In a thrilling Davis Cup showdown in Manchester, Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell emerged as the heroes for the Australian team, securing a pivotal win against France. This triumph revitalized Australia's hopes in the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage after a challenging start.
Australia's journey in Group B had been rocky, with a 1-2 loss to Great Britain in their opening match. The pressure mounted when Adrian Mannarino narrowly defeated Max Purcell 7-6(4), 6-4 in the first singles rubber of the tie.
However, Australia's resilience shone through when Alex de Minaur roared back, defeating Ugo Humbert 7-6(2), 6-3 to level the score. With the tie hanging in the balance, it was up to Ebden and Purcell to seize the moment and secure Australia's first victory in the group.
They faced the formidable doubles duo of Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. In a display of unwavering determination, Ebden and Purcell prevailed, winning 7-5, 6-3 and completing an inspiring comeback for their team.
Australia's Inspiring Team Resilience
Matthew Ebden reflected on the team's spirit, stating, "We were just inspired by our team. Yesterday was a tough day. Everyone fought hard. We came up short, but we got a point. Today we were down, up against it, backs against the wall.
We went in the locker room and [Tony Roche] said, ‘That’s where we love to be, that’s where we want to fight from.’ Alex de Minaur came out and did amazing first, and we were just privileged to have the opportunity to come out and fight." Australia's next challenge is Switzerland in their final group match as they aim for their fifth Davis Cup quarter-finals appearance since 2015.
Meanwhile, in Valencia, the Czech Republic continued their dominant run in Group C, notching their sixth consecutive rubber win. Tomas Machac and Jiri Lehecka delivered singles victories against South Korea. Machac displayed his resilience against Seongchan Hong, ultimately triumphing 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-2.
World No. 30 Lehecka showcased his expertise, breezing past two-time ATP Tour titlist Soonwoo Kwon 6-1, 7-5. The Czech team's momentum extended to the doubles rubber, where Jakub Mensik and Adam Pavlasek secured a 3-0 victory by defeating JiSung Nam and MinKyu Song 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
With this impressive performance, the Czech Republic is on the cusp of advancing to the Final 8, building on their earlier upset victory against host nation Spain.