Hewitt equals Davis Cup record
Originally published on: 17/09/10 17:55
Lleyton Hewitt joined Adrian Quist for the record of most Davis Cup wins for Australia on Friday when he got the host nation off to a perfect start in its Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off against Belgium in Cairns.
Hewitt recorded his 43rd Davis Cup match win with a 7-6(4), 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win over World No. 191 Ruben Bemelmans – a last minute replacement for Steve Darcis who pulled out with a torn rotator cuff just one hour before the start of the singles rubber.
Left-hander, Bemelmans, whose only previous experience of the Davis Cup was a dead fifth rubber in 2008, was unrelenting against Hewitt, who had to rely heavily on his serve to gain victory in the blistering heat.
Hewitt’s patriotism burst through in a characteristic fist pump at securing the tie-break at the end of the first set and collapsed on court in relief after closing out the match in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Hewitt said: “Obviously I had focused on playing Darcis for the past 24 hours so it was a tough match.”
World No. 79 Olivier Rochus got Belgium back to 1-1 with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(5) win over 23-year-old Australian Carsten Ball in almost two and a half hours. It was Ball’s first defeat in seven rubbers.
Aussie captain, John Fitzgerald is likely to stick with golden boy, Hewitt and US Open doubles quarterfinalist, Paul Hanley for the pivotal doubles rubber scheduled for Saturday.
Belgium captain, Reginald Willems has hinted he will pull in Darcis provided he can recover from his shoulder injury in time.
Pat Rafter to be new Aussie Davis Cup captain?
According Australian press today, Pat Rafter was seen mingling with the Australian team and is very likely to take over as Davis Cup Captain. Watch this space!