it was Millman’s comeback victory over Seyboth Wild which dominated the day. Brazil had received a huge boost to their chances in the tie when Seyboth Wild, the 2018 US Open junior champion and still just 19 years old, had become the youngest ATP Tour title winner in the country’s history at last week’s Chile Open in Santiago; and Seyboth Wild brought all the talent he exhibited in Santiago, and all the confidence that run gave him, to the first Davis Cup rubber he had played in the traditional home-and-away tie format. He raced to a 5-2 lead before play was interrupted for some time by a spectator requiring medical attention; after that, the young Brazilian was never quite as dominant as he had been, but he still put himself in a position to lead by a set and a break and serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set.
Millman’s competitive tenacity came to the fore, however, and he broke back, taking the second set to a tie-break which he then dominated. Seyboth Wild needed a medical timeout for a forearm issue early in the third set, and never really threatened as Millman ran away with the decider for a 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2 victory which must rank among the finest he has ever recorded, as the Australian agreed:
‘One of my most memorable, without a doubt. You can have all the individual success you want, but, for me, I’ve said it on multiple occasions, the epitome is playing for your country, and that’s really special.’
Wins for Thompson and Millman leave captain Lleyton Hewitt exactly where he wanted to be after day one: Needing just one more rubber to secure victory in this tie. The Australian captain said he would ‘most likely’ stick with the originally nominated pairing of John Peers and James Duckworth for the doubles, which makes sense: Peers has been ranked as high as world no. 2 in doubles and although he is considerably down from that position at world no. 31, he has 21 doubles titles to his name (including the Australian Open in 2017) and recently won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with Michael Venus of New Zealand.
— John Peers (@johnwpeers) March 6, 2020
Peers’s Davis Cup double record is not overwhelming – he’s 6-5 – and James Duckworth is no doubles specialist, but he does come in with a lot of confidence after reaching the semifinals of the ATP Tour 250 in Pune and winning the Bengaluru Challenger in the run-up to the tie. Brazil’s doubles specialist Marcelo Demoliner, who quit singles in 2017, has never ranked higher than world no. 34 in doubles and has only three 250 titles to his name; and 22-year-old Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alvez has never ranked above his current world no. 132 in doubles.
In order to give themselves a chance to keep the tie alive, therefore, Brazil might want to take the chance of swapping in one or more of their singles players in an attempt to defeat Peers and Duckworth – not that any of the others have impressive doubles credentials.
It looks fairly likely that Australia will be able to wrap up a 3-0 victory over Brazil in the doubles tie, but if they cannot, the hosts still have what looks like a fairly intimidating advantage over the visitors in the reverse singles. Millman and Monteiro have never met, but world no. 82 Monteiro is a much more intimidating prospect on clay – the surface on which he has won all five of his Challenger titles – than on hard courts (for comparison, ten of Millman’s 15 Challenger titles have come on hard courts, as well as his biggest ATP Tour career final, in Tokyo last autumn).
There is equally no history to draw upon when considering a hypothetical fifth rubber between Thompson and Seyboth Wild, but it’s extremely unlikely the tie will get so far. Australia should have wrapped up victory – and a place in the Davis Cup Finals in November for the second year in a row – long before.