Australia caps off Davis Cup quarters with wins
SYDNEY -- Australia completed a 5-0 whitewash of Belarus in their Davis Cup quarterfinal by winning Sunday's two dead singles matches in straight sets at Kooyong in Melbourne.
Wayne Arthurs defeated Sergui Tarasevitch 7-6 (6), 6-2 and Chris Guccione completed the rout with a crushing 6-1, 6-3 win over Belarussian rookie Alexandr Zotov.
"I'm so proud of these young kids," Australia's non-playing captain John Fitzgerald told a news conference.
"It's a good effort, a very good effort. A lot of people might think in retrospect that we were heavy favorites here, but they were a tough opposition."
Australia had already wrapped up its first ever tie with Belarus and booked its fifth semifinal appearance in eight years by winning Friday's opening singles matches and Saturday's doubles.
Lleyton Hewitt was originally due to play Max Mirnyi in the first reverse singles but both teams agreed to substitute their No. 1 players in the shortened best-of-three sets matches.
Australia will now play Argentina in September's semifinals.
Australia will face the daunting prospect of traveling to South America with Argentina's win.
"I know Lleyton's a pretty wanted man over in Argentina and I think they'll be throwing more than the kitchen sink at him," Arthurs said.
Hewitt, who has been involved in a series of verbal rows with several Argentine players in recent years, said he was unconcerned about Australia's next opponents.
"When it comes to the semifinals, we'll be all ready to go," he said. "We've just got to take care of our own team and get everyone fit and healthy."
Arthurs teamed up with Paul Hanley to win an epic five-set doubles match and held his nerve to win the opening set against Tarasevitch in a tiebreak, then rode his booming serve to race through the second and seal victory in 80 minutes.
Guccione was even more impressive, needing just 45 minutes to continue his meteoric rise in Australian tennis.
He shot to fame by winning the deciding match in Australia's first-round win over Switzerland last month after Hewitt had declared himself unavailable.
The towering left-hander proved he was no one-hit wonder with a stirring five-set victory over the higher-ranked Mirnyi on Friday followed by his crushing win over Zotov.
"I've just got to draw from this and try to play this well when I'm playing tournament after tournament, week after week out on the tour by myself," Guccione said.