Switzerland completes Davis Cup win
Update 2:30 pm. Australia faces another year in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone after Lleyton Hewitt lost his final rubber against Stanislas Wawrinka at Royal Sydney on Monday.
Australia faces another year in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone after Lleyton Hewitt lost his final rubber against Stanislas Wawrinka at Royal Sydney on Monday.
The match, suspended due to fading light on Sunday, didn’t take long to wrap up.
Former world No.1 Hewitt resumed in a precarious at 5-3 down in the fifth set and Wawrinka immediately broke his serve to win 4-6 6-4 6-7(7) 6-4 6-3, giving Switzerland a 3-2 victory in the tie and entry to the elite 16-team World Group in 2012.
Australia will spend a fifth year out of the top competition, forced to fight it out in zonal qualifiers in the Asia/Oceania region for the chance to re-enter the Davis Cup main group in 2013.
Hewitt came to the court on Monday with a heavily strapped right knee and was cheered by spectators who had turned up for the unexpected extra day.
“I was struggling a bit today,” admitted Hewitt, who said strapping to his knee was just a precaution.
“It was always going to make life tough even if I was able to hold serve in that first game and then he was going to serve and I probably wasn’t going to be at my best to be able to return the next game.
“I went out there and gave it what I could but it wasn’t to be.”
Wawrinka also had an injection to play because of a foot problem but was delighted to get his country over the line with most of the attention usually focused on teammate Roger Federer.
“It’s amazing to be in the same team but for sure in Switzerland it is never easy because it doesn’t matter what I am going to do or which ranking I am going to have because it’s never going to be enough for Swiss people because they always look to Roger – but that’s okay,” Wawrinka said.
Hewitt raced to a 30-0 lead but appeared to be struggling on court, two double faults and two unforced errors ultimately costing him the game.
The home side had targeted wins against Wawrinka and chose the grass court surface because it did not suit the world No.19’s game.
It paid off in the first two days as Bernard Tomic won his opening singles match against Wawrinka and also when the Swiss No.2 went down when paired with Roger Federer in Saturday’s doubles to Hewitt and Chris Guccione.
But Wawrinka lifted mightily for the deciding rubber.
Australia will find out who they play in regional qualifying for 2012 at a draw in Bangkok on Wednesday.
Hewitt said he would now focus on getting himself completely fit, with his foot still not 100 per cent and some indication that he may have picked up an adductor injury.
But he remained committed to playing for Australia as long as team captain Pat Rafter and coach Tony Roche wanted him.
“As long as I haven’t retired I’ll still be putting my hand up for Davis Cup,” Hewitt said.
“It comes down to Pat and Rochy and right at the moment obviously myself and Bernie are probably still the main two guys in the team in terms of singles wise.”