Australia marched into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in Malaga at the expense of The Netherlands, thanks to the efforts of Jordan Thompson and Alex de Minaur who fought back from a set down to win their respective singles rubbers against their corresponding Dutch opponents, Tallon Griekspoor and Botic Van de Zandschulpin what was the first meeting between the two nations.
Me and Alex, we looked up to Lleyton. I think probably for both of us, [he was] our tennis idol. So to see him on the side of the court and having his same fighting spirit is something I’m sure he loves to see. When he’s on the sideline, I couldn’t feel more comfortable Jordan Thompson
The Aussies, who are chasing their 29th Davis Cup trophy in the 123- year-old competition and last reached the semis in 2017, were made to work hard by the Dutch, who have never lifted the trophy. For them it was a disappointing result as they also failed to reach the last four for a second time in their history, a result they achieved in 2001.
Leyton Hewitt, Australia’s most successful Davis Cup player with a 59 win-21 loss record, has captained the team since 2016 and is himself known as a great fighter. Within the team, he has proved to be a great motivator which helped pull Thompson through the opening rubber.
Commenting prior to the tie, Hewitt said: “The biggest thing is we put the team first. It’s much bigger than an individual event and to win these kind of events, it really does take a team effort.
“It’s going to be tough. I was so impressed with how they (the Dutch) played in Glasgow (in the Group Stage). I think they’ve got a great team culture. Most of their team play their best tennis in this format when they play for their country as well, which is always dangerous.
“You know in Davis Cup, so much of the rankings get thrown out the window. So we’ve just got to prepare as well as possible for our matches. I’ve done a lot of scouting on their team as well, so I feel like I know
what to expect. But we’ve just got to get our guys right and get them to go out there and hopefully execute what they need to get the result.”
Thompson defeated Griekspoor in the first rubber, 4-6 7-5 6-3 in what was his first outing for the Aussies in two-and-a-half years and was delighted at being able to give his country the start they wanted, especially as Griekspoor looked to be on the way to pocketing the opening rubber.
“Of course, I’d missed the Davis Cup, and I was extremely honoured [that I’d been picked]. I’d do anything to win in the green and gold and I hadn’t played since March 2020,” Thompson said following their 2-0 win.
“Me and Alex, we looked up to Lleyton. I think probably for both of us, [he was] our tennis idol. So to see him on the side of the court and having his same fighting spirit is something I’m sure he loves to see.
“When he’s on the sideline, I couldn’t feel more comfortable.”
And the way Thompson turned the match around, helped De Minaur complete his 5-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Van de Zandschulp as he later admitted.
“It feels great. It was a hell of a fight,” De Minaur, who is unbeaten in Davis Cup action this year, said. “Jordan played his heart out and it really inspired me.
“I just fought to the end, a never-say-die attitude.”
The doubles final rubber was cancelled.
Australia will now face either Spain or Croatia in the semi-finals – they play their quarterfinal on Wednesday (November 23).
The event’s other quarter-finals – Italy vs USA and Germany vs Canada – will be played on Thursday (November 24).