Davis Cup: Kazakhstan takes 2-0 lead in quarterfinal
DARWIN, Australia (AP) Aleksandr Nedovyesov beat Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Friday to give Kazakhstan a 2-0 lead over Australia in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
On an outdoor grass court - Australia's favored surface - at the Marrara Sports Complex in the tropical Northern Territory capital, the 115th-ranked Nedovyesov won on his first match point when a service return by the 41st-ranked Kyrgios went into the net.
Earlier, Mikhail Kukushkin beat Australia's 19-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 to give the visitors the lead on a controversial opening day for the home country.
The match began hours after news emerged that Bernard Tomic, who was scheduled to play in Darwin before being suspended for his criticism of Tennis Australia and performance director Pat Rafter, was charged in Miami Beach for resisting arrest after noise complaints at his hotel room.
As well, Kyrgios came into his match after being criticized for his on-court demeanor at Wimbledon, where he was find nearly $10,000 for swearing and racket abuse during his matches. He also publicly supported Tomic in his verbal stoush with Tennis Australia.
Kazakhstan is attempting to advance to the semifinals for the first time. The country became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has played as a separate nation in Davis Cup since 1995.
Kokkinakis made a nervous start to his match, needing to save two break points on his first service game. Kukushkin secured a break on Kokkinakis' next service game, and broke again early in the second set.
Kokkinakis launched a brief comeback attempt in the second set before being broken again, and the Australian lost the first 12 points of the third set, all but ensuring a 1-0 Kazakhstan lead.
Kokkinakis said he was well aware of Tomic's arrest before he started his match.
''That's the first thing that came up on my Facebook when I had a scroll. I saw about eight mug shots of him,'' Kokkinakis said. ''We're trying to block it out.''
Australian Sam Groth, who will play doubles with Lleyton Hewitt on Saturday in an attempt to keep the hosts alive for a chance of advancing to the semifinals, said it was a difficult opening assignment for Kokkinakis.
''It was a tough start for the team but Mikhail is their best player,'' Groth said. ''It was always going to be a tough match no matter who played him.''
Groth and Hewitt will play Andrey Golubev and Nedovyesov on Saturday before the reverse singles on Sunday.