Davis Cup: De Minaur keeps Australian hopes alive against Hungary
Alex de Minaur defeats Marton Fucsovics to give Thanasi Kokkinakis the opportunity to complete a Davis Cup victory for Australia in the live fifth match.
Alex de Minaur has kept Australia’s hopes of victory in the Davis Cup qualifier alive with a straight-sets win over Marton Fucsovics.
In yet another inspired performance from the passionate team competitor, De Minaur wore down the resolute Fucsovics to claim a 7-6(4) 6-4 victory in two hours and 11 minutes.
It was a must-win match for the Australian, after Luke Saville and John Peers suffered a surprise straight-sets loss in the doubles.
“We’ve got immense pride, immense passion and one thing you can count on for the Aussie Davis Cup team is we’re never going to give up,” said De Minaur, after exuberant victory celebrations at Ken Rosewall Arena.
In a typically relentless display of retrieving and resilience, De Minaur wore down a tiring Fucsovic, who at world No.35 is ranked just five places below the Australian.
A turning point came as De Minaur saved two break points in the eighth game of an intense first set – one of them with a 41-stroke rally that extended for almost a minute.
They were the only break points of the hard-fought opener and when it extended to a tiebreak, De Minaur’s famous determination once again came into play.
A series of errors saw him trailing 0-3 but by cleverly extending the rallies the Australian earned an advantage. While Fucsovics appeared increasingly diminished, De Minaur seemed energised as he secured the set in 56 minutes.
“Every point counts. I mean, here (at) Davis Cup, every single match you step out on court and every single point counts,” De Minaur commented of the mindset that saw him work his way back in the tense tiebreak.
“It was easy to just drop my head and give a couple of loose points but I managed to hang in there and turn that around and that was a pivotal moment for this match.”
After taking a 3-0 lead in the second set, the Australian faced a challenge when the Hungarian broke back in the fifth game.
But with a total of five break points accumulated, De Minaur was also creating opportunities. As Fusovics served at 4-5 in the second set, the Australian astutely forced errors to earn a trio of match points.
Highlighting the quality of the tennis, Fucsovics saved one match point with a stunning backhand volley winner, another with an ace and the third with an unreturnable first serve.
The fourth time was a charm as De Minaur secured victory when a Fucsovics forehand went wide.
Earlier, Fabian Marozsan and Mate Valkulz had stunned Peers and Saville in the doubles. The Hungarians, who are each ranked outside the top-500 in doubles, claimed a 6-4 6-4 win over the Australians in 68 minutes.
It validated a decision to name Valkulz as a late replacement for Fucsovics in Hungary’s doubles team, with the 23-year-old a picture of composure as they undermined the world No.11 Peers and No.53 Saville.
Thanasi Kokkinakis now takes to the court against No.2 Hungarian Zsombor Piros, as Australia aims to progress to the Davis Cup Finals for a third straight year.
Australia v Hungary, Davis Cup qualifier
RESULTS – Day Two
Fabian Marozsan/Mate Valkulz (HUN) d John Peers/Luke Saville (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-6(4) 6-4
COMING UP – Day Two
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Zsombor Piros (HUN)