Tenacious John Millman has produced a great escape to deliver Australia a two-nil lead over Brazil in their Davis Cup tie.
Millman was staring at defeat when Brazil’s young gun Thiago Seyboth Wild served for a straight-sets victory at Adelaide’s Memorial Drive on Friday.
But the Australian courageously conjured a break, then romped through the tie-break without conceding a point en route to a stirring 4-6 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 triumph.
Millman’s compatriot Jordan Thompson earlier accounted for Thiago Monteiro 6-4 6-4.
Australia now has one proverbial foot in the cup finals in Spain in November ahead of Saturday’s doubles and reverse singles.
Millman summoned his renowned fighting qualities against the powerful Seyboth Wild, a precocious 19-year-old who won his first ATP title at last week’s Chile Open.
“It’s super special, one of my most memorable (wins), no doubt,” Millman said.
Seyboth Wild streeted to a 5-1 lead in the first set with a series of forceful ground strokes.
But, with the score at 5-2, play was halted for about 25 minutes as a spectator was treated for a medical emergency.
After the resumption Millman won consecutive games before the imposing Brazilian, whose world ranking of 113 is destined to rise, served out the set.
In the second stanza, Seyboth Wild broke Millman’s serve in the fifth game and, at 5-4, served for the match.
The Brazilian saved two break points before Millman converted a third to level at 5-5 and turn the tide.
“I was in a bit of trouble, that’s for sure,” Millman said. “I had to dig deep.”
The Australian world No.43 broke Seyboth Wild’s serve in the fifth game, and again two games later, to coolly close out victory.
Earlier, Thompson gave Australia an opening win courtesy of late breaks of Monteiro’s serve in the 10th game of each set.
“Fortunately every time I have played Davis Cup on day one, I have played the first match so I knew what to expect,”he said.
“And I’m really pleased with the result and the performance.”
In other Davis Cup action, host Japan is one loss away from being bounced from the top tier of the Davis Cup after losing both singles matches to Ecuador, while Kazakhstan and the Netherlands are knotted at one match apiece.
Croatia took a 2-0 lead over India, Hungary and Belgium are tied 1-1, Italy is up on South Korea 2-0, Germany and Belarus are knotted at 1-1, the Czech Republic leads Slovakia 2-0, Austria and Uruguay are tied 1-1 and Sweden and Chile are knotted at 1-1.
Colombia leads Argentina 1-0 and the United States and Uzbekistan will begin their match in Hawaii later Friday (Saturday AEDT).
The winners of these 12 ties will qualify for the Davis Cup Finals in late November in Madrid, joining last year’s four semi-finalists (2019 champion Spain, Canada, Russia and Great Britain) and two wildcard teams: France and Serbia.