PERTH, Australia (AFP) – Lleyton Hewitt won his 41st singles match and Nick Kyrgios swept through in straight sets as Australia took a commanding 2-0 lead over Uzbekistan in their Davis Cup World Group play-off Friday.
Hewitt, 33, playing in his record 38th Davis Cup tie, outgunned Farrukh Dustov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to capitalise on rising youngster Kyrgios’ opening rubber victory over Denis Istomin.
Kyrgios, 19, who reached this year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals and the third round at the US Open, powered past Istomin 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in a crushing blow for the Uzbeks’ chances of winning the grass-court tie in Perth.
Hewitt, ranked 49 in the world, extended his Davis Cup record to 55 wins, which also comprises 14 wins in the doubles.
Hewitt is expected to join forces with Chris Guccione in Saturday’s doubles to wrap up the tie for Australia over Uzbekistan.
“I actually wasn’t serving great today at all but I slowed down the speed and was still able to dictate play off my first serve, and I thought I returned really well and neutralised his best serves,” 53rd-ranked Kyrgios said.
“Obviously he wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but I’m far from that as well, and I stayed out there, competed and got the job done.”
Istomin, ranked 55, was troubled by a hip complaint and that wasn’t helped with the low-bouncing court leaving him unsure if he can play doubles on Saturday or the reverse singles on Sunday.
“I felt a little bit of tightness before but I wasn’t thinking it was so bad,” Istomin said.
“I started and the ball was bouncing so low, and I had to go down further than normal and game by game it was getting worse and worse.”
Uzbekistan are bidding to reach the World Group for the first time, while 28-time champions Australia are looking to retain their status after a first-round loss to France in February.