Australia out of Davis Cup despite Alex de Minaur win

Australia’s hopes of making the knockout stages at the Davis Cup finals are doomed despite a courageous Alex de Minaur-inspired 2-1 victory over Hungary in Turin.

Lleyton Hewitt’s side came from behind after a shock defeat for John Millman to earn the victory on Saturday that was their minimum requirement following their calamitous 3-0 loss to Croatia in their opening Group D tie on Thursday.

Yet, with the Croats set to wrap up the group victory on Sunday by beating Hungary, the Australians’ record of two rubbers won and four lost won’t be enough to earn them a place in the quarter-finals, even as one of the two best group runners-up.

Hewitt accepted they’d be flying home but reckoned he was “extremely proud” of their fighting spirit.

“I guess we had a couple of days to think about it and all our focus was on today and what we could control in our destiny,” he said.

Six Australian tennis player standing with their arms around one another while singing the Australian anthem at the Davis Cup
Davis Cup legend Lleyton Hewitt (left) captained Australia’s team at this year’s tournament.(Getty: Stefano Guidi)

“We did that by getting the win, but it probably won’t be enough to get us through.”

Qualification always looked unlikely but nobody evidently told the never-say-die de Minaur as he pulled off a marathon victory that Hewitt described as a “great effort”.

Australia’s gutsy number one dug deep over three exhausting hours to prevail 7-5 2-6 7-6 (7-2) against his big-hitting Hungarian counterpart Marton Fucsovics.

His win enabled the experienced John Peers and debutant Alex Bolt to then seal the tie in the decisive doubles, as they proved just a little too strong for the returning Piros and Fabian Marozsan, winning 6-3 6-7 (11-13) 6-3 in just over two hours.

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Millman’s capitulation against long-odds outsider Zsombor Piros 4-6 6-4 6-3 meant Australia’s hopes of a last-eight spot already looked shot when de Minaur took to the court.

But the 22-year-old Sydneysider looked Hewitt-like in his scurrying determination to ensure they didn’t leave Turin empty-handed, fulfilling his promise to “leave everything out there” on the Pala Alpitour court.

“You leave it all out there for your country, no matter what, and at the end of your match, you’ve got to be proud of your effort,” de Minaur said after earning his first win of the week at the third attempt. “It was a brutal battle.”

Earlier, just as Croatia’s world number 276 Borna Gojo had beaten Alexei Popyrin on Thursday, a little-known Hungarian Piros, ranked 282 globally, raised his game in a manner that seemed beyond a flat-looking Millman.

The 32-year-old Queenslander had been drafted in to replace Popyrin but could never find his stride as Piros, 10 years his junior, earned the biggest win of his career to date.

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