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Davis Cup: Australia v Czech Republic preview

Australia reached the Davis Cup final 12 months ago and their bid to repeat that performance continues in the early hours of Thursday morning when they take on Czech Republic in a quarter-final tie.

Wins over France and Switzerland were enough to book a last-eight spot, although the Czechs have to be respected after they won all three of their matches 3-0 in the final qualification stage of the tournament.

Australia - 28 times the winners of the Davis Cup - have selected Alex de Minaur, Matthew Ebden, Max Purcell, Jordan Thompson and Thanasi Kokkinakis as the players to try and take them to the title once again.

The Czechs will be represented by Jiri Lehecka, Tomas Machac, Jakub Mensik and Adam Pavlasek.

WhatDavis Cup Finals
WhereMalaga, Spain.
WhenTuesday 21st - Sunday 26th November, 2023
How to watchNine
OddsSerbia 2.62, Italy 4.50, Australia 6.00, Canada 9.00

De Minaur the rock for 2022 success

In 2022, De Minaur led the way for the Aussies as he won six of the seven singles rubbers he played in the Davis Cup, with his sole loss coming in the 2-0 final defeat at the hands of Canada, as he was beaten in straight sets by Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The 24-year-old comes into the tournament off the back of perhaps a slightly frustrating year, as he was unable to progress past the fourth round of any of the Grand Slam tournaments.

He reached round four at both the Australian and the US Opens, but will have been hoping to have equalled his best-ever Grand Slam showing - having reached the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows in 2020.

However, he did reach his first Masters 1000 final at the Canadian Open and is currently ranked 12 in the world, so there is no doubting his pedigree.

De Minaur will play the second singles rubber unless Australia decide to alter their customary order of play and there is nothing to be learned from the head-to-head record, with the Aussie having never faced either Lehecka or Machac.

Purcell set for central role

Kokkinakis played in two of the three matches in the final qualification round, but it appears that Purcell is the leading contender to play the opening singles rubber against the Czechs.

Captain Lleyton Hewitt may be tempted to hold the 25-year-old back to make sure he is in tip-top condition for the doubles, where Purcell is certain to continue his dynamic partnership with Matthew Ebden.

Purcell and Ebden have won five of the six Davis Cup doubles matches they have played together, including all three at the final round of qualifying in Manchester earlier this year.

Having a rock-solid pairing to send on court for the decisive doubles rubber is a major bonus for Australia’s chances, with Purcell and Ebden having won the Wimbledon men’s doubles title in 2022 and reached the final of the Australian Open in the same year.

Purcell has risen to 45 in the world singles rankings, but lost to Lehecka in the quarter-finals in Winston-Salem earlier this season, while he has never previously faced Machac.

Aussies have history on their side

Australia and the Czechs have faced each other in nine previous Davis Cup ties and the Aussies have won eight of those nine matches, so they certainly have history on their side for the showdown in Malaga.

And they are sure to be highly motivated under the leadership of Davis Cup legend Hewitt, who was playing when Australia last lifted the trophy back in 2003.

Should the Aussies progress to the semi-finals, they will face the winner of the tie between Finland and the holders Canada, so a revenge mission against the Canucks could be on the cards.

First, though, they must take care of business against a Czech team short on superstars but big on heart and determination.

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