Rosol, Kokkinakis to open Czechs-Australia Davis Cup tie
Lukas Rosol and Thanasi Kokkinakis will open the Davis Cup first-round tie between the Czech Republic and Australia in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava on Friday.
Ostrava: Lukas Rosol and Thanasi Kokkinakis will open the Davis Cup first-round tie between the Czech Republic and Australia in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava on Friday.
Australia captain Wally Masur pulled a surprise when he named Kokkinakis, the world number 133, overlooking far more experienced Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth.
The 18-year-old rising star will play his second Davis Cup rubber against 31st-ranked Rosol, who is eleven years older.
Australia`s spearhead Bernard Tomic, the world number 38, was drawn on Thursday to face 45th-ranked Jiri Vesely in the opening day`s second singles rubber.
In Saturday`s doubles, the hosts` Jan Mertl and Adam Pavlasek are due to play against Groth and Hewitt, but the Czech team are almost certain to change.
Both teams are without their top players as Czech number one Tomas Berdych has decided to skip the tie to focus on his singles career while teammate Radek Stepanek and Australia`s Nick Kyrgios are injured.
History favours Australia who have won six out of seven ties against the Czech Republic or its predecessor Czechoslovakia.
In their last tie, Australia trounced the Czechs 5-0 in the 1997 quarter-finals in Adelaide.
Australia have won the Davis Cup 28 times -- second only behind the United States with 32 wins -- but its last title dates back to 2003.
The Czechs lifted the trophy in 2012 and 2013, three decades after the former Czechoslovakia won in 1980 with a team led by then 20-year-old Ivan Lendl.
Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, four years after shedding its totalitarian Communist rule of four decades.
In the 2014 edition, both rivals lost to France -- Australia in the first round and the Czech Republic in the semi-finals.