Beijing: Former No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt combined with Chris Guccione to win the doubles on Saturday to give Australia a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania match against China.
Hewitt and Guccione defeated the Chinese pair Gong Maoxin and Li Zhe 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, leaving Australia needing to win just one of the reverse singles matches Sunday to secure the win.
Australia captain Patrick Rafter said at a news conference after the match that Hewitt may play in Sunday's game, depending on his physical condition.
Hewitt, the 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion, was left out of the singles to avoid putting strain on a long-standing foot injury, said Rafter.
Hewitt has been the mainstay of Australia's Davis Cup team for more than a decade but a series of injuries and early tournament exits mean he has slipped to 173 in the latest world rankings, below Tomic and Matosevic.
China's Wu Di, who beat Marinko Matosevic on Friday, is set to play Wimbledon quarterfinalist Bernard Tomic on Sunday. Zhang Ze, who was defeated earlier, is set to play Matosevic.
The winner of this match advances to September's World Group playoffs.
First Published: Saturday, July 09, 2011, 19:06