Aussies focused for Friday openers
Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic will aim to give the Aussies an early advantage when they take to the indoor clay of Namangan, Uzbekistan today.
Australian Davis Cup singles players Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic will aim to give the visitors an early advantage when they take to the indoor clay of Namangan, Uzbekistan from 4pm AEDT today.
Tomic will open against Uzbek No.2 Farrukh Dustov, before Matosevic follows him onto the court at Sport Complex Pahlavon for his match against top-ranked Uzbek Denis Istomin, the world No.46.
Rubber 1 – Tomic v Dustov
Much has been made of Tomic’s 2-0 head-to-head record over Istomin, yet Australian Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter yesterday told AAP that the team would be wary of Dustov, a little-known quantity ranked No.216.
The 26-year-old Dustov’s main successes have come on the Challenger and Futures circuits – he has collected five Futures titles and two Challenger crowns since turning pro 10 years ago, and peaked at world No.173 back in 2007.
Although Tomic knows little of the man who now resides in Bolzano, Italy, he will be hanging his hat on his exemplary Davis Cup record, which has seen him win eight of 10 rubbers since his team debut in 2010.
In his only tie on clay – in Stuttgart last year against Germany in the World Group Play-offs – Tomic went 1-1, defeating Cedrik Marcel-Stebe but falling to Florian Mayer.
Rubber 2 – Matosevic v Istomin
Looking to improve upon his head-to-head with his opponent is Matosevic, who went down to Istomin in their only meeting in Kuala Lumpur in 2011.
Yet Matosevic is a greatly improved player since that match, a time when he was ranked in the 150s – he has since cracked the world’s top 50, and was voted by his opponents as the ATP’s Most Improved Player for 2012.
Also motivating the Victorian will be the fact he will want to prove himself in a live singles rubber – in three previous singles outings for the green-and-gold, he has gone 2-1, yet those two victories came in dead rubbers. In his only live singles rubber, Matosevic went down in five sets to China’s Wu Di in 2011.
However, Matosevic did win his live doubles rubber with Chris Guccione against Korea in Brisbane in 2012.
Rubber 3 – Hewitt/Ebden v Istomin/Dustov
This Saturday in the tandem rubber, Australia will be represented by the combination of decorated stalwart Lleyton Hewitt and Matt Ebden, who will take on Istomin and Dustov.
Hewitt, the most capped Australian Davis Cup player in history, is primarily known for his singles exploits, but has proved a handy doubles player – he sports a tidy 13-3 win-loss record, including 5-1 on clay, and 3-1 indoors.
Ebden has never before represented Australia in doubles, but encouragingly has never lost when donning the green-and-gold in Davis Cup play, going a sparkling 4-0 since debuting on the team in 2012.
Motivating the fiercely competitive Hewitt will be the fact he has lost his past two singles encounters with Istomin – both came this year, first in Brisbane, and again in Memphis.
On Sunday, the reverse singles rubbers will be staged in Namangan, with Tomic expected to line up against Istomin before Matosevic tackles Dustov.
However, Rafter has the option of substituting in his other charges before play commences on the final day of the tie, depending on form and match-ups.
Follow all the action from the 5–7 April tie on Twitter. @tennisaustralia will keep you up to date with scores, news and photos as the tie unfolds.
|Friday 5 April – 10am (4pm AEDT)|
|R1||Farrukh Dustov (UZB)||v||Bernard Tomic (AUS)|
|R2||Denis Istomin (UZB)||v||Marinko Matosevic (AUS)|
|Saturday 6 April – 12pm (6pm AEDT)|
|R3||Farukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB)||v||Lleyton Hewitt/Matt Ebden (AUS)|
|Sunday 7 April – 10am (3pm AEST)|
|R4*||Denis Istomin (UZB)||v||Bernard Tomic (AUS)|
|R5*||Farrukh Dustov (UZB)||v||Marinko Matosevic (AUS)|
|*The reverse singles line-ups could change prior to the beginning of play.|