Millman the hero as Australia fight off Brazil
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Adelaide (Australia) (AFP)
John Millman lifted Australia to a gritty 3-1 victory over Brazil with a tenacious win over Thiago Monteiro Saturday to qualify his country for the Davis Cup finals later this year.
Millman proved to be his team's hero with a second fighting win in the singles wearing down Monteiro 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7-3) in three hours five minutes at Adelaide's Memorial Drive.
The victory followed up his other come-from-behind win over Thiago Seyboth Wild in three sets in Friday's singles.
Lleyton Hewitt's Australians will now join 11 other qualifiers and the 2019 semi-finalists -- Canada, Britain, Russia and Spain -- along with wildcards France and Serbia for the Davis Cup finals in Spain in November.
"Thiago was serving amazing, he wasn't giving me many looks, but you are playing for the Green and Gold and you can't die wondering," Millman said.
"I always believed in myself during the match, the body was a little sore and the emotion levels were perhaps down a little at times, but my bench dragged me up when I was really down."
Team skipper Hewitt said it would be a weekend for Millman to remember.
"What a performance. That's what Davis Cup tennis is all about, the boys left it all out there in the doubles, came up a little short and Johnny had to come out and back up what he did on Friday," Hewitt said.
"That's going to go down as one of the great weekends in his career."
Monteiro proved a tough obstacle with his big serves and powerful groundstrokes, taking the opening set in a tiebreaker but edged out in two more tiebreaks by Millman in a gruelling encounter.
Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligeni Alves earlier kept Brazil alive in the tie with a gripping three-set win in the doubles.
Demoliner and Alves fought back to beat John Peers and James Duckworth 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6) in almost three hours to pull Brazil back to trail 2-1.
The jubilant pair finally got Brazil home on their fifth match point after Australia saved four match points in a fluctuating final set tiebreaker.
Demoliner and Alves had to win the doubles after Jordan Thompson and Millman won Friday's opening singles to give Australia a commanding 2-0 lead.
Australia went into the home tie without Nick Kyrgios, sidelined with a wrist injury, while Alex De Minaur was a late withdrawal as he struggles to overcome an abdominal tear.
© 2020 AFP