Tennis: Australia’s Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt shakes off Germany loss

Australia is through to the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Spain in November despite losing its final group clash to unbeaten Germany in Hamburg.

Lleyton Hewitt’s squad already beat Belgium and France to secure a last-eight berth and subsequently left Alex de Minaur and Jason Kubler out of the Germany tie, on top of Nick Kyrgios not being available.

Max Purcell and Thanasi Kokkinakis shouldered the singles load instead and split their matches to force a deciding doubles rubber, which German pair Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz won 6-4 6-4 over Purcell and Matt Ebden.

Purcell, who made his Davis Cup debut this past week, earlier lost 6-1 7-5 to Jan-Lennard Struff before Kokkinakis hit 12 aces past Oscar Otte in a 7-6(8-6) 6-1 victory that levelled the tie.

It was Kokkinakis’ first action of the event after being laid low by illness.

Australia ultimately finished second to Germany in group C to join Italy and Croatia (group A), Spain and Canada (group B) and Netherlands and United States (group D) in advancing to the knockout stages.

The Aussies will take on Netherlands in Malaga, Spain, on November 23 for the right to make the semi-finals.

“The goal was to qualify here and the boys did extremely well this week,” Hewitt said.

“I’m really proud of all the guys and the whole team. They prepared and did everything they needed to get the result we were after and we’ve given ourselves a chance, which is what we came here to do.

“It’s nice to be through to the quarters.”

Top-50 singles players Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon Griekspoor lead the Dutch team, which includes fourth-ranked doubles specialist Wesley Koolhof.

“Any match is going to be extremely tough, and they obviously came through their group with flying colours,” Hewitt said.

“So we’ll have our work cut out, but we’ll prepare as well as possible. It will be a massive goal for our guys to be playing well come the middle of November.”

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