Thanasi Kokkinakis wins singles berth for Aussies against Kazakhs
Teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis has beaten big-serving Sam Groth for Australia`s second singles berth in the Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan starting Friday, a tie overshadowed by off-court controversies in the lead-up.
The rising star will face Kazakhstan`s top player, world No.63 Mikhail Kukushkin, in the opening day singles on Friday with Nick Kyrgios, coming off a heated Wimbledon campaign, then taking on world No.115 Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Kyrgios was heavily criticised by the Australian media amid claims of "tanking" during his fourth-round loss to Frenchman Richard Gasquet at the All England Club, and also for arguing with umpires and sarcasm during his press conferences.
It culminated in a very public spat with swim legend Dawn Fraser, who called his behaviour "absolutely disgusting".
The Australian team, captained by Wally Masur, are without bad-boy Bernard Tomic, who was dumped from the squad by Tennis Australia in response to an extraordinary tirade aimed at the organisation during his Wimbledon campaign.
Tomic was knocked out at the All-England Club by defending champion Novak Djokovic but most of his post-match news conference was consumed by a lengthy rant which accused Tennis Australia of penny-pinching and claimed he had been charged for practising on their courts.
Groth will partner with Davis Cup veteran Lleyton Hewitt in the doubles on Saturday.
Australia are looking to secure a place in their first World Group semi-final since 2006, while Kazakhstan, who defeated last year`s semi-finalists Italy in the first round, are bidding to reach the semi-finals for the first time.
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
Sam Groth/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v Andrey Golubev/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)