Australia takes 2-0 lead in Davis Cup regional playoff
TOWNSVILLE, Australia -- Lleyton Hewitt won in straight sets to give Australia a 2-0 lead over Thailand after Chris Guccione fended off three match points and rallied to win a five-set opening match of the Davis Cup regional playoff on Friday.
Guccione saved three match points in a fourth-set tiebreaker and beat Thailand's Danai Udomchoke 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5 and Hewitt easily beat Kirati Siributwong in the second match 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 on a temporary indoor hardcourt at the Townsville Entertainment Centre.
The wins put Australia in a commanding position in its Asia-Oceania Group 1 second-round playoff that continues with doubles on Saturday and reverse singles on Sunday.
Danai led 5-3 in the second set when Guccione rallied to take the set in a tiebreaker after the Thai player wasted three set points. Udomchoke also led 6-3 in the fourth-set tiebreaker and was set to close out the match before Guccione started his comeback.
It included one match-point save with a desperate forehand crosscourt from well behind the baseline.
"Wow. I was thinking I won already because I saw my approach shot and thought it was a very good shot, very deep, in the corner," Udomchoke said. "Then I saw him reaching and thought there was no way he can hit like that. The game turned because of that point."
"It was a huge point," the Australian said. "He had a relatively easy forehand and I guessed right to jag it crosscourt for a winner. I was feeling great after that ... saving three match points in Davis Cup."
Guccione waited until the 11th game to break Udomchoke's serve in the final set, then held serve to close out the match in 3½ hours.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press