Ostrava: Czech young guns Jiri Vesely and Adam Pavlasek kept the hosts` Davis Cup hopes alive by beating Australian doubles pair Samuel Groth and Lleyton Hewitt in Saturday`s first-round tie.
In the eastern city of Ostrava, Vesely, 21, and Pavlasek, 20, reduced Australia`s lead to 2-1 after taking the doubles rubber 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in three hours and 14 minutes.
"It`s fantastic what the boys showed against this hard-to-beat pair. We`re back in the game," beamed Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil.
The big-serving Groth and former number one Hewitt swept the hosts in the first set and took a 3-0 lead in the second, but the Czechs managed to fight back for a tie-break win.
Playing his first Davis Cup rubber, Pavlasek, known in his country as the ex-boyfriend of Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, won his first serve only at the end of set two.
But the world number 247 kept improving, forcing the suddenly nervous Australians into errors.
"Adam played excellent tennis from the end of the fourth set and throughout the fifth," said Vesely.
Groth broke his racket in frustration a game from the end as the Czechs dominated the last set.
Australia`s surprise pick Thanasi Kokkinakis, an 18-year-old world number 133, had stunned 31st-ranked Czech number one Lukas Rosol 4-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 in the opening rubber.
Bernard Tomic, ranked 38th, then saw off 45th-ranked Vesely in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
In Sunday`s reverse singles, Rosol is due to take on Tomic and Vesely will face Kokkinakis.
"We have to forget about Friday. We have two more rubbers on Sunday and we have to get ready for them," said Navratil.
Both teams are without their top players as Czech number one Tomas Berdych decided to skip the tie to focus on his singles career while teammate Radek Stepanek and Australia`s Nick Kyrgios are injured.
Led by Berdych and Stepanek, the Czechs won the Davis Cup in 2012 and 2013 in addition to a 1980 win by former Czechoslovakia.
Australia have won the trophy 28 times -- second only behind the United States with 32 wins -- but their last title dates back to 2003.